High job vacancies in Canada's healthcare and food services

A newly released Canadian job vacancy report stated that job vacancy rates in the healthcare, accommodation, and foodservice sectors are high.

In the midst of more public health measures in May, Canada's accommodation and food services sector had the highest rate of employers seeking workers, and the health sector with the highest number of open jobs.

Canadian employers were in the process of recruiting for an estimated 671,100 jobs in May. For the seventh month in a row, the health sector had the highest number of job openings in Canada. There were approximately 107,300 vacancies in the healthcare sector in May, accounting for almost one-sixth of all vacancies. The number of vacancies in foodservice and accommodation ranks second with approximately 78,000, followed by retail with 73,800 vacancies.

The number of open jobs is an estimate of the number of vacancies. A small difference from the vacancy rate, which refers to the number of vacancies as a proportion of all jobs.

According to the Salary, Employment and Vacancy Report of Statistics Canada, Quebec had the highest vacancy rate of all provinces in May, at 5.1%. BC is closely followed with 5%, followed by New Brunswick with 4.9%. Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.8 percent.

The food services & accommodation sector had a vacancy rate of 7.8 percent. This high rate may reflect seasonal hiring, as well as recruitment challenges.

While restaurants were closed, and employees were forced to accept social assistance, recruiters noted that they had a difficult time calling back their staff. CBS reports that people are re-evaluating their careers and lifestyles, and worried about their health during the pandemic. The lack of international graduates who often work in this sector has also played a role in employment rates.

Restrictions became less stringent in June. The Labor Force Survey suggests employment between accommodation and food services grew by nearly 12 percent between May and June. "Employment" here refers to the number of people at work. Employment rates for June are currently not available.

Immigrants needed to support a worsening labor shortage

A recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada indicated that as retirement and unemployment levels increase, Canada will need to rely more on immigrants.

Economist Andrew Agopsovic wrote that during the pandemic, the number of people who retire and leave due to dissatisfaction has fallen sharply. Now that the economy is starting to recover, job leavers are returning to pre-pandemic levels. Retirements delayed by the pandemic could also rise in the second half of 2021. These factors could exacerbate labor shortages throughout the summer and fall.

"Canada will need to rely more and more on immigration and other sources of labor growth," the RBC said.

Despite record-breaking immigration targets, Canada has been accepting new entrants at a slower rate in the first months of the year. Though, the reception rose in June when Canada welcomed about 35,000 new permanent residents. Although the data for July has not yet been released, opening the Canadian border to approved permanent residents may help increase these numbers.

Although the federal government's immigration target is 401,000 this year, they will need to admit about 43,000 new immigrants a month from July onwards to achieve this goal.

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