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Labour Market Trends in Canada – Staying Informed During the Pandemic

March 26, 2021

The labour market is always changing, and this past year has been one of the sharpest curves of development.

With the world shifting to remote work, changes in supply chain and automation, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most types of labour to adapt. In fact, some experts say that the pandemic triggered 10 years of changing the way we work in just 6 months.

While the labour market will continue to change, it’s important to keep on top of the current trends.

If you are wondering how to address today’s labour market as a person with disabilities, we’ve broken down the basics here:

What is the labour market and why is understanding it important?

The labour market is the supply and demand for employment. Employees provide the supply and employers provide the demand. It is ever changing, so it is important to do your research and keep up with current trends and information. 

For example, it’s important to research a field before investing time and money on a postsecondary education for a specific occupation.  

Questions to ask about fields and occupations:

  •         Will this occupation be in demand years from now? 
  •         Is the average wage expected to increase or decrease over time? 
  •         What are the working conditions and what are the skills required? 
  •         Does the industry offer meaningful and fair employment for persons with disabilities?

For a person with a disability, researching and understanding the labour market has added importance.       

Under “normal” economic conditions, those identifying as having disabilities typically earn lower wages and experience less stability in the workplace. According to research conducted by Statistics Canada[1], persons with disabilities may be vulnerable during the pandemic.

Stay on top of the labour market trends

If you are satisfied in your current career, and not job hunting, it is still important to understand the Labour market. Industries are constantly developing to keep up with technological, economical, and social trends. It is key to not become complacent and know of potential opportunities for the future. 

The more you know, the more you grow! In order to keep learning regardless of your current career path, try our free online job workshops to help you plan for success.   

How the pandemic has affected the labour market

Work-from-home setup

Keeping up with labour market trends can be challenging during the best of times, but what about during a global pandemic? What do the current restrictions, travel bans, and lockdowns mean for the future of the labour market? These are important questions whether you are employed, in search of employment, or preparing/training for employment. 

Supply and demand

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit millions of Canadian workers hard because of economic shutdown, resulting in job loss or reduced hours.      

However, some industries are experiencing the opposite affects. Sales of items such as toilet paper, sanitizers, laptops, and home exercise equipment have skyrocketed, resulting in a labour shortage for many of these manufacturers.   

Essential service workers, such as grocery associates, nurses, emergency service workers, personal support workers, maintenance workers and cleaners, have become front line heroes during this time. These jobs are in high demand and supply is low; particularly for health care workers. Because of the increase in demand, the Ontario Government recently announced that it would invest $52.5 million[2]  into the recruitment and retention of front-line health care workers. 

Remote work

The pandemic has forced many companies to embrace remote work. If this becomes a permanent change, what does it mean for the future of occupations and industries such as real estate, transportation, and urban economies as a whole? For persons with disabilities, working remotely has its benefits but also has its challenges. When choosing a career, consider if working remotely is for you.     


Automation of jobs has long been a topic of conversation and an unfortunate reality for many workers.  The pandemic is likely to justify replacing many occupations with automation because it reduces physical proximity.

For example, Canada’s first robot barista kiosk was introduced in Toronto in September 2020. Other occupations vulnerable to automation include cashiers, administrative assistants, real estate brokers, and tax preparers. Workers most at risk of job loss because of automation are those over the age of 55[3], and those with lower levels of education.

On a positive note, automation does not necessarily mean job loss but could instead result in job transformation. Robots require innovation, servicing, and regular maintenance. Also, automation may reduce barriers for persons with disabilities, depending on employer efforts to be inclusive and government accessibility regulations. 

Understanding labour market trends and forecasts is key to identifying both the challenges and the opportunities in the workforce.

The future of work in a post pandemic world might not yet be known, but current labour market information is always available. Stay up to date on trends and predictions to create a path to success at any stage of your career.  

Here are some trusted online Labour Market Information resources:


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Kelly Pleadwell

As the first point of contact Kelly Pleadwell is responsible for the gathering of client information related to employment barriers and goals and the determination of program eligibility and suitability. With over 10 years of experience working with persons with disabilities Kelly is passionate about inclusion, accessibility, and diversity in all areas of society. Skills include Career Assessment, Facilitation and Analysis, Processing Information, Professional Communicating and Listening, and Client Service.