A new study says that only about 60 per cent of adult workers in the Toronto and Hamilton areas have permanent jobs.

But the other 40 per cent work in what the study's authors call "precarious employment" — jobs that are temporary, part-time or contract.  Jobs, the authors say, that don't provide stable paycheques.

The study, carried out by McMaster University and United Way Toronto surveyed 4,000 working adults.

It concludes that the combined lack of job security, extended health benefits and pension plans are reshaping home life.

"It raises questions about our ability to sustain households, to have families," said Wayne Lewchuk, a professor of labour studies at McMaster. 

"I mean we certainly saw people consciously delaying having families, consciously delaying forming households because of the uncertainty of their economic futures. I think this goes well beyond the workplace and starts having an effect on the society we live in,"

The study also says insecure work has increased by 50 per cent over the past 20 years.

The report says governments can take steps to help ease the situation of those affected.  It suggests raising the minimum wage, enforcing workers' rights and making child care and housing more affordable.

The findings will be discussed at a symposium in Toronto on Monday.