Unemployed/ Precariously Employed Definitions

You are considered UNEMPLOYED if you are:

  • Not working; or,
  • Working an average of fewer than twenty (20) hours per week AND actively seeking full-time employment; or,
  • In receipt of a Notice of Imminent Layoff (normally within 6 weeks); or,
  • Must leave your current occupation due to a medical reason (must have confirmation from doctor); or,
  • A person with a disability who is working 20 hours or more per week and seeking more hours of work to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency; or,
  • A person who is at significant risk of losing his or her employment because of his or her disability; or,
  • A student with a disability in your last year of high school or post-secondary and in need of assistance to transition to employment.

Please Note: Full-time students are not considered unemployed. 


You are considered PRECARIOUSLY EMPLOYED if you are:

1. Working but : a. Are working in unstable or unsustainable employment (including self-employment) as evidenced by:

  1. irregular hours of work (such as casual labour or on-call work) and/or
  2. unreliable remuneration (such as piece-work or commission);
  3. earnings that cannot support an individual or their family;

b. Are working, but whose total employment (including self-employment) income is below the market basket measures;

2. And/or an individual who: Is working in an industry or occupation that is likely to be replaced by technology or automation in the near future;

OR Is working in an occupation or profession that is clearly lower than their skills or qualifications and that provides no imminent prospect of advancement;

OR Could have just cause for leaving their current employment.