Canada Job Vacancies Now Far Beyond Pre-COVID Numbers

Canada employers are struggling to find suitable workers to hire in many sectors, with job vacancies now far above the level prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Across all 20 sectors, Canadian employers were seeking to fill 915,500 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2021, 80 per cent more than in 2019 and 63.4 per cent more than in 2020,” reports Statistics Canada.

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In its fourth quarter job vacancies report for 2021 which was released today, the statistical and demographics services agency of the federal government notes the record-high job vacancies in the fourth quarter coincided with an almost full recovery of payroll employment and falling unemployment.

Nova Scotia, Manitoba See More Job Vacancy Growth

During the last three months of last year, the job picture changed very little across Canada compared to the third quarter of the year – with the exception of Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

The Atlantic Canadian province of Nova Scotia saw job vacancies spike by 11.9 per cent, or 20,300 jobs. In the Prairie province of Manitoba, job vacancies rose by 5.9 per cent, or 25,800 positions.

In the past year, the provinces which saw the greatest increases in job vacancies were Prince Edward Island where the number of open positions rose by 87.1 per cent year over year. Quebec that saw an increase of 87.9 per cent, Alberta 89 per cent, and Saskatchewan – where the number of open jobs almost doubled – a jump of 90.1 per cent.

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Job hunters looking to land positions were best off in eight sectors: healthcare and social assistance; retail trade; professional, scientific and technical services; administrative and support, waste management and remediation services, other services other than public administration; education; real estate and rental and leasing, and; utilities.

With the arrival of winter, the hospitality sector predictably shed the most jobs in the last three months of the year, with job vacancies falling 12.1 per cent, by 143,300 jobs.

Despite that seasonal drop in available jobs, employers in the hospitality sector are very much still struggling to find workers.

Jobs In Canada’s Hospitality Sectors Going Begging For Lack Of Workers

“The occupation with the largest increase in the number of vacancies open for 60 days or more was food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, and related support occupations, where 60.8 per cent of vacancies were open for 60 days or more in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 43.3 per cent one year earlier,” notes Statistics Canada. 

“Other occupations with large increases in the number of vacancies open for 60 days or more were retail salespersons (from 11.8 per cent in the fall of 2020 to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021), cooks (from 41.8 per cent to 65.1 per cent), and food and beverage servers (from 40.7 per cent to 60.7 per cent).”

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Employers hoping to hire a foreign national can avail themselves of this international talent and labour through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and; the International Mobility Program (IMP).

It all comes down to whether or not the particular job is one of the many exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

That’s a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which shows there is both a need for a foreign worker to fill a job and also that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do it.

Jobs that do not require a LMIA are generally those that:

  1. are included in an international trade accord;
  2. are part of an accord between the federal government and a provincial/territorial government, or;
  3. jobs that are deemed in the best interests of Canada.

There are two ways to determine whether a particular position falls under one of the many LMIA exemptions.

Work Permits Can Be Issued In Two Weeks Through Global Talent Stream

Employers can either:

  1. review the LMIA exemption codes and work permit exemptions, select the LMIA exemption or work permit code that seems most relevant to their hiring situation and read the detailed description to see if an exemption code applies to them, or:
  2. contact the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU) if they are hiring a temporary foreign worker who is both currently outside Canada and from a country whose nationals are visa-exempt.

The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the (TFWP), can lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.

Employers can also bring in foreign nationals to fill available positions through the Express Entry system, which receives immigration applications online.

Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of three federal immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.

The candidates’ profiles then are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates are considered for ITAs for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees within a delay of 90 days.



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