Presenting policy makers with their own evidence is an effective way to highlight an issue. Dr. Parvinder Hira-Friesen, assistant professor of Sociology at Trent University Durham GTA is analysing government data to demonstrate the community impact of precarious labour. Making connections to crime, the robust analysis may lead to greater support in the lives and work of immigrants to Canada.
“This fragmentation of the labour market has gone on for a very long time,” states Professor Hira-Friesen whose areas of specialization include immigration, labour and advanced quantitative methods. “These are folks who would rather work full-time and end up working part-time.”
Her project will explore the consequences when individuals are pushed into marginalized work. Often unrecognized for their professional credentials, immigrants can face precarious employment and social disparity.
Building on her previous work, A Canadian Study Examining the Role of Precarious Labour in the Intersection of Immigration and Crime will delve into vast amounts of Statistics Canada data pulled from the Labour Force Survey and the General Social Survey.
Examining areas such as labour force outcomes, gender, crime and victimization, the statistical modelling will enable Prof. Hira-Friesen to conduct a macro-level, regional analysis across Canada.
Ranging from petty theft to major offences, the connection between crime and precarious labour may come down to lack of resources.
Drawing a link to COVID she said, “The front-line workers who make less than $14 an hour, are in the ICUs right now. You need to pay your bills, so you go to work sick.”
Expand and explain
“As a researcher, part of my duty is to expand employment precarity and crime literature, and to ensure that I interject quantitative studies into that arena,” explains Prof. Hira-Friesen who hopes that provincial and federal policy makers will pay attention to the data. “None of this is speculation.”
In addition to impacting future immigration policy, she hopes her work will provide information for community social services and create awareness.
Hands-on experience and broad scope
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Explore Grant will help the experienced researcher broaden the reach of her work through publications and international conferences.
The grant will also bring graduate students on board to work as research assistants, write syntax and operate data analysis systems.
“In terms of data analysis and job openings, this will be very beneficial to move ahead.”
“I constantly refer to marginalized populations because it’s Sociology,” affirms Prof. Hira-Friesen whose courses appeal to students from other disciplines at Trent Durham including Social Work. “You can’t get away from it.”
The professor uses real-life data at every opportunity in her classes including Data Analysis. The actual data enables students to conduct literature reviews and potentially publish their work.
In broader terms, her project aligns with Trent’s commitment to community-based knowledge, social justice and connection on a local or international scale.
“Using government data to show how Canada’s immigration model is working, is a good way to shed some light.”
Learn more about Trent Durham’s Sociology program.