Canada Jobs Market Improves But Still Tighter Than Before Pandemic

Canada Jobs Market Improves But Still Tighter Than Before Pandemic
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Statistics Canada says the Canada jobs market softened somewhat during the second quarter of this year but remains tight compared to the situation prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Job vacancies decreased in the second quarter (and) the number of unemployed persons … increased by 44,300, following three quarters of little change,” notes the statistical and demographic services agency.

“As a result, there were 1.4 unemployed persons for every job vacancy in Canada in the second quarter, up from 1.3 in the previous quarter and from 1.1 in the second quarter of 2022.

That softening of the labour market is expected to be enough to reduce the upward pressure on wages.

“Nevertheless, the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio in the second quarter remained below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, which were typically above 2.0,” notes Statistics Canada.

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While the average hourly wage offered to workers grew 4.4 per cent to $25.10 year-over-year in the second quarter, that’s a drop in the rate of wage increases from the first quarter during which wages were rising by five percent.

Not all of those increases, though, were due to employers paying workers more to do the same jobs.

“Part of these wage increases were due to a shift in the relative composition of job vacancies from occupations offering lower wages to those offering higher wages,” reports Statistics Canada.

“Using a method that holds the composition of job vacancies by occupation at the average of the second quarter of 2022, offered hourly wages grew three per cent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2023, down from 3.5 per cent in the previous quarter.”

Nurse Aides, Orderlies And Patient Services Associates Got The Biggest Raises In Q2

Among the occupations that saw the biggest raises in the second quarter of this year were nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates whose wages rose by 8.6 per cent to $22.80 and public works and maintenance labourers who got raises of eight per cent to $23.05.

Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors, though, saw their average wages fall by 4.3 per cent to $32.40 and residential and commercial installers and servicers’ average wages fell by 4.2 per cent to $22.90 on a year-over-year basis.

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With the softening of the labour market in the second quarter of this year, there were significant job losses in four sectors.

Sales and service occupations fell by 30,400, or 11.1 per cent, to 243,500 jobs, the biggest quarterly decline of any of the broad occupational groups.

“Within this broad occupational group, food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations, lost 24,400 jobs … and retail salespersons lost 12,900 jobs,” notes Statistics Canada.

Natural and applied sciences and related occupations also saw a loss of jobs with the sector losing 5,100 positions in the second quarter of this year, the fourth consecutive quarterly decline.

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“In the second quarter of 2023, the largest year-over year decreases in vacant positions within this broad occupational group were among computer programmers and interactive media developers, down 6,700 jobs or 54.5 per cent, software engineers and designers, down 5,100 jobs or 53.5 per cent, and information systems analysts and consultants, down 4,900 positions or 40.1 per cent,” notes Statistics Canada.

During the second quarter, there were also drops in job vacancies in business, finance and administration, manufacturing and utilities, natural resources, agriculture and related production, and the trades, transport and equipment operations.

“Construction trades helpers and labourers … reported the largest drop in job vacancies, followed by material handlers … and transport truck drivers,” notes Statistics Canada.

Healthcare Is The Only Sector That Saw An Uptick In Job Vacancies In Q2

The healthcare sector was the only broad occupational group to see a rise in job vacancies in the second quarter with 90,000 vacant positions in health occupations, up by 7,800, or 9.5 per cent from a year ago.

“It was also the only broad occupational group to see a year-over-year increase in full and part-time unfilled positions; as well as in permanent … and temporary …  vacant positions,” notes Statistics Canada.

“At the national level, the bulk of the year-over-year increase in job vacancies in health occupations in the second quarter was attributable to registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses … and licensed practical nurses.”


Foreign nationals can gain their permanent residency in Canada during tight labour markets by immigrating through the country’s many economic immigration programs.

Under the Express Entry system, immigrants can apply for permanent residency online if they meet the eligibility criteria for one of three federal immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and Canada Experience Class Program (CEC),  or a participating provincial immigration program.

PNPs Offer Route To Economic Immigration For Skilled Workers

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

Through a network of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can also nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada when they have the specific skills required by local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.

Canadian employers can also recruit and hire foreign nationals 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.

Are you ready to live and work in Canada? Fill out our free evaluation form to find out if you are eligible.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.