Canada’s unemployment rate is at the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic, following the third consecutive month of job gains in the country.

Although the country is struggling with a fourth wave of COVID-19, the economy is continuing its rebound, bolstered by provinces implementing re-opening plans and the Canadian border opening to fully vaccinated international travellers. A Canadian election on September 20 will give Canadians the chance to decide which political party they want in charge of the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Canada’s job market: Updates from August

Employment in Canada rose by 90,000 (+0.5%) in August, adding to an increase of 94,000 (+0.5%) in July. This coincided with many provinces implementing the final or near-final stages of their public health reopening plans. Many indoor locations, like restaurants, entertainment venues, and recreational facilities, were permitted to open, usually with some special measures in place.

Private sector hiring in Canada is continuing to ramp up, with 77,000 new private sector jobs in July.

The majority of Canada’s job gains were full-time positions (+69,000). Employment gains were heavily concentrated in the services-producing sector (+93,000), led by job gains in accommodation & food services (+75,000), and information, culture, and recreation (+24,000). Notably, the construction sector saw job gains (+20,000) for the first time since March, 2021.

Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia, with all other provinces remaining relatively stable. 

Comparing the current Canadian jobs market to the pre-pandemic economy

In August, the unemployment rate in Canada fell 0.4 percentage points to 7.1%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the pandemic in Canada in March 2020. Employment is only 156,000 jobs (-0.8%) away from the unemployment rate in February, 2020, showing signs of a slow but steady economic recovery in Canada. Among youth aged 15 to 24, employment has returned to its pre-pandemic level.

As many COVID-19 restrictions relax across Canada, more Canadians are returning to the office and the share of Canadians working from home continues to fall. In August, the proportion of workers working from home fell 1.8 percentage points to 24.0% — the lowest since the onset of the pandemic. Just under half of those working from home reported that their usual work location is outside their home, down from two-thirds during initial pandemic lockdowns of April 2020.

While a return to pre-pandemic employment levels is looking possible in Canada, it’s clear that certain aspects of the Canadian workforce — like the number of workers working from home — will have longer lasting changes.

New resources to help immigrants get jobs in Canada

Canada’s job market provides a wealth of opportunity for newcomers, but it is only that — an opportunity.

To take full advantage, recent and prospective immigrants can leverage free government-funded resources and programs. We recently partnered with Canada InfoNet, a government-funded pre-arrival employment support program, to bring you two expert guides on transitioning to a career in Canada:

Canada is open to the fully vaccinated

On September 7, Canada officially opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from around the world. This is the first time in 18 months that many of these travellers have been eligible to enter Canada. Notably, certain special travel measures are still in place, including pre-arrival testing for all travellers (even those who are fully vaccinated). 

Who is considered vaccinated?

Under current definitions (and these could change in the future), in order to be considered a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received the full series of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines. You must have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to travelling. Canada currently accepts four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Johnson & Johnson. If you have been vaccinated using a different vaccine, Canada does not consider you fully vaccinated at this time.

And, what about the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated?

At this time, Canada is only allowing unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travellers to enter the country if they meet one of the exemptions to the strict Canadian travel restrictions (for example: work permit holders, international students, and certain relatives of Canadians). Additionally, all unvaccinated/partially people entering Canada have to follow strict special measures, including pre-arrival and post-arrival COVID-19 testing and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The outlook on Canadian construction and infrastructure

Canada’s new budget, released mid-April, commits more than $101b to kickstart the post-pandemic economy, with $26bn dedicated to infrastructure items. Manitoba and Saskatchewan also recently solidified their commitment to infrastructure spending, and Ontario announced more than $60bn of procurement projects.

“Governments at the federal and provincial levels are doubling-down on infrastructure spending as a new era of big government comes into view, at least as far as construction is concerned.

“This presents big opportunities for immigrants to Canada as employers look far and wide for talent and experience.“

Canada's job market: Ruairi Spillane, founder of Outpost Recruitment

Moving2Canada and Outpost Recruitment Founder, Ruairi Spillane

Throughout the pandemic, Outpost has remained nimble and candidate-focused, able to find suitable roles for motivated candidates. The agency works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring across senior management, operations, project management, site, design, quality, and commercial personnel.

Outpost Recruitment is actively looking for candidates for projects across Canada. View the latest job postings here.

How to take advantage in Canada’s job market

The Moving2Canada team has added a new feature for people who want to get a job in Canada or accelerate their career here. Readers can now opt in to hear from recruiters and employers we partner with and upload a resume to their account, all for free.

We’re excited to help more newcomers and people wishing to move to Canada in their career goals.

How to get a job in Canada

We at Moving2Canada have been flooded with inquiries from people who recently moved to Canada, or who have been laid off, or whose plans to move to Canada in the near future have been affected by the pandemic.

Despite the public health crisis and economic downturn, and the anxiety and confusion that may result, now is a good time to make sure you are well positioned to take advantage when Canada’s economy recovers.

Here’s a popular webinar from recruitment expert and Moving2Canada founder, Ruairi Spillane, about how to create the best resume for the Canadian jobs market:

New and improved Jobs Board

We have worked hard over recent weeks to ramp up the number and range of job postings on our Jobs Board.

Don’t forget to complete or update your Moving2Canada profile to hear about job opportunities in your industry in Canada!

Want to dig deeper into the Canada Jobs Report data? Try these interactive tools, courtesy of StatsCan.