According to the Bank of Canada’s Summer 2014 Business Outlook Survey, 22 per cent of businesses claim their company is facing a shortage in workers. But other reports have called Canada’s labour shortage a myth.
Business Outlook Survey
Labour, skills shortage in Canada? Budget watchdog says no
Parliamentary Budget Office’s Mostafa Askari says warnings from Prime Minister Stephen Harper not supported by PBO’s statistics
Either way, some businesses have taken to tackling this issue by encouraging workers to work past retirement and have asked others to work more overtime rather than find replacements, according to the Fraser Institute’s report:
Fraser Institute: Do Labour Shortages Exist in Canada?
Reconciling the Views of Employers and Economists
Biggest Salary Increases In 2015:
Alberta (3.1%) and Saskatchewan (2.9%) will lead the country with projected overall base salary increases higher than the national average
Provinces where employees work the most hours:
Average actual hours worked per week: 31.9
Quebecers worked an average of 0.2 hours less than the year before, topping off their fifth year of being at the bottom of this hardest-working list. Unfortunately, over the past three decades, the province has seen its economic performance decline as a result of lagging labour productivity, according to the HEC Montréal Centre for Productivity and Prosperity
9. British Columbia
Average actual hours worked per week: 32.6
British Columbia workers were on the job 0.1 hours less than the year before, topping off their fifth consecutive year of working less than the Canadian average. Finding a job in the province has also become more difficult — July’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent from 6.2 per cent in June, according to Statistics Canada.
British Columbia’s government has remained focused on improving the province’s productivity, which has consistently lagged the national average by about 10 per cent, according to the Business Council of British Columbia. The province has promising assets, including needed resources such as lumber and shale gas, but its major economic driver, lumber, was hampered by the slow housing market in the U.S. The government has focused its efforts on B.C.’s natural gas industry with hopes of shipping it to Asian markets.
8. Nova Scotia
Average actual hours worked per week: 32.8
For the first time in five years, Nova Scotian workers were on the job less than an average of 33 hours. The previous year, employees worked 33.3 hours — the least amount of hours among Maritime provinces. Work has become harder to find in Nova Scotia — the province’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.4 per cent in July from 8.7 per cent the month before.
Nova Scotia’s economy has performed the worst across the country for the last 20 years, according to TheGlobe and Mail. A recent report by Acadia University also found that the province’s population will continue to decline over the next 20 years with young people moving away to pursue work elsewhere. But the tide could be turning. The province’s economy is expected to grow by 2.3 per cent this year thanks to natural gas production in its Deep Panuke offshore field and upgrades to the Halifax shipyard in preparation for the navy ship building contract that begins in 2015, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
6. Ontario (tied)
Ontario’s workers worked fewer hours in 2013 compared to the year before (when they worked 33.7 hours). Over the past five years, Ontario’s employees have worked slightly more hours than the national average and fewer workers are being paid to put in overtime hours. Ontario’s unemployment rate held steady in July at 7.5 per cent.
Ontario’s economy, which has lost manufacturing jobs over the years, is dragging down Canada’s economic potential, according to Finance Minister Joe Oliver. However, Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged to eliminate the province’s $12.5 billion deficit within three years. In the province’s latest predictions, Ontario’s economy will continue to see slow growth due to the aging population.
6. Manitoba (tied)
Average actual hours worked per week: 33.5
Manitoba’s workers tie Ontario for the number of hours worked. There was a 0.4 hours drop from the number of hours worked in the previous year, but Manitobans are on the job slightly longer than the national average of 33.4. In July, Manitoba boasted an unemployment rate of just 5.3 per cent.
Manitoba boasts a diverse economy, which served it well during the recession, and it’s looking to diversify further by developing a potash mine in the western part of the province, according to CBC News. Currently, the manufacturing sector accounts for the largest industry in the province (contributing 12 per cent of the province’s GDP) with plants for home construction, such as doors, windows and furniture found across the province.
Manitoba Business Facts
5. New Brunswick
Average actual hours worked per week: 34.1
In 2013, New Brunswick workers put in 0.5 less hours than the year. Unemployment is high in New Brunswick with the rate reaching 10 per cent in July, up from 9.6 per cent in June.
The province’s economy has been struggling for years and its labour productivity needs be improved, according to the Conference Board of Canada. But there is hope: New Brunswick’s shale gas reserves offer the potential to turn the province’s fortunes around, says federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver.
4. Prince Edward Island
Average actual hours worked per week: 33.9
Long hours are normal for workers in P.E.I., but the situation has improved slightly — average hours worked was 34.1 in 2012. While unemployment remains high at 9.4 per cent, the province saw a slight 0.4 percentage point drop in July from June.
P.E.I. relies heavily on natural resource industries, such as agriculture and fishing. This year, growth is expected to be slow at 1.4 per cent due to a contraction in the construction industry, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Also, the potato industry recently took a hit with the closing of the McCain French Fry plant, which led to the loss of 121 jobs. But within the last decade, many investors from China moved to P.E.I. to start their own businesses.
3. Newfoundland and Labrador
Average actual hours worked per week: 34.7
Newfoundlanders have consistently worked longer hours over the last five years. In 2012, hours worked reached an average of 35.3 before dipping in 2012. While the Maritime province is one of the hardest working provinces in the nation, July unemployment remained high at a rate of 12.4 per cent. However, wages have steadily risen to counter a change in labour demand, according to a recent report by the Fraser Institute.
For years, Newfoundland was known as one of Canada’s poorest provinces, but its economy has reversed fortunes thanks to oil production. Revenues from the industry have contributed to the fastest GDP growth rate in Canada (7.9 per cent), outpacing even China’s economic growth. Along with a booming economy, Newfoundland has faced a labour shortage, leading to a reliance on temporary foreign workers.
Average actual hours worked per week: 35.5
In 2013, Saskatchewan workers put in long hours, though their work time did not increase from the year before. In July, the province claimed the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.2 per cent, a slight decline from 3.9 per cent in June. There’s been a dramatic 60 per cent increase over the last decade in the number of workers who’ve worked paid overtime, outpacing the average Canadian paid overtime increase of 3.3 per cent.
Saskatchewan harnesses the its natural resources to drive its economy with goods such as grains, potash and uranium. Since 2010, the economy has outpaced all other provinces, but that’s expected to change, predicts the Conference Board of Canada. Uranium mining, construction and manufacturing are all expected to pick up and it’s also expected that the province will add more jobs.
Average actual hours worked per week: 35.8
Workers in Alberta’s major cities earn the highest incomes in the country and they also work the hardest too. There was a slight 0.2 hour drop in the average hours worked in 2013 compared to 2012, but the hours employees worked rose from 34.3 in 2009. Paid overtime rose by 57 per cent in the last decade with many workers older than 55 working 50 hour work weeks or more. Alberta boasted a low unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent in July.
According to a report by the Conference Board of Canada, Alberta has the strongest economy in Canada thanks to the oil industry. The provincial government is expecting the upcoming 2014-2015 budget to see a surplus position of $1.1 billion. It’s also predicted that within the next three years, Alberta will have the second-largest provincial economy.