Staying a Canada long term means you will be needing a job. Whether you will be working while still studying, or wish to be a foreign worker properly integrated into the workforce, a knowledge of the key job industries available in the country can help you see what sectors you can easily fit in to work or what potential jobs will be available for you on your arrival.

Canada’s key industries are grouped into these major subheadings:

  • Service industry
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Natural resources
  • Mining and agriculture

The Service Industry

The service industry is the most encompassing key job industry in Canada with many other sectors branching from it. Mainline divisions under the service industry include:

  • Healthcare and social services
  • Educational services
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Tourism and culture
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Entertainment and sports
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Real estate
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Research
  • Technology, communication, and IT
  • Banking and finance, etc

With so many smaller industries under the service industry, it pulls the highest amount of workers in Canada and provides 75% of all Canadian jobs. The industry is quite welcoming because it requires workers with various levels of education and work experience. Both the skilled and the unskilled have the potential to be employed in the vast space, the opportunities are increasing daily as Canada’s population steadily rises.

Unlike other key industries which are largely dependent on the natural resources that are available in a location, the service industry has needs to meet in all provinces and territories. You do not necessarily need to be in a particular region to gain employment under any of the sectors. However, the highest concentration of service jobs are found in Cross Metropolitan Areas (CMAs).

Of all the sectors under the service industry, the healthcare and social services sector has been the highest employer of people in recent times and perhaps, also pays the highest average hourly wage. In the past few years, Canada has been seeking to expand and develop its health sector. The country has actively recruited, and is still recruiting qualified foreigners to work as health practitioners. This alone has immensely contributed to the high immigration traffic experienced in recent times.

Most people believe that they are likely going to find employment in Canada as health workers than any other profession and their postulations have not been proven to be wrong.

The Manufacturing Industry

Almost 2 million jobs, if not more are being sustained by Canada’s manufacturing industry. In historical times, the industry was more in need of competent workers who could carry out labor-intensive services on shift. However, the recent but rapid development in this industry has resulted in a higher need for more high-end, skilled, and technology-inclined professions. Popular among people that are employed in the manufacturing industry are engineers, data analysts, marketers, and programmers.

Main Manufacturing Industries According to Provinces and Territories

Manufacturing IndustryProvince or Territory Found
PrintingManitoba, Ontario
Mining Machinery ManufacturingAlberta
Agricultural Machinery ManufacturingManitoba, Saskatchewan
Meat ProcessingAlberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan
Wood Panelling ManufacturingAlberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Labrador
Sawmill and Wood ProductionBritish Columbia
PrintingManitoba
Seafood ProcessingNew Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Labrador, Nova Scotia
Bread ProductionNewfoundland and Labrador
Aerospace Machinery ManufacturingNova Scotia, Quebec
Ship and Boat BuildingNova Scotia
Automobile ManufacturingOntario, Saskatchewan
Plastic ProductionOntario, Quebec
Wine ProductionBritish Columbia

The manufacturing industry has suffered shortage of employees due to the fast increasing population leading to higher demands for goods and the need to export more manufactured products. To mitigate this, Canada has created many incentives to attract more workers, indigenous and foreign into the sector. Some of the incentives are:

  • Canada Apprentice Loan
  • Apprenticeship Incentive Grant
  • Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit
  • Canada Apprentice Loan

The Natural Resource Industry

Canada is indeed blessed with many natural resources and the country has not failed to exploit them for its economic development. The oil and gas sector has proved of huge benefits to Canada, with 35% of all companies in the world related to it residing in Alberta. The same sector has maintained its stand of paying the highest average wage per hour in the country. The oil and gas industry actively recruiting engineers, miners, geoscientists, and researchers.

Canada’s top natural resources include water, oil and gas, uranium, gold, silver, copper, diamond, and natural gas. Nova Scotia has stood at the peak as the most resourceful province in this industry, providing jobs for residents in clean energy production. It also has large forest reserves and therefore employs labor in sectors such as paper production and environmental conservation.

Mining and Agriculture

Closely tied to the natural resource industry is mining and agriculture. With the huge deposits of natural resources, Canada has never ceased to employ labor that will bring its natural endowments to the finished product. The industry is further broken down into:

  • Mining
  • Energy production
  • Fishing
  • Forestry
  • Land farming

The role of the mining and agricultural sector in the employment of labor in Canada cannot be over-emphasized. The country actively mines uranium, nickel, potash, and diamonds and continually recruits professionals in that field. Most of the professions required are in mineral extraction and processing; computer technology such as programming and data analysis; developmental research; information management, etc.

British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec have been the highest employers of labor in the mining sector with about three-quarters of all mined products in Canada sourced from these regions. From observation, the average hourly wage paid mining workers is actively competing with that of the healthcare sector and may soon surge ahead of it.

Canada is one of the largest producers and exporters of agricultural products in the word. Farming has sustained a lot of its residents since time immemorial. Today, the agricultural sector is even more productive with the use of mechanized farming and genetically improved seeds and animals.

Both plant and animal farming thrive in the nation with the coastal areas known for having fishing as a major occupation. Canada’s major plant produce are wheat, oats, flax and canola, alongside rich forest reserves which are used for sourcing timber and producing pulp for paper.

By provinces and territories, Canada’s agricultural sector is fueled by diversities which are:

S/NPROVINCE/TERRITORYAGRICULTURAL PRODUCE
1.AlbertaCattle ranching, potato, wheat, canola, barley, meat processing
2.British ColumbiaSeafood, wine orchards, other fruits and vegetables
3.ManitobaWheat, barley, canola, fishing, meat processing
4.New BrunswickLivestock farming, diary production
5.Newfoundland and LabradorFishing and seafood, horticulture, diary production
6.Northwest TerritoriesSeafood
7.Nova ScotiaForest reserves, diary production
8.NunavutSeafood
9.OntarioCanola, barley, wheat, orchards, corn, soya beans, livestock farming, diary production, tobacco
10.Prince Edward IslandDiary production, mixed farming
11.QuebecFruits, vegetables, animal farming
12.SaskatchewanCanola, beans, wheat, barley, canola, hemp, flax, cattle ranching, meat processing
13.YukonSeafood

In all these regions, there is demand for technicians to handle farm and processing equipments, Vet. Doctors, geneticists, researchers, field workers, whosalers of agricultural produce, as well as retailers.

Because of the skillfulness required to work in these sectors, most employed workers are given many professional trainings by their companies. Workers in the mining industry also do benefit from ready made accommodation and rides, company based health insurance and numerous hazard risk payments.

Canada’s key industries are not evenly distributed across the country. The nature of services being provided in a particular province depends on factors like:

  • Availability of natural resources
  • Proximity to the sea
  • Population of residents
  • Soil fertility, etc.

Some industries provide basic and essential services and are therefore found in all the provinces although such services are still more established in some regions than the others.

The table below highlights each province and the industries that are most active there.

Canadian Provinces/Territories and their Key Job Industries

S/NPROVINCE/TERRITORYKEY INDUSTRIES
1.AlbertaOil and natural gas, mining of uranium, zinc, nickel, and silver, agriculture, manufacturing, engineering
2.British ColumbiaMining, manufacturing, service provision: healthcare, scientific, and other professional services
3.ManitobaAgriculture (wheat farming), mining, ICT, aerospace, education, finance and insurance
4.New BrunswickAgriculture (fishing), aerospace, IT services, manufacturing, mining, tourism
5.Newfoundland and LabradorHospitality, healthcare service, mining, tourism, educational services
6.Northwest TerritoriesInsurance, diamond mining, energy and natural gas, agriculture
7.Nova ScotiaMining, drilling, clean energy production, forestry, farming, shipping, education, wholesale and retail
8.NunavutArts and crafts, culture and tourism, mining, fishery
9.OntarioManufacturing, mining, education, insurance, finance, construction, healthcare
10.Prince Edward IslandICT, tourism, renewable energy production, aerospace, health care
11.QuebecManufacturing, agriculture, food processing, ICT, scientific and technological research
12.SaskatchewanAgriculture (wheat farming), forestry, mining, manufacturing
13.YukonAgriculture, clean energy production, mining: gold, silver and zinc, movie and sound production

NOTE: This table does not explicitly showcase all industries and sectors functional in each region. It only highlights the flagship sectors each province is known for.

While some skills and professions are usually in high demand in some locations than the other, there are still opportunities for them in virtually all provinces and territories. If you look out enough in wherever province you are, you will find employment for a job that commensurate with your skill level.

Canada as a country has a relatively low unemployment rate with an average of only about 8 to 10% yearly. The recent surge in the number of unemployed persons will be as a result of replacing human labor with technology. In the light of that, Canada seeks more to employ persons that are technology inclined or at least with basic computer literacy.

So far, there are still more than enough jobs that have not been totally replaced by robots and machines. And with the country being underpopulated but steadily increasing, more hands will still be needed to be able to meet up with the services required by residents.