Countries stymied in search for response to gig economy, Hajdu says

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says updates to the social safety net and protections for workers have yet to keep pace with tectonic shifts in the labour market that challenge world leaders.

Federal officials have for years been studying how to respond to a rise of cross-border telework, more workers making money through platforms like Airbnb and Uber and increasing automation of jobs and tasks.

G7 leaders will also have a chance to debate the issue starting Friday as the Liberals have made it a priority for the seven countries to help workers adapt to the changing world of work.

There were multiple calls for countries to boost social protections for workers and provide citizens with guaranteed basic incomes during an international meeting of policy-makers and labour groups that Hajdu is attending in Switzerland.

She says the gathering of the International Labour Organization, the UN agency that sets international labour standards and promotes decent work, was unable to reach a consensus about how governments should respond to the rise of the gig economy.

In a conference call from Geneva, Hajdu says she is not sure a basic income alone will effectively deal with a global labour market.