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2 jobs, 2 side hustles, but this gig economy worker can’t get ahead

Mika Purni’s memory is a logbook of income streams and expenses. The St. John’s resident, one of about a million Canadians juggling more than one job, remembers precisely how much she’s spent on everything around her — and every cent that goes out must come back in.

The 24-year-old handles money all week long as a banking intern. When she’s done that job, she heads to her retail gig at a mall. When most people are getting into bed, Purni logs onto DoorDash or Facebook Marketplace, either delivering food until the early morning or reselling thrift store items online. “All I do is think about money,” she told CBC News.

Purni spends her days trying to get ahead: to pay off her vet bills, save for new eyeglasses, and maybe one day have enough startup cash to buy a swath of makeup supplies and launch her own business. But she’s trying to do that in an economy more reliant than ever on gig work, and in an era in which Canadians’ purchasing power has fallen dramatically, especially compared to its trading partners.

A report by C.D. Howe, released last month, notes that capital per worker has fallen dramatically over the last decade, contributing to stagnating productivity and living standards. “In 2023, Canadian workers will likely receive only 65 cents of new capital for every dollar received by their counterparts in the OECD as a whole, and 58 cents for every dollar received by their counterparts in the United States,” the report’s authors wrote.

Purni used to have hobbies. She paints and does makeup. But she can’t immediately monetize either of those things, which leads to crushing guilt whenever she spends her free time on leisure. So instead of enjoying life, she’ll get in her car and start taking orders.

Brice Sopher, head of Gig Workers United, said he’s seen a spike in people using gig-economy apps like Uber or Skip the Dishes to combat inflation. “A lot of people that I speak to, myself included … started this type of work because life as we know it has become increasingly unaffordable,” Sopher said. “It’s very difficult now for someone to sustain themselves, I think in most parts of Canada, with just one source of income.”

The apps promise workers the ability to log on whenever they want — on their lunch hours, weekends or after the kids fall asleep. But Sopher said it doesn’t quite play out the way they expect, leading to long, gruelling hours on the road.

“You can log on and you can work whatever time you want to work, but that doesn’t guarantee that there will be orders for you to pick up. That also doesn’t guarantee that these apps will offer you a rate of pay that allows you to earn a living wage,” he said. “Instead of the idea of flexibility, where the job … works around you, what tends to happen is your life tends to be worked around the job.”

Read the full story here.

Eye of the Tiger

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods keeps his eye on the ball, if not the prize, during the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on Saturday in Nassau, Bahamas. Woods was playing for the first time since surgery to fuse his right ankle a few weeks after the Masters in April. Woods finished 72 holes for only the third time in the last two years and finished 18th. Read the results of the tournament, won by World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, here.

In brief

A new 15-minute video produced by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is the latest salvo in the political fight over housing policy, which has dominated the second half of this year in politics. Housing costs have been on the rise for years in Canada, with the national average home price sitting at roughly $650,000 in October 2023. Canadians are also facing increased pressure from rental costs, as well as mortgage costs, as interest rates climb. The government, for its part, agrees that the situation is dire. “We are in a housing crisis and we need to build homes and we need to build them by the millions,” Housing Minister Sean Fraser said recently. Eddie Sheppard, a vice-president at Abacus Data, says a recent poll conducted by his firm suggests housing is now the second-ranked priority for Canadians, behind the economy and the cost of living but just ahead of health care. And Conservatives hold an advantage on the issue, Sheppard said. “Right now about one-third of Canadians think [the Conservatives] would be best able to handle the housing crisis, followed by the NDP and then the Liberal party,” he said. “We’re really seeing the Conservatives take the lead here in the minds of Canadians…” Read more about how the parties are approaching the housing crisis here.

WATCH | Poilievre video blaming Trudeau for Canada’s housing crisis takes off online:

Poilievre video blaming Trudeau for Canada’s housing crisis takes off online

18 hours ago

Featured VideoConservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has released a 15-minute video blaming the prime minister and his policies for Canada’s housing crisis. The video has garnered more than a million views since its weekend release, as a new poll suggests the Conservatives are now leading the Liberals by almost 20 points.A business and marketing expert says Amazon has “built-in obstacles” to make obtaining high-ticket refunds difficult. “The company only has to pay those most-persistent consumers,” said Eddie Ning, an assistant professor of marketing and behavioural science at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. One of those customers is Leo Chteinberg of Tahsis, B.C., who ordered a $2,100 watch from Amazon. When the package arrived it appeared to be tampered with and the watch box inside was empty. He says what’s followed has been “a nightmare” — many frustrating phone calls and emails with Amazon, with no resolution. Social media platforms such as Reddit are full of stories from Amazon customers battling over packages that weren’t delivered, contained the wrong item, no item or the contents of which appeared to be stolen. Most people with smaller orders say they’ve had little trouble getting their money back. But it’s a different story for customers with pricier disputes like Chteinberg, who say they have to leap through hoops to get a replacement or refund. Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait declined an interview request from CBC’s Go Public. Read more about Chteinberg’s frustration with Amazon, and Ning’s advice, here.

WATCH | Amazon customer shares refund battle over watch that never arrived:

Amazon customer shares refund battle over pricey watch that never arrived

17 hours ago

Featured VideoBritish Columbia man Leo Chteinberg told CBC’s Go Public about his battle with Amazon over a pricey watch he never received. He’s now out more than $2,000 but Amazon won’t reimburse him.

They were assigned a family doctor, but say nobody told them. Nearly a dozen people told CBC News Ottawa they were surprised to find out they were rostered with the Appletree chain of clinics after attending walk-in clinics. CBC News recently published a story about a woman who said she was kicked off Health Care Connect — Ontario’s family doctor wait-list — after visiting an Appletree clinic, prompting others with similar experiences to reach out. Seven of those individuals agreed to speak on the record. “It’s kind of frustrating that we’re in the middle of a health-care crisis and they’re, in my opinion, trying to take advantage of people,” said Emmanuel Yoko, a student at the University of Ottawa. In a written statement, Mahila Kanesananthakuru, vice-president with Appletree Medical Group, said it “has played a crucial role in supporting medical care in Ottawa,” and its terms are all explained on the company website. She said registering with the Appletree family practice group “will result in their removal” from Health Care Connect. Kanesananthakuru did not answer CBC’s question about why patients might be confused. Read more about patients’ frustration with Appletree here.

Myles Goodwyn, longtime singer and songwriter with Canadian rock group April Wine, has died at 75. No cause of death was given. Goodwyn, who lived in the Halifax area, achieved many feats with April Wine, including selling more than 10 million albums worldwide and receiving 11 Juno nominations. April Wine was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, and Goodwyn was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He told CBC News earlier this year that the latter induction was his proudest achievement. “I think, probably, I stayed in the business because of songwriting,” he said. “I’m not the greatest singer, the greatest guitar player. I’m not the greatest songwriter either, but I took great pride in being able to write songs that were popular.” April Wine were known for such hits as Tonite Is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love and Just Between You and MeRead more about Goodwyn, who played his last show with the band March 2, here.

The Grace Hospital nurses residence is a notorious St. John’s eyesore, an abandoned wreck filled with asbestos. But before it can be demolished, the city’s dirtiest building needs a deep cleaning. Watch an exclusive video tour inside with the CBC’s Zach Goudie here.

Now for some Amazing news to start your Monday: Is it valuable? Listen, bud. A New Brunswick comic book shop is selling one of the most sought-after comic books in existence. The Comic Hunter in Moncton is looking for nearly $60,000 for a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. “It’s up there with the first Superman, the first Batman of the most valuable comics that exist,” said Rémi Vienneau LeClair, manager of the store in Moncton. The Marvel comic book was written in 1962 by Stan Lee and has sold for as much as $3.6 million US. The version in Moncton isn’t in nearly as good a condition as that one, but it still fetches a pretty penny. Vienneau LeClair says when the store bought the book it was already graded, so he knew it was legitimate. But with great value comes great responsibility: now it’s kept under lock and key, and he only shows it to people who are serious about purchasing it. Read more about Amazing Fantasy No. 15 here.

First Person: Being forced to leave my home in Africville was hard. But 60 years later, I feel a different loss

Paula Grant-Smith was forced to leave her childhood home in Africville when she was only 15. She shares what she grieved then — and how that loss has changed in the decades since. Read the first-person piece here.

The World This Weekend: Catch up on what you missed this weekend

The World this Weekend23:18A former interpreter for the Canadian Armed forces has been arrested – and his family is in hiding | Capsule Edition

Featured VideoOn this episode, a former Canadian Armed Forces interpreter from Afghanistan has been arrested. Now his family is in hiding – anxiously awaiting word about immigrating to Canada. Also, we’ll tell you about Canada’s long road to improving accessibility for people with disabilities. Plus, The Hollywood sign turns 100 – we take you to Los Angeles to see how people are marking the occasion.

Today in history: Dec. 4

1909: The first Grey Cup game is held at Rosedale Field in Toronto. The University of Toronto defeats Parkdale Canoe Club 26-6 in front of 3,800 fans.

1968: New Brunswick Premier Louis Robichaud tables a white paper outlining government policy on bilingualism. Robichaud, the first Acadian elected leader of the province, was a supporter of bilingualism. A bill giving anglophones and francophones equal status, rights and privileges was passed in April 1969.

1985: Madame Justice Beverley McLachlin is appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal, the first woman to sit on the province’s highest court. Fifteen years later, she would be the first woman appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. 

1999: The board of directors of Canadian Airlines recommends shareholders accept Air Canada’s $92-million merger offer, on the table since Oct. 19, ending one of the most heated corporate takeovers in Canada.

 In today’s Morning Brief, a St. John’s woman talks about her struggles to keep her head above water despite two jobs and two side gigs. Also, stories on the housing crisis and the health-care crisis.  Read More