Is there a labor shortage in Canada?

In the second quarter of 2022, numerous industries in Canada are experiencing labor shortages, despite historically low unemployment rates, with restaurants and hotels continuing to be among the hardest hit. The majority of Canadian businesses in other sectors — more than two-thirds (64%) of those in the lodging and food services industry — have stated that they would experience a worker shortage in the coming three months (source).

The number of open opportunities in the lodging and food services industry are also expected to increase over the following three months. In fact, the industry registered an increase in the percentage of open positions to 12.8% in March 2022, making it the sector with the highest employment rate for the eleventh consecutive month.

Does Canada have a labor shortage?

The labor crunch that began during the pandemic is still very much present. In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were 915 500 open positions, according to Statistics Canada, an increase of 63% from 2020.

With nearly half the open positions remaining unoccupied for 60 days or longer, jobs are also remaining unfilled for long periods of time. Servers, laborers in the construction industry, and social workers are some of the vacancies that are most difficult to fill.

As of March 18 2022, job market listings on the hiring website of Indeed had increased by 69%, compared to February 2020. The Prairie and Atlantic provinces saw the biggest rise in job posts compared to pre-pandemic levels. Alberta Health Services, the five major banks, and big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot were the top job posters.

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What is causing the labor shortage in Canada?

The labor shortage in Canada is mainly caused by the aging working-age population and the increase in job vacancies by 80% compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. This explains why high levels of immigration will continue to be important in Canada. 

Immigration is a key factor to reduce the long-term effects of the aging population on the labor market. According to a Statistics Canada report, immigrants have long been the country’s main source of labor. In the 2010s, immigration accounted for more than four-fifths of the increase in the labor force. 

Are laborers in demand in Canada?

A considerable skills gap exists in Canada as a result of the country’s aging population and slow population growth. To fill these skills gaps, both the federal and provincial governments rely heavily on immigration programs. Based on the needs of their respective labor markets, the majority of Canadian provinces and territories have lists of jobs that are in demand. 

You may have a better chance of being chosen through Provincial Nominee Programs, obtaining a job in Canada before you arrive, or doing so quickly after arrival if your skill set matches the requirements of a particular province. There are common job sectors across provinces that are in desperate need of labor, despite the fact that the economic and industrial outlook for each province varies. A few of these are:

Social and health care sectors

The need for competent labor in the health care sector is urgent. To fill the skill deficits, the majority of provinces are looking for competent doctors, registered nurses, and health care workers. Additionally, social workers, professors at all levels, and educators have strong employment prospects.


There are positions available in almost every industry in Canada’s manufacturing sector, including agri-processing, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, plastics, meatpacking, and wood processing. There were over 65 000 employment vacancies in the manufacturing industry across Canada as of the second quarter of 2021.


IT jobs are in high demand in Canada due to the country’s burgeoning IT industry, which includes positions in software engineering, web design and development, artificial intelligence, and other fields.


The main contribution to the economy in the majority of provinces is the services industry. Opportunities are available in a variety of sectors in this industry, including administration, sales, retail, hospitality, accountancy, finance, human resources, and marketing.


Almost every province in Canada has seen growth in the construction sector. This sector is in need of labor at every level, including managers, experienced workers, and craftsmen like masons, electricians, and carpenters.

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Which jobs have a shortage in Canada?

To assist those looking for a job, the most in-demand jobs are listed below based on their National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.


Family doctors and general practitioners identify and treat illnesses, physiological conditions, and wounds. They can make as much as $ 341,603 in Newfoundland and Labrador and their yearly median wage is $ 187,675. Job Bank posted 17 openings for family physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of November. There were 60 similar opportunities on the Indeed jobs page.

Specialists, a group that includes surgeons, diagnose and treat illnesses as well as physical and mental disorders. They also serve as advisors to other doctors. In late November, the province reportedly needed 42 surgeons, according to Job Bank. Similarly, there were 51 job listings for these healthcare professionals on Indeed at the time. 


Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses administer health education programs, give direct nursing care to patients, and offer consultation services on matters related to nursing practice.

Due to the increased need for nurses brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, Indeed published a list of at least 116 open nursing posts in late November of 2021. Based on a 37.5-hour work week, nurses have a typical annual income of $ 78,000, across Canada, with the highest-paid employees earning up to $ 89,115.


There has been, during the pandemic, an increased demand for information systems analysts and computer programmers. These are the individuals that create, alter, integrate, and test computer code for communications software, operating systems-level software, and software for data processing applications. On the basis of a 37.5-hour workweek, programmers make a typical annual salary of $ 70,317 throughout Canada.


When COVID-19 struck, every office building and household started to practice extreme cleanliness to stop the disease from spreading. As a result, cleaning staff for hotels, motels, resorts, hospitals, schools, business buildings, and private homes were suddenly in high demand. By mid-November 2021, Job Bank had more than a thousand such positions listed nationwide. The median annual wage in Canada for commercial cleaners is $ 31,590 based on a 37.5-hour work week. 

Social Work

Home support workers give seniors, people with disabilities, and convalescent clients personal care and companionship, and frequently reside in the homes of their clients. By mid-November 2021, 1,093 such jobs were available in Canada. There is no doubt that social workers are in high demand across Canada. A highly-skilled social work professional could make anything between $ 75,000 and $ 95,000.

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How is the government of Quebec addressing the labor shortage?

Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic, in terms of the Canadian economy, is well underway. Canada added 337,000 jobs in February 2022, lowering its unemployment rate to 5.5 %, the lowest level since the pandemic’s beginning. In reality, Canada’s economic recovery is accelerating at a rate that’s too fast for many firms and businesses, especially in Quebec. As a result they’re unable to fill open positions.

The implementation of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, a Quebec pilot project, and the introduction of province-restricted open work permits for foreign nationals chosen for permanent residence by Quebec, are two initiatives that the Canadian government is focusing on to support the continued economic growth of the country.

The inclusion of National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C occupations (also known as intermediate-skilled work) in the list of professions eligible for simplified processing, through the Traitement Simplifié program, is expected to be the next step in the pilot project.

For Quebec firms participating in the TFW Program, this streamlined process will give them more flexibility to meet their labor demands. Previously, only highly skilled workers and professions were eligible for simplified processing. The already established worker protections for those now covered by the TFW Program will not be impacted by the inclusion of lower-skilled occupations in the Traitement Simplifié. 

Recruitment services

Are you on the lookout for the ideal job? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Spartanium, a Montreal-based recruitment firm, represents clients in various sectors of industry, including transport and logistics, law, accounting, and insurance. We are constantly on the lookout for job seekers with diverse skills and levels of expertise. If you’re looking for a job, we can expedite the process for you by focusing your search. Our experts will also prepare you for the job interview and negotiate on your behalf.

Many companies in Quebec lack the time and resources to handle the recruitment process. It’s a lengthy procedure with a lot of different steps, and the outcomes aren’t always certain. This is where Spartanium comes in. We know where to look for qualified candidates to help businesses save time and money. 

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