Toronto's Labour Market

Toronto remains a great place to work and live in 2018

Considered one of the world's most livable cities, our economy follows as being among the fastest growing in Canada. In the past twelve months, the city has recorded an above average employment growth, lower unemployment rates and higher labour force participation rates.

Labour Market Information

Labour market information (LMI) has a broad scope. In essence, it includes vital information which helps individuals stay up-to-date on current workforce indicators and also allows users to make informed labour market decisions.

LMI can be a compilation of detailed statistical data on jobs and salaries, employers and employees, sectors and industries, current employment conditions and future labour market trends. It may also include other kinds of information such as emerging technologies, the workplace environment, working conditions and the cost of living.

Key Stakeholders in the Labour Market

Range of stakeholders who need Labour Market Information (LMI):

  1. Job seekers wishing to locate job openings understand the functions of various occupations, learn about prominent local industries that are growing, and determine likely wage ranges for different job possibilities;
  2. Employment counsellors seeking to advise clients about the requisite expectations for various occupations, the quality of different job options and their likely career trajectories;
  3. Employers needing to understand local labour supply, in particular educational and skill levels, as well as salary expectations;
  4. Students exploring career choices and evaluating their educational options having regard to future career prospects;
  5. Prospective immigrants to Canada seeking current knowledge of their labour market options and outcomes should they choose to emigrate;
  6. Education providers working to ensure their program offerings reflect local labour market demand, both in terms of what courses are being taught and their relevance to the workplace.

Understanding Labour Market Information (LMI)

If you’re a student or a job-seeker, labour market information can help you:

  • identify career paths that suit your skills and interests
  • see which jobs have the best outlooks
  • find where the jobs are: the sectors, occupations and locations
  • find out what skills are in demand and the employment requirements for a particular type of job
  • shifts in employment across industrial sectors
  • hours worked
  • labour force participation and unemployment rates
Toronto's Current Labour Market

Toronto's labour market is improving, with indicators showing a positive increase in employment and labour participation rates, and a positive trend in decreasing unemployment rates.

Analyzing Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates between January 2017-2018

These increases are not the same throughout all industries; industries are affected by changes in technology, demographics, consumer preferences, international competition and the value of the Canadian dollar.

Which industries are booming? Who is Hiring?

The above list is based on NAICS. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is an industry classification system developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico and the United States. NAICS is a comprehensive system encompassing all economic activities. NAICS is based on a production-oriented, or supply-based conceptual framework in that establishments are grouped into industries according to similarity in the production processes used to produce goods and services.

10 industries experienced positive employment growth if we directly compare employment data of 2011 and 2016. The industry that experienced a significant decline in employment is Information, Culture and Recreation. It is important to note that a decrease in the number of jobs in an industry does not necessarily mean that the industry is in decline. Indeed, productivity growth and the use of new technologies can lead to a decrease in the number of jobs while maintaining production at a similar or higher level.

According to the chart, several key industries have increased levels of employment since 2011. These industries are:

  • Accommodation and food services
  • finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing
  • health care and social assistance
  • construction
  • professional, scientific and technical services.
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade

Industries that experienced persistent rise in employment between 2011-2016 were:

These are the industries that experienced persistent growth in employment over the years between 2011-2016.

Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS)

Analyzing Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) estimates between 3rd Quarter of 2016 and 2017

The JVWS collects data on the number of job vacancies by occupation and economic region on a quarterly basis through the Job Vacancy Component of the survey. Employers are asked for detailed information about each vacancy to identify potential labour market shortages at the occupation level and to get an overall understanding of the vacancies that exist and the requirements for filling them.

“A high job vacancy rate is good news and bad news. The good news is it signals a healthy job market and an abundance of employment positions. This is the reason thousands of people have moved to Alberta. The bad news is employers may find it difficult to find qualified applicants to fill vacant jobs which may limit their ability to operate profitably.”

Job Vacancy and Wage Survey

Occupational information is of critical importance for the provision of labour market and career intelligence, skills development, occupational forecasting, labour supply and demand analysis, employment equity and numerous other programs and services.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 updates the National Occupational Classification 2011. It is the nationally accepted taxonomy and organizational framework of occupations in the Canadian labour market. This update of the classification reflects ongoing occupational research and consultation to incorporate information on new occupations. The basic principle of classification of the NOC is the kind of work performed. Occupations are identified and grouped primarily in terms of the work usually performed, this being determined by the tasks, duties, employment requirements and responsibilities of the occupation.

If we compare job vacancies of the 4th quarter of 2017 with job vacancies of the 1st quarter of 2017 we can see an increase in job vacancies for the following occupations:

  • Management (7845 to 8615),
  • Education, law and social, community and government services (5305 to 5540),
  • Sales and service (27460 to 33855), and
  • Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (1230 to 1895). The largest of these job vacancies is in the Sales and Service occupation (33855).


  • Postsecondary education was the minimum level of education for the vacant positions for the majority of job vacancies in Toronto.
  • The level of wages offered in Toronto ($22.15) was the second highest in the country.


Rising job vacancy in a certain occupation does not necessarily equate to a rise in that particular occupation.

Growing Occupations
Growing Occupations
Growing Occupations
Wages: How much are we making?

Wages by Occupation

  • The average full-time hourly wage paid is the average hourly wage paid by employers, before taxes and deductions, to full-time employees and excludes overtime pay, tips, commissions, bonuses.
  • Estimates are calculated based on the number of full-time employees per occupation at the business location
  • Wages varied notably across occupations
  • Management was the broad occupational group with the highest average full-time hourly wage in 2016
  • Engineering managers ($58.30) were among the highest paid within management occupations. On the other hand, restaurant and food service managers were the lowest paid, at $18.10 per hour
  • Within natural and applied sciences occupations, petroleum engineers ($62.75) had the highest hourly wages
  • Within health occupations, specialist physicians ($86.75) earned the highest wage, which was also the highest wage of all occupations. One of the lowest hourly wages within health occupations was for nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates ($18.95).

Regionally, the average hourly wage offered in the third quarter of 2017 remained at $22.15. However, larger changes were observed across broad occupational categories, particularly in natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations and business, finance and administration occupations where the wage offered grew by 13%. Occupations that saw significant decline in the average hourly wage offered were trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (13%) and health occupations (12%).

Within sales and service occupations, technical sales specialists in wholesale trade ($32.10) and bartenders ($11.50) had among the highest and the lowest hourly wages, respectively.

Changes in the average hourly wage offered for job vacancies reflect multiple factors like wage growth and changes in the composition of job vacancies by occupation, by sector and between part- and full-time positions. For example, the 13% increase of the wage offered in natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations was partly driven by the rise in the number of job vacancies for higher-paying occupations, such as mine service workers and operators in oil and gas drilling, as well as underground miners and oil and gas drillers.

Wages by Education

Identifies different types of postsecondary education and training completed, including combinations of trades, college and university.

Post-Secondary education refers to those whose highest level of educational attainment is an apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma, college or non-university certificate/diploma or university certificate/diploma below bachelor’s degree.

Wages by Education

The Future of Work

The future of work is hard to define in our ever-changing job market. However, we are able to identify trends which can improve our understanding of unforeseen challenges that we might face. Staying informed through labour market information allows us to make evidence-based decisions that can reframe these challenges to be less daunting and more workable.

Trend: Automation

Automation in the workplace is a reality of modern society and its labour force. From automating self-checkouts in grocery stores and fast food places, driverless vehicles in the automobile industry, and robotic integration in the classrooms, roughly half of the tasks that people do can be automated.

Brookfield Institute, Talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada's workforce

Innovation is a driving factor of productivity and economic growth, but increasing productivity means that fewer people are needed to produce the same amount of goods. The increasing pace of technological change has led some to speculate that, in the digital era, technology might destroy old jobs faster than new ones are created. Job losses can occur, however, only if innovation outstrips growth in demand for new products and services.

Brookfield Institute, Phase 1 Public Engagement Summary

These points suggest that even though 50% of all work activities around the world can be automated using current technology, automation won't necessarily eliminate occupations but rather change the nature of how we work. Reducing laborious tasks and increasing value is a trade off to workplace automation.

Routine Occupations Vs Non-Routine Occupations

The first step is to distinguish between occupations consisting of predominantly routine tasks that, in principal, are automatable and those that include non-routine tasks that cannot as easily be performed by machines or smart software.

Automation in the Canadian Labour Market

Between 1987 and 2015:

  • employment in non-routine cognitive occupations increased by 91 percent (2.6 million jobs)
  • in non-routine manual occupations by around 78 percent (700,000 jobs).
  • In contrast, employment in routine occupations grew by only 27 percent (2.2 million jobs)

Trend: Skills and the skill-gap

While technology trends are changing the workforce, being equipped with a diverse set of technical and soft skills is important for youth joining the labour market. As it stands, youth aged 15 to 24 are the most vulnerable demographic of Canada's population to be affected by automation (roughly almost 20 percent of the high-risk occupations in 2011). The prominence of precarious and part-time work creates the challenges youth face when trying to integrate into the labour market.

  • Over the next decade, about two thirds of job openings in Canada will require post-secondary education, or management experience
  • A diverse set of skills: creativity, digital skills, problem solving, social intelligence and entrepreneurial abilities (managing flexibility and taking risks to compete in the future workforce) are high on requirement lists.
Brookfield Institute, Future-proof: Preparing young Canadian's for the future of work

Trend: Constant learning

Negative effects of technology on employment can be helped through education and training. From numerous reports and research on this topic, jobs that are at low-risks of being affected by disruptive innovation require the most education. High-risk occupations are filled with disproportionately young and low-paid workers.

There are many organizations, government initiatives, community agencies and businesses that are working together to propose solutions for youth employment. Learning skills that cannot be disrupted is essential to reduce the effects of being at risk of underemployment.

  • Digital and Computer skills are now needed at every level
  • Continue to adapt and train. Seek innovative, sustaining career prospects
Researching occupations and opportunities


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