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Project Co-Leads: 


  • Ghanwa Afach, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • Mohammad Araf, Social Planning Toronto
  • Hannah Atom, Region of Peel
  • Betina Borova, Ryerson University
  • Mike Burke, Ryerson University
  • Jessica Cheng, Ryerson University
  • Janice Chu, United Way of Toronto & York Region
  • Ann De Shalit, Ryerson University
  • Cutty Duncan, Action for Neighbourhood Change – Weston- Mt. Dennis
  • Louay Eskandar, Region of Peel
  • Jasmine Eskandor, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • Doreen Fumia, Ryerson University
  • Nasim Haque, Wellesley Institute
  • Andrew Ingraldi, Ryerson University
  • Don Jaffray, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • Shannon Keats, Region of Peel
  • Ghazala Knight, Ryerson University
  • Ed Kothiringer, COSTI
  • Olha Lahotska, McMaster University
  • Nimira Lalani, Independent researcher
  • Supriya Latchman, Ryerson University
  • Kevin Mahadeo, Region of Peel
  • Gail Matthews, Action for Neighbourhood Change – Weston- Mt. Dennis
  • Geoff McIlroy, Region of Peel
  • Alan Meisner, Quantacan
  • Violetta Nikolskaya, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • Adaoma Patterson, Region of Peel
  • Deirdre Pike, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • Ali Rashidi, Ryerson University
  • Anita Stellinga, United Way of Peel Region
  • Xinya Yan, Region of Peel
  • Samiera Zafar, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto  



The objectives of this study were to gain an understanding of how precarious employment is changing the nature of the urban social and economic terrain in select Southern Ontario communities and how precarity in employment is impacting particular identifiable populations and their livelihoods. We explored the connection between the experience of precarity and the capacity of neighborhoods to respond to it, and the relationship between changing patterns of employment, people and the social and economic activities of neighbourhoods. We sought to explore the relationship between changing patterns of employment and the social and economic activities of neighbourhoods. We wanted to understand how these changes impact populations known to be historically vulnerable to changes in the economy. Finally, we wanted to explore the connection between the experiences of precarity and the capacity of neighbourhoods to respond to it, and whether these capacities varied by neighbourhood type.

The project focused on detailed studies of five clusters of low and middle income neighbourhoods in Southern Ontario – two each in the City of Toronto and Peel Region and one in Hamilton. Data was collected for this study using Photo-voice and subsequently through semi-structured interviews with community members, service providers and business people.

Qualitative data for Phase I was collected using the photo-voice methodology. We recruited fifty-one research participants, aged 24 – 64 years old who lived in the selected study areas for a minimum of one year and had been precariously employed in the past year.  Participants were asked to respond to the following three key research questions to document their experience and concerns related to precarious employment:

  1. How does precarious employment affect (good or bad) your livelihood and your neighbourhood?
  2. What changes have you noticed in your neighborhood as a result of precarious employment in the neighbourhoods?
  3. What resources are available in your neighbourhood for people experiencing precarious conditions (i.e. food banks, employment counseling, community services and clinics)?

Each participant was asked to select three images per question and prepare a caption explaining the image and the selection. Participants were provided with training and support in writing comments to capture the meaning of the photographs. The images and captions were collected and analyzed by the research team.

Phase II involved semi-structured interviews with key informants, including community members experiencing precarious employment, service providers and small to medium size business owners and employers. Building on the data collected through photo-voice, the objective was to better understand the impact on precarious employment on livelihoods, the resources available to mitigate its impacts, and the impact on the local business landscape through in depth interviewing of key participants in the precarious employment process.  We completed 118 interviews from community members (38), service providers (55) and small business people (25).

The project published a report that summarized findings from Hamilton, Peel and Toronto and had three public photo exhibitions to display photos and stories from community participants. The research confirmed that precarious employment is impacting people’s well-being and is associated with other challenges such as unaffordable and inadequate housing, income and food insecurity, and family strain. The quality of life of those in precarious employment is being impacted by their employment. Policy change is needed to address this.


Fumia, D., Galabuzi, G-E., Sidhu, N. (2014). City of Toronto Report: Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) Case Study #5: Impact of High Levels of Precarity on Urban Neighbourhood Economies and Particular Populations. Unpublished manuscript. [Read]

Galabuzi, G-E., Sidhu, N., & Fumia, D. (2015). Stable Jobs = Stable Communities. Unpublished manuscript. [Read]





September 15, 2013 | Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archive
Wanted: A Full Time Job with Benefits: Stable Jobs = Stable Communities (Photo-Voice Exhibition)