Last Updated on August 3, 2021
Job creation exploded throughout Canada in June as the COVID-19 pandemic waned and experts are now expecting that growth in employment to carry on – albeit at a slower pace – throughout the rest of the year.
“The stage is now set for a smoother job recovery through the second half of the year, with total employment down 1.8 per cent from pre-COVID levels,” wrote Robert Kavcic, a senior economist with the Bank of Montreal.
The tone of his latest Regional Labour Market Report Card is ebulliently titled It’s Upward from Here.
In the second quarter of this year, Canada rode a rollercoaster of lay-offs as companies shut down during lockdowns throughout much of the country and then re-opened. That led to more people being hired than had been laid off.
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“Ontario posted the steepest decline, with employment down 67,000 in the quarter, but the province also saw a hefty 117,000 gain upon partial reopening in June,” reported Kavcic.
The francophone province of Quebec re-opened earlier and so managed to snag job growth gains of 51,000 during the second quarter of the year.
British Columbia Has More Jobs Than Before Pandemic
On the West Coast, British Columbia pulled off the amazing feat during the pandemic of actually growing its employment levels to finish with more jobs now than before the start of the pandemic. It is the only Canadian province to have managed to pull that off, says Kavcic.
Among Canadian cities, the results are mixed. Many of the big cities didn’t do as well in terms of job creation in the second quarter of this year as the smaller ones.
“The large urban centres generally rank in the upper-middle of the pack, but should stand to benefit most through the second half of the year,” says Kavcic.
“Smaller cities that top the ranking could reflect work-from-home shifts (e.g., if you’ve moved to Peterborough or Abbotsford, you’re employed there, even if the employer is based in Toronto or Vancouver).”
Peterborough, Ontario Tops List Of Best Performing Labour Markets
The Top 10 Canadian Cities For Labour Market Performance in the second quarter of this year were:
- Montreal, and;
Among the most notable stand-outs in this recent ranking are: Vancouver, which shot up 25 spots from last year to the fifth place this year; Montreal which rose 16 spots to number nine; and Edmonton which came in 10th in these rankings after soaring 18 spots in one year.
At the very top of the rankings, the medium-sized city of Peterborough sits at number one after jumping 17 spots. Regina, Saskatchewan’s capital but still one of the medium-sized municipalities, came in third after leapfrogging 11 spots.
St. Catherines The Worst Performing Labour Market
The bottom 10 cities in Canada based on Labour Market Performance in the second quarter of this year were:
- St. Catherines;
- St. John’s;
- Saint John;
- Thunder Bay;
- Windsor, and;
Despite their dismal placement for job creation, both Windsor, Ontario and Saguenay in Quebec actually rose in the rankings this year compared to last year.
Not so for the others in the bottom 10.
Barrie plummeted in the rankings, falling 28 spots to number 30. St. John’s slid 22 spots to 32nd. And Sudbury in northern Ontario dropped like a stone 19 spots to 31st place. Saint John in New Brunswick fell 10 spots to 27th.
With the rebounding of the Canadian economy and the gradual re-opening of the Canadian border announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month, immigration will almost certainly pick back up in the second half of this year.
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Certainly, Ottawa has remained bullish on immigration throughout the pandemic and set ambitious immigration targets for this year and the next two.
Its 2021‒2023 Immigration Levels Plan has set immigration targets of about one per cent of the Canadian population for each of those years. That’s 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
The federal government’s previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has said. “Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes and helping us to keep food on the table.
“As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves,” he has said. “Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”