Canada is facing historic labour shortages across a number of sectors. There are nearly one million job vacancies in Canada across all sectors, an all-time high.
According to Statistics Canada, there are on average 44 newly hired employees for every 100 vacancies. This is in sharp contrast to the same period in 2016 when there were 113 new hires for every 100 vacancies. Vacancies are calculated as the number of vacant positions as they correspond to total labour demand.
Job vacancies in health care and social assistance have remained high since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian government currently estimates that there are about 136,100 job vacancies in the health care and social assistance sectors. Recently, staff shortages in the health care sector have led many hospitals to announce temporary reductions in services. Some emergency rooms in some areas have also had to close periodically due to extreme staff shortages.
There were 136,100 job vacancies in the health care and social sector between the first and second quarter this year, 135,300 to 136,100, or almost 6%. However, it is up almost 29% from the second quarter of 2021. Manitoba is experiencing the highest job vacancy rate in the healthcare sector at 6.7%.
Job vacancies in the accommodation and food services sector rose significantly to 12.7%. There are 149,600 vacant jobs in the second quarter, or an overall job vacancy rate of 10.9%. This is the highest job vacancy rate across all sectors and is particularly pronounced in the Kootenay region of British Columbia.
The number of vacant jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services sector reached a high of 74,600 in the second quarter, up 7.9% from the first quarter of 2022 and 79.1% higher than in the first quarter of 2020. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and the surrounding area accounted for over half of these vacancies.
The largest rise was in occupations in the natural and applied sciences, at 13.3%. Tech occupations in the natural and applied sciences also significantly rose this quarter to 9.6%.
The post-pandemic economy has been continuing to grow over the last months. However, it has become increasingly difficult to fill essential jobs throughout the country due to labour shortages. To help address this problem, Canada has turned to immigration to fill record numbers of job openings.
The most recent immigration updates released by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser outline steps to help facilitate the transition from Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence. Among the changes include targeted Express Entry draws in 2023, updates to the National Occupational Classification system, and supporting PNP programs. Among other things, these updates are expected to help ease these shortages by allowing in-demand professions and skills to be targeted. With job vacancies up in six provinces, this will likely be a great benefit for those struggling to fill essential roles.
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