Contracting out of services in the post-secondary sector in Canada is hurting disadvantaged workers with poverty-level wages and low benefits, a new report from the Canadian Union of Public Employees revealed today.

Who pays? The cost of contracting out at Canadian post-secondary institutions looks at the data on wages and benefits for food and custodial service workers in the post-secondary sector and finds that contracting out takes more than $1,000 a month out of workers’ pockets, in addition to costing them pensions, sick days, and other benefits.

“A majority of these workers are women, Black or racialized, or immigrants – workers who already face a wage gap and other employment disadvantages,” noted CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “Why are post-secondary institutions, who are supposed to be committed to diversity and equity, okay with imposing this massive cost on equity-seeking workers?”

The report also considers data on unionization which shows that contracting out is frequently used to undermine workers’ rights to representation through a union and take away wages and benefits that they have earned over time.

“It’s essential that we ask ourselves what responsibilities post-secondary institutions have to our communities as recipients of public funding,” observed Candace Rennick CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer. “The only winners here are the multi-national corporations. Workers and our communities end up paying the price.”