Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate is maintaining record high levels, and a non-profit business organization is calling for all political parties in the upcoming Canadian federal election to take measures to tackle the labour shortage.
The average job vacancy rate in Canada has been at 3.2 percent for four consecutive quarters, according to a media release from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). That means 429,000 private-sector jobs went unfilled for at least four months in the second quarter of 2019—23,000 more than the second quarter of 2018.
“We’re also seeing a strong pressure to increase wages in those firms that had vacant positions,” Ted Mallet, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist, said in the release. “While this rate of job vacancies can be a sign of a growing economy, we don’t want labour shortages to become an obstacle to business success.”
Gography and industry sectors also play a part in determining vacancy rates.
Vacancies by province
Private sector job vacancy rates were highest in British Columbia and Quebec, tied at 3.9 per cent.
For Quebec this represents 116,000 unfilled jobs, and 74,700 for B.C.
Since the first quarter of 2019, B.C.’s rate has gone up slightly, but Quebec’s has gone down from 4.1 per cent.
Ontario and New Brunswick came in around the national average; Ontario was on par at 3.2 per cent, while New Brunswick’s rise to 3.1 per cent was still slightly below.
Rates are trending up in parts of the country such as Manitoba. This quarter Manitoba’s vacancy rate was 2.6 per cent, representing 11,500 unfilled jobs. Prince Edward Island is now at 2.2 per cent after rising 0.2 per cent from the previous quarter, which is more than any other province. Then in Newfoundland and Labrador the job vacancy rate went up to 2.0 per cent.
There was no change in Nova Scotia which has a 2.3 per cent vacancy rate.
Saskatchewan and Alberta’s rates have dropped. In Saskatchewan, the private sector job vacancy rate decreased slightly to 2.1 per cent, representing 7,400 unfilled jobs. Alberta also saw a slight decrease to 1.9 per cent, which is the lowest in the country.
Variations by industry
The personal services industry maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.9 per cent. Construction followed at 4.8 per cent. Hospitality came next at a vacancy rate of 3.7 per cent. Then agriculture, enterprise management, professional services, and health services tied at 3.4 per cent.
The information sector had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.1 per cent.
Canadian immigration programs filling labour markets
There are a number of programs available to help connect employers with highly-skilled workers looking to immigrate to Canada.
While not a program in itself, Express Entry is a system used by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to select economic class candidates for Canadian permanent residency via the following programs:
• Federal Skilled Worker Program
• Canadian Federal Skilled Trades Class
• Canadian Experience Class
Some provincial nominee programs are also a part of the Express Entry System.