Canadian Manufacturing

Toronto Pearson champions project to combat underemployment

A whitepaper drills down into the root causes and impacts of underemployment in the area surrounding Toronto Pearson

November 20, 2019  by CMStaff

Toronto – Toronto Pearson, in collaboration with Deloitte, released a whitepaper on the issue of underemployment.

Titled “Uncovering Underemployment: Tapping into the potential of our workforce,” the whitepaper unpacks the complex issue of underemployment, a situation wherein skilled people do not occupy jobs that call on them to use the full breadth of their skills and education. The whitepaper also explores the causes of underemployment and makes recommendations on ways to address it.

“The area surrounding Pearson is the second-largest economic zone in the entire country,” says Hillary Marshall, vice president of Stakeholder Relations at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA). “Opportunities abound right here in our backyard, but we need to take steps to ensure that residents are working in jobs that suit their experience and level of education.”

The goal of the whitepaper is to drill down into the root causes and impacts of underemployment, as well as to identify potential tools that to support all at risk populations and help them reach their full potential, says Gianni Ciufo, Partner, Civil Government & National Social Finance Leader, Deloitte Canada.


A number of factors can contribute to underemployment, including the unemployment rate, how many individuals in a given community have post-secondary education and the evolution of the economy as machines take over more and more jobs that have repetitive tasks as a main feature.

Moreover, individuals and communities from certain demographic and socio-economic groups are disproportionally likely to find themselves in a state of underemployment, notes the whitepaper. Women, youth, new Canadians, low income earners, persons living with disabilities, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ+ community are among those who may be at risk to be underemployed.

Just as underemployment is a complex topic, opportunities to address the issue will require the coordination of numerous entities. The whitepaper discusses a variety of actions to tackle the problem, including:

  • facilitating more engagement with employers in the design and development of programs that better maximize the use of workers skills;
  • enhancing wraparound support services in employment programs to ensure that people successfully integrate into the labour market;
  • alternative, longer-term, more flexible funding models for programs relating to underemployment; and
  • new research and metrics to both better understand the scope and scale of the problem, and also measure the effectiveness of new programs and interventions.

Pearson will also commit the Propeller Project’s 2019 funding, totalling $1 million. A call for submissions is currently open.

Read the full whitepaper and learn more about the Propeller Project’s call for funding submissions.