Job vacancies rose to a record high and there were more paid jobs in all but two of Canada’s 10 provinces in March than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Statistics Canada.
“All provinces, with the exception of Alberta, which saw a drop of 12,700 paid jobs, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which saw a decline of 1,700, had, in March, surpassed their payroll employment level in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic,” notes Statistics Canada in its Payroll Employment, Earnings and Hours, and Job Vacancies report for March 2022.
Canadian employers were then working hard to fill a record high of more than a million jobs – exactly 1,012,900.
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Vacancies increased by 22.6 per cent, up 186,400 positions, that month and were up 60.5 per cent by 382,000 positions over the same month the previous year.
The job vacancy rate is a measure of all the empty positions divided by all the jobs in Canada, both those that are filled as well as those that are empty. In March, that rate stood at 5.9 per cent, matching the record high in September last year
Goodbye Pandemic Restrictions, Hello Jobs!
The statistical and demographic services agency chalks up the rise in paid employment in Canada to the easing of pandemic restrictions.
“The number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer, measured by the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) as payroll employment, increased by 118,100, or up 0.7 per cent, in March,” notes Statistics Canada.
“The increase in payroll employment coincided with the continued easing of public health measures, as remaining capacity limits affecting business operations had generally been lifted by the first two weeks of March, although some combination of masking, proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or COVID-19 testing remained a requirement in some settings in certain jurisdictions.”
Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan were the only provinces to see little change in the number of paid jobs in March.
Quebec, though, boomed. Its hospitality sector soared with 20,400 new paid jobs in accommodations and food services in March, boosted by the provincial reopening of bars, taverns and casinos on Feb. 28.
Across the country, the service sector added 103,400 jobs, growing by 0.7 per cent, in March. Much of that was driven by growth in the accommodations and food services sector which added 46,200 paid jobs and the retail trade which grew by 14,800 jobs that month.
“In the goods-producing sector, payroll employment increased by 9,400, or 0.3 per cent, with gains in manufacturing, which added 5,100 jobs …. and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction which rose by 2,100 jobs or 1.1 per cent.”
More Retail Jobs In March Than Before Pandemic
In the retail sector, there were 9,600 more jobs in March than before the start of the pandemic. All provinces except Ontario and Manitoba had more jobs in retail in March than in February 2020.
With the growth in the number of jobs to fill, employers are often left scrambling to find suitable workers and many of them are sweetening the pot by offering higher wages.
In March, the average weekly earnings of a worker in Canada rose by 0.9 per cent to hit $1,170, leaving the average worker with a year-over-year pay hike of 4.3 per cent in March.
That looks good for those workers – but Canada is also seeing high inflation this year with the Consumer Price Index rising by 6.7 per cent during the same period. That eats away at workers’ purchasing power, despite the raises.
Not all workers, though, are equally affected. In some sectors, the pay hikes to workers put them ahead in the past year.
“Of all sectors, utilities recorded the largest year-over-year increase in average weekly earnings in March, up 11.7 per cent to $2,011, followed by finance and insurance, up 12.1 per cent to $1,625, and professional, scientific and technical services which rose eight per cent to $1,633,” notes Statistics Canada.
Arts, entertainment and recreation workers, though, saw their average weekly earnings fall by 4.2 per cent to $693, making them the only ones in March to report a year-over-year decrease in average weekly earnings. That’s not because salaries actually went down. It’s because more low-paying jobs were added in that sector.
TFWP, IMP Are Two Main Ways Employers Can Hire Foreign Nationals
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).
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the (TFWP), can under normal processing situations 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.