Canada’s job vacancies reach record high in healthcare and social assistance sectors

Edana Robitaille
Published: November 2, 2022

Statistics Canada has released its report on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for August 2022.

This report measures the number of employees within Canada’s workforce who are currently receiving wages, how much money they make and how many hours they work.

The report also monitors job vacancies, or positions that were previously filled by an employee that are currently empty for any reason.

There were 958,500 vacant payroll employment positions in Canada last August. Overall, the report found little change from the data released in July, but still substantial change from August 2021 when there were 919,200 job vacancies

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Healthcare reaches record high job vacancies

The report shows a record new high in healthcare job vacancies. As of August 2022, there are 152,000 vacant positions within the health care and social assistance sector. This is an increase of 0.4% over the June and July data for a total of 6.4%.

The lack of available staff in hospitals has led to some having to temporarily close their emergency rooms or reduce other services.

Canada relies heavily on immigration to fill the vacancies in the healthcare system. A quarter of registered nurses and 36% of physicians in Canada are not Canadian born. However, foreign trained medical professionals can find it difficult to obtain proper licensing from Canadian authorities, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to find work in their field and reduce the pressure on the healthcare system

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is currently taking measures to make it easy for foreign-trained healthcare workers to immigrate, such as removing some of the barriers for physicians who are already in Canada on a temporary residency visa.

Professional, scientific and technical services increase payroll employment

There was a slight increase in payroll employment within the professional scientific and technical services sector. The total payroll employment in this sector increased by 5,200 in August, or 0.4%. British Columbia and Ontario reported the most significant gains while Alberta and Quebec filled over 500 vacancies each.

Most payroll employment gains were within the computer systems design and related services and management, scientific and technical consulting services industries, with an increase of 1,200 positions. In particular, computer system design is outpacing the overall sector growth rate with increases on 65,900 positions filled since September 2021.

The number of job vacancies decreased to 59,600 in August, which is consistent with the data from the same period last year.

Wages are increasing but do not match the consumer price index

Compared to August 2021, wages showed an overall 3.2% growth rate, slightly higher than the 3% year-over-year growth in July. The rate of growth can reflect a change in wages, the composition of employment and the number of hours worked. In this instance, there was little change in the number of hours worked, over all sectors, in either month-to-month or year-over-year calculations.

During the same period, the consumer price index (CPI) showed a growth rate of 7%, or more than 50% higher than the average rate of wage growth. This means that the price of goods and services is outpacing the average Canadian income.

The sector with the most significant wage gains was the services-producing sector. For example, finance and insurance occupations experienced year-to-year growth of 13.9% and occupations in the management of companies and enterprises experienced a wage hike of 10.5%.

The goods-producing sector and service-products sector also showed high levels of wage growth over 3%. This includes industries such as manufacturing, mining, oil, and gas extraction or, with slower growth, logging, construction, and forestry.

Healthcare wages have grown at a slower place of 0.9% since August 2021.

Wage losses were reported in the educational services, down 2.4% as well as wages for informational and cultural services, down 1.1%.

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