Andrew Cash came to SCI with an open mind and a lot of ideas. He asked the case study audience to consider where the Urban Worker Project could fit in the broader social change landscape.
Now you are probably asking, ‘what is an urban worker?’ According to Cash: “The majority of all new Canadian jobs are part-time, temporary, on contract, freelance or self-employed positions. There’s no sign of this trend slowing down. In the arts and culture, tech, knowledge, not-for-profit and service sectors this is the new normal. Many of us love the work we do, but there is no reason for our jobs to be precarious. Most of these jobs come without things like parental leave, health benefits, or workplace protections; not to mention access to income security measures so you don’t go broke between jobs.”
Cash says he went into the case study with “an open plate, he went as someone trying to be a change agent in a format that’s totally new (for him)”. A juno award winning singer/songwriter and former NDP Member of Parliament Cash is passionate and thoughtful about this new endeavour. His National Urban Worker Strategy Bill was ground breaking legislation in Canada’s Parliament.
Of his experience during the Case Study he says “not a week goes by that I don’t reflect on what I heard there” and that the experience definitely shaped the direction of the project moving forward. What has been particularly profound about the experience for him has been the growth from the seeds that were planted at SCI. Cash says “we are starting to see how these seeds are growing.”
One of the biggest insights Cash says he gained from SCI was that “I felt more confident that I was on the right track…and I really started to comprehend more innovative funding approaches.”
Since attending SCI Andrew, his co-founder Stephanie, and a team of skilled volunteers have continued to move the project forward. They’ve got “some really cool things happening”; they’ve developed service tools, created workshops, and started hosting live events to connect and support contract workers from across sectors, including the social media campaign #MakeWorkBetter.
This year they are launching a series of workshops, meet-ups and community building events for urban workers to skill up and share resources and ideas. With these live events they’ll be releasing online tools for freelance budgeting, taxes and contract templates so even if you can’t attend you can still access these resources.