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Opinion | Digital ‘gig work’ companies are getting a free ride on the backs of taxpayers

Ontario’s Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee is about to release its recommendations on leading the future of work in Ontario. But will they address the problem of how we taxpayers keep subsidizing gig courier and ride-hail companies like Uber and SkipTheDishes?

The problem with gig (or digital platform) companies is that their success seems to be not so much due to the technology — algorithms aren’t new — but that the workers must be considered as self-employed. While many see these companies as providing entrepreneurial and innovative forms of work, I’d like to raise two objections. First, digital platform work isn’t all that flexible or rewarding; second, we taxpayers are picking up the bill for these operations.

If you don’t work in certain busy parts of town and at certain peak hours, you can’t earn decent money. My research team and others have found that ride-hail and food delivery drivers often end up earning less than minimum wage once they factor in costs…

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