Report: As on-demand economy expands, almost half of Canada’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020

A recent study by Intuit Canada and consultancy firm Emergent Research revealed that 45 percent of Canada’s workforce will consist of freelancers, independent contractors, and on-demand workers by 2020, suggesting a shift in the Canadian economy.

The study, whose findings are summarized in a report titled The Rise of the Self-Employed Economy in Canada involved interviewing 499 self-employed Canadians, full-time and part-time temporary workers, workers on fixed-term contracts of less than one year, and on-call workers.

The report attributed the growth in part by an increase in the on-demand economy, like ride-sharing, peer-to-peer rental, project-based job platforms, and online retail platforms.

The biggest challenge for 59 percent of those surveyed is not having enough predictable income.

“As the on-demand economy continues to expand, there will be unprecedented income opportunities for freelancers. But this work comes with a host of new challenges: co-mingled and confusing business expenses, quarterly and year-end tax headaches, and a general lack of visibility into their ‘real income’,” said Jeff Cates, president of Intuit Canada.

The report revealed that 47 percent of self-employed Canadians pursue self-employed work because of their desire for greater work-life flexibility, and 41 percent do so to supplement their incomes. In addition, one in five self-employed Canadians are self-employed because they still need or want to work while retired.

With more Canadians becoming self-employed, Intuit Canada looked at what self-employed workers struggle with the most. The study revealed that the biggest challenge for 59 percent of those surveyed is not having enough predictable income.

Additionally, self-employed Canadians said they want to be able to better understand and track their finances. Twenty-nine percent of self-employed Canadians manually keep track of their finance and two in three on-demand workers said a better understanding of their financial fundamentals would be helpful. The study also found that 62 percent of self-employed Canadians “are compelled” to have another job to supplement their earnings.

According to the study, another challenge for self-employed Canadians was transportation and the expenses that come with it. Sixty-two percent of self-employed Canadians drive a car as part of their work, and those who drive spend on average five more hours working each day than those who don’t; 28 percent of self-employed Canadians said that mileage is the most difficult expense to keep track of.

Read the full report here.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.