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There are approximately one million jobs in Canada available to workers.

Canadian Job Vacancies Soar Above One Million

In Canada, unfilled jobs have reached a record high of more than one million. This is an obvious sign that employers now have a difficult time finding workers as they increase their hiring.

Canada’s Tight Market

To this day, Canada still continues to fall behind the US, which has 1.4 job vacancies for every job searcher. According to Mikal Skuterud, a University of Waterloo professor, although there will be an increase in Canada’s market tightness in 2021, the figures are still very modest when compared to the US. This phenomenon will also help explain why the US has bigger wage gains compared to Canada.

Industries in Canada Facing Labor Shortages

In September 2021, there were over 1,014,600 Canadian job vacancies. This statistic is a significant rise compared to the figures from December 2020. These are the following industries in Canada that are experiencing labor shortages:

Hospitality and Food Service

Employees in high-contact industries, such as hotels and food-related services, have the highest numbers of unfilled jobs in Canada, which is 14.4%. Given that this industry is among the most affected by COVID-19, their labor shortage problems will not be over any time soon.


Another industry that was significantly affected by COVID-19 is healthcare. Many nurses have reportedly left the profession either due to the stress caused by COVID-19 or because of the fear for their safety from the pathogen.

The Canadian job vacancies in the healthcare industry increased by 40,800 in the second quarter of 2021. Most of these job vacancies are for registered psychiatric nurses and registered nurses. Plus, almost half of these vacancies are open for more than 90 days, which means that hospitals are more likely to function understaffed before the position is filled.

Retail Trade

The job vacancies in the retail trade industry in Canada increased by 884,300 in the second quarter of 2021. The most numerous Canadian job vacancies for this industry were for the positions of retail salesperson, clerk, store shelf-stocker, and order-filler.

Manufacturing and Construction

Canada has also seen a record-high number of vacancies for the manufacturing and construction sector. The number of vacancies increased by over 65,900 in the second quarter of 2021, which is the highest figure since 2015. The increase for this industry is spread out between several sub-sectors, including food manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, and meatpacking.

The increase in meat packer job vacancies is partly because of the rules of how many temporary foreign workers can be employed at a time. Meanwhile, for the construction industry, the positions with increasing vacancies are mostly for electrical work, painting, and masonry.

Final Words

Before the pandemic, it was no secret that Canada was already experiencing labor shortage problems. This is mostly why they have been increasing Canadian immigration efforts in hopes that skilled foreign workers will choose to move to Canada for better opportunities. In recent years, approximately 300,000 people were approved for Canadian immigration each year, but that jumped to 405,000 in 2021 and the goal is 431,600 new permanent residents during 2022. Skilled foreign workers and their families accounted for the majority of new permanent residents with many of them immigrating to Canada through the Express Entry system. These are historic numbers for immigration to Canada and a major indicator of how much foreign workers are needed to fill Canadian job vacancies.

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