Canadian Business Owners Calls On Federal Government To Tackle Labour Shortages

Canada’s private-sector job vacancy rate is on the increase, and Lobby groups and non-profit organization are calling for all political parties in the upcoming federal election in the country to take measures to tackle labour shortages.

According to a media report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the average job vacancy rate in Canada has always been at 3.2 per cent in the last four consecutive quarters. That means 429,000 private-sector jobs were vacant for at least four (4) months in the second quarter of 2019.

Although it looks like vacancy measures may have reach it climax, there are still some  less performing job markets in Canada which, if corrected could still theoretically drive up the national rate much further,” the CFIB’s Help Wanted report said.

Vacancy rates are determined by growth intentions, future outlooks, business size and firm-specific job characteristics.

We’re also getting strong signal in wage increament in those firms that had vacant positions,” Ted Mallet, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist, said in a press release. “While this job vacancies rate can be a sign of a blooming economy, we do not want labour shortages to become a problem to business success.”

This last quarter Canadian employers with at least one job openings look forward to raising the average organization-wide wage levels up by 2.3 per cent, while private enterprises without any job vacancies planned for a 1.5 per cent increase.

Geography and industry sectors also play a part in influencing vacancy rates.

Job Vacancy Rates By Province

Private-sector job vacancy rates were at its peak in Quebec and British Columbia tied at 3.9 per cent.

For Quebec, this represents 116,000 vacant jobs and 74,700 for British Columbia.

B.C’s vacancy rate has increased minimally since last year, while Quebec registered a slight decrease from the first quarter of 2019.

New Brunswick and Ontario came in around the national average; Ontario was on the same level at 3.2 per cent, while New Brunswick’s rises to 3.1 per cent, was still minimal below.

Rates are increasing in provinces such as Manitoba, where the vacancy rate was 2.6 per cent this quarter. This figure represents 11,500 vacant jobs.

Prince Edward Island is now at 2.2 per cent after increasing from 0.2 per cent from the last quarter, which is more than any other Canadian province. Newfoundland and Labrador unfilled job rate surges to 2.0 per cent.

Nova Scotia registered no changes, which has a 2.3 per cent vacancy rate.

Alberta and Saskatchewan’s rates have dropped. In Alberta, the private sector job vacancy rate decreased slightly to 1.9 per cent, representing 7,400 unfilled jobs, the lowest in the country. Saskatchewan also saw a slight decrease to 2.1 per cent.


Vacancy rate


Unfilled jobs

Quebec 3.9% 116,000
British Columbia 3.9% +0.1% 74,700
Ontario 3.2% -0.1% 169,900
New Brunswick 3.1% +0.1% 7,400
Manitoba 2.6% +0.1% 11,500
Nova Scotia 2.3% 7,100
Prince Edward Island 2.2% +0.2% 1,000
Saskatchewan 2.1% -0.1% 7,400
Newfoundland & Labrador 2.0% +0.1% 3,000
Alberta 1.9% -0.1% 31,300

There are currently a number of programs available to help connect employers and business owners with highly-skilled workers looking to come to Canada, which is designed to tackle labour shortages.

Variations by industry

The personal services sector maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.9 per cent. Construction industry followed at 4.8 per cent. Hospitality sector came next at a vacancy rate of 3.7 per cent. Then professional services, enterprise management, agriculture, and health services tied at 3.4 per cent.

The information sector registered the lowest vacancy rate at 2.1 per cent.