The Expanding Canadian Workforce

by | Jul 19, 2023 | Benefits Alliance Pulse

Plus, a correction from last week’s Pulse.

Correction Notice:

We are aware that there were some inaccuracies posted in last week’s edition of Pulse, “Understanding the Reality of High-Cost Drugs in Canada”. The topic of Pharmacare in Canada is a difficult landscape to navigate as it’s always evolving with multiple stakeholders involved. As our country and industry look at solutions to help provide Canadians timely access to high-cost drugs and navigate how those will be paid, we will keep our readers informed if and when formal progress has been made. In the meantime, we are committed to representing the voice of advisors, plan sponsors and plan members as developments arise. We will be sharing with you our Open Letter to key members of Parliament in the future.

Is the Canadian workforce expanding? The response is not simple, but let’s take a closer look.

When we talk about workforce expansion, there are multiple factors involved – immigration policies, economic growth, industry demands, and technology trends, to name a few. Understanding if and how the Canadian workforce is expanding can help businesses plan better for their future needs.

After seeing continued labour market imbalances posted by Stats Canada, we thought of employers in key industries facing the reality of worker shortages. Employers everywhere should be aware of how their plans for staff may soon be changing.

This week’s Benefits Alliance Pulse takes a look at how the Canadian workforce and labour market are evolving.


The Expanding Canadian Workforce


We’re seeing a significant shift in Canada’s labour market as the pandemic recedes, with participation rates on an upward trajectory. Stats Can reports a record-breaking number of Canadians are entering the labour force.

This isn’t merely a matter of figures – there’s also an uptick in productivity.

Even with offices less full due to remote work trends, we’re witnessing higher productivity levels across various sectors.


Rising Participation Rates: A Closer Look


Intriguingly, there has been an increase not only in overall labour force involvement but specifically among groups such as older workers and young women. This change is reshaping our understanding of traditional roles within the labour market.


A Growing Labour Force Amidst Recession Recovery


The resilience demonstrated by these growing participation rates during economic recovery is noteworthy.

No longer confined to physical office spaces alone, businesses have adapted their operations for increased flexibility while still achieving high performance levels – a testament to modern technological advancements being adopted along with innovative management strategies.

The differences between virtual and in-person office work may have been a key driver to the higher participation rate, however, it has left industries without a virtual option facing more difficulties beyond pandemic staffing, mainly due to the aging population.

All things considered, this expansion sets us up perfectly to discuss how immigration impacts this evolving landscape.


Immigration and its Impact on Canada’s Labour Market


Canada’s labour market is witnessing a significant shift. The federal government has an ambitious plan in place. Aiming for 60% of newcomers to be economic-class people arriving by 2025, the impact would be profound. Here’s more about this approach from Citizenship Canada.


Federal Government’s Bold Steps To Immigration


Ottawa isn’t holding back when it comes to immigration policy changes. In fact, they’re aiming higher, with plans to welcome nearly 1.45 million new permanent residents over the next three years; that includes half a million people in 2025 alone.

This bold strategy aims to address labour shortages and boost overall economic activity.


Challenges Faced by Newcomers


Newcomers often face challenges like finding affordable housing or navigating through the Canadian job market effectively. But these issues are being addressed more proactively – think skilled construction workers influx and support systems for foreign workers. While large cities are obvious for many newcomers to settle in due to the available services, many smaller cities are where jobs need to be filled and come with the added benefit of a lower cost of living.


Addressing Labour Shortages in High-Demand Industries


The Canadian labour market is facing a crunch. Sectors like manufacturing, health care, and food services are feeling the heat due to an acute shortage of skilled workers. As recently published by Stats Canada, there is some easing with skilled labour shortages, but the issues aren’t over yet.


The Manufacturing Sector’s Unfilled Positions


Over 60,000 positions lie vacant in Canada’s bustling manufacturing sector. This gap isn’t just hurting businesses but also stunting economic activity.

To address this issue, companies have started investing heavily in training programs for local talent while lobbying for more foreign workers with relevant skills.


Healthcare Professionals – A High-Demand Sector


An aging population, coupled with record retirements, has created a higher demand for healthcare professionals across Canada. Statistics Canada suggests that without immediate action we may face serious consequences on our overall health care system.

In response to these challenges, many institutions are offering incentives such as higher pay scales and flexible work hours to attract both young graduates and experienced practitioners into the field.

This trend doesn’t stop at just these sectors though; it extends far beyond them.


How Companies Are Adapting To The Changing Workforce Landscape


As the pandemic recedes, companies are finding innovative ways to navigate this new landscape.


The Role of Older Workers & Young Women In The Workforce


There’s been a substantial transformation in the composition of the workforce lately. Statistics Canada shows that participation rates among older workers have surged.

This isn’t unexpected, given the copious amounts of know-how and experience they possess.

We’re also seeing young women making waves in sectors traditionally dominated by men – technology, engineering and more. Canada offers support for these trailblazers, encouraging them to break barriers and contribute to higher productivity levels across their industries.


New Global Players Entering Canada’s Labour Market Scene


A favourable immigration policy has made Canada an attractive destination for global businesses looking at expansion.

Tech giants like Google, who recently announced plans to open three new Canadian offices, serve as a testament to how our labour force diversity makes us appealing on the international stage. Amazon has grown both with office expansion in Canada as well as distribution centres.


Future Projections For The Canadian Workforce


As we anticipate the future, Canada’s labour market is poised for a significant shift. Even with a population growth of more than one million, the largest growth since 1957, there is still plenty of room for growth. Canada’s ambitious immigration plan aims to boost economic activity by welcoming more high-skilled workers and low-skilled workers alike.


A Growing Labour Force Amidst Challenges


This growth in the labour force presents certain difficulties. An aging population leads to higher demand for healthcare services. As older workers retire, businesses must find ways to replace their experience and knowledge.


Newcomers: A Vital Part of Future Growth


Foreign-born talent is expected to be a major contributor to the growth of the economy. Studies suggest a diverse mix of foreign-born talent can drive innovation leading to higher productivity. For reference, 96% of the population growth last year was through immigration.


Potential Hurdles on The Horizon


Of course, there are potential hurdles ahead, such as housing affordability, which could affect participation rates among newcomers. Suggested strategies such as increasing affordable housing options or offering financial incentives might help address these issues but can take longer than the process of immigration.