Report Functions

TLMR-202122-Asset 1

Provide Knowledge Base

  • Provide strong knowledge base for integrated planning and collaboration on local labour market solutions.
  • Lay the foundation for a community-driven, consensus-based future action plan developed by diverse stakeholders (e.g., employers, service providers, levels of government).

Communication and Outreach

  • Communicate existing programs and services and current LMI to job seekers, employers, educators and other stakeholders to inform their decision-making.

Conduct Stop-Gap Analysis & Provide Feedback

  • Identify and explore research, data and service gaps

TWIG Overview

Produce timely, usable, accurate, and accessible labour market information (LMI).

Design tools and approaches towards facilitating career, education and workplace decision-making for Toronto industry, workers, and jobseekers.

Support programs and policymakers to determine what works for whom in workforce development – whether it is youth struggling to enter the workforce, mid-career workers who have lost their jobs because of closings or layoffs, and older workers who must adapt to changing employment circumstances.

Conduct rigorous but inexpensive evaluations of workforce development initiatives. Our evaluations are collaborative and understand that the best evaluation
approaches do not make judgements, but are instead geared toward program improvement.

How Work is Done: Remote, Hybrid or Back to Office Negotiations

Employee expectations of work-life balance, work place cohesion, flexible work schedules & effects of social isolation

Labour Shortages exacerbated by pandemic

*almost 50% of respondents to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Barometer survey indicated a shortage of skilled labour is a primary limitation on sales or production growth

Changing Make-Up of In-demand Skills

Increase in demand for:

  • digital skills
  • soft skills, critically important for employability/job transferability

Demographic Changes

  • aging population
  • slower growth of working-age population
  • proportion of 65+ population increasing @ accelerated pace over next decade
  • # of people aged 55-64 vs youth aged 15-24 is increasing disproportionately impacting worker availability, skills/experience of those active in labour market
  • Past year, 118 people potentially leaving Ontario labour market for every 100 potential entrants

Immigration Changes

  • Toronto is increasingly reliant on immigration for labour force growth, while pandemic has negatively affected immigration rates
  • Immigrants account for 50% of GTA labour force
  • Federal Government restrictions on international travel profoundly affected GTA’s growth, chart below.
Chart 1

Pandemic-driven Relocations

  • More people relocated to smaller towns from big cities citing remote work, driven partly by cheaper housing prices
  • Statistics Canada: record number of people moved away from GTA between July of 2020 and 2021, with 64, 121 former residents locating elsewhere in ON in that period alone
  • StatsCan: “largest net loss to migratory exchanges with other regions” of ON since 2001/2
  • Of 64,000 people who left GTA, ~63% were in City of Toronto
  • Factoring in immigration, City of Toronto still had overall population decline of 16,563 between July 1, 2020 & July 1, 2021
  • ^ is a decrease of 0.6% and first annual net loss for Toronto since 2003/2004
  • Population growth stopped, slowed or stalled in many urban regions for 2nd consecutive year over time surveyed

In short, even though population declines were modest, the migration of working-age residents is likely to amplify labour shortages over the short term.

Methodology: Data Collected from following sources

Data Collection Source

Taken together, these data sources with analyses can help to inform program and policy directions for the coming year.

About Toronto

About Toronto
  • Full-time employment recovered since bottoming out June 2020
  • At the time of writing this document, full-time employment now stands at a record high
  • # of full-time jobs is up from the beginning of the year in following sectors:
    • Natural Resources
    • Utilities
    • Construction
    • Trade Services
    • Transportation & Warehousing
    • Financial Sector
    • Professional & Scientific Services
    • Business & Building Services
    • Information & Cultural Services
    • Accommodation
    • Food Services

Full-time jobs losses were in following sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Public Administration

The Year Ahead: Promising News

  • Conference Board of Canada predicts that after rebounding 4.71% in 2021, Toronto economy will expand by 4.1% this year
  • In 2023, growth in Real GDP will moderate to 1.6%
  • Toronto surpassed pre-pandemic (2019) level of Real GDP in final Quarter of 2021
  • Quicker recovery than in Ontario as a whole, thanks to local economy’s high concentration in skilled services compared with other areas of the province
  • Housing markets in Toronto will continue to stay in headlines
  • Higher Interest Rates and a Reduction in built-up savings among consumers are trending but will be offset by a recovery in migration
  • City’s world-class financial sector will continue to be the engine that drives its economy
  • Elevated debt levels & general hesitancy among businesses to invest in Canada = slower growth in the industry compared to the past decade


Employment in Toronto

  • February 2022: Toronto’s unemployment rate fell 1.8% points to 5.5% (lowest since February 2020)
  • Achieve significant milestone by increasing by 116,000 jobs (+3.3%) bringing overall # of jobs to above pre-pandemic level
  • Employment Rate as of Dec 2021, rate in Toronto was 60.9%
    • Achieve significant milestone by increasing by 116,000 jobs (+3.3%) bringing overall # of jobs to above pre-pandemic level
Employment Rate in Toronto

“From an overall labour markets perspective, it’s more than healed from the losses that have occurred during the pandemic.”

-RBC Economics, Feb 2022

“With low unemployment and record-high job vacancies, the labour market may have reached capacity of full employment.”

-Royce Mendes, Head of Macro Strategy at Desjardins

Statistics Canada

  • Pool of available workers may be shrinking
  • Participation rate for 55+ is now below prepandemic levels, suggesting pandemic may have accelerated retirement plans for some older workers
  • # Employed youth is back to pre-pandemic levels, where they work has shifted away from accommodation and food services to:
    • professional, technical services, healthcare
  • Affordability concerns & worker’s desire for more flexible work could influence companies’ ability to attract/retain employees through return-t0-office plans

Heart of Pandemic

  • Participation rate experienced steep decline during first four months
  • Between May 2020-September 2021, participation rate fluctuates, sometimes with sharp increase then at other times, slowing down
  • Eventually, rate surpassed pre-pandemic level and in December 2021, participation rate stood at 66.1%
Participation Rate in Toronto

Positive Sign related to Toronto Labour Market: Average # of hours worked

  • Hours worked increased beginning the pandemic peaking at an average of 37.34 in May 2020
  • # Hours worked reached its lowest point October 2021 at an average of 33.25 hours worked
  • Ending 2021, the average hours worked had a positive increase to 36.5 hours per week
Average Actual Hours at Main Job in Toronto



  • Some data is counter-intuitive
  • There has been a significant amount written about the “gig” economy and subsequent changing relationship between employers & workers
  • There is evidence of these changes however they are not necessarily reflected in Toronto’s LFS data
  • RE: Chart 5 BELOW: % of Toronto residents reporting self-employment has DECREASED from pre-pandemic levels
Percentage of Residents in Toronto Who Are Self-Employed

Other proxy measures for Toronto’s economy and labour force include the number of new business licenses and renewals.

Retrieved from

During The Pandemic

  • # of new businesses in Toronto declined sharply
  • Decline partly due to closing of City offices during the height of the pandemic
  • Pandemic caused uncertainty concerning economic conditions caused by social distancing
  • Both new licenses and renewals remain 10% below pre-pandemic levels.
City of Toronto Number of New Business Licenses Issued
Number of Business Licenses Renewed

TTC Ridership Levels

  • TTC ridership remains well below traditional levels
  • At onset of the pandemic, ridership declined sharply
    • the number of weekday workers
    • visitors
  • Since the spread of Omicron & subsequent public health restrictions, ridership volumes remain lower than in November 2021
  • According to the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the Financial District (heart of downtown Toronto) has seen the sharpest decline in visitor and worker volumes
TTC Average Weekday Ridership


According to Moneris, relative to 2019 figures, in-store spending in Toronto has declined by at least 50% across all Business Districts

  • As province began reopening the economy in June, spending rebounded across all districts but started to stagnate
  • Since the start of the Omicron wave, in-person spending decline in all Business Districts
  • In the downtown core, spending remains 44% below the 2019 levels

Remote Work

  • It remains unclear whether the trend of remote work will remain post-pandemic
  • HRPA: remote work exploded in the first year of the pandemic
  • 90% of employers surveyed offer the option to work remote to staff in 2020
  • In 2021, only 50% of employers surveyed said their workplace offered a remote work option
  • Hybrid was the most popular flex work option, offered by 2/3 of organizations
  • HRPA, “Hybrid work will likely continue to be a trend as employers learn to adapt to changing employee expectations around flexibility
  • HRPA believes may of the flexible options offered by employers during pandemic are here to stay


  • 2021 HRPA survey: respondents expect flexible work arrangements to continue post-pandemic
  • Hybrid Working 89%Remote
  • Working 81%
  • Job Sharing 93%
  • Flexible Start/End Times 92%
  • Compressed Workweek 95%


Retrieved from Toronto Region Board of Trade, 2022 Ready For You – COVID-19 Support and Resources for Businesses (
HRPA 2021 Trends Survey, January 2022


This year, the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group partners with Burning Glass Labour Insights.

Burning Glass provides:

  • Job market data to enable the identification of opportunities for training programs
  • Closer alignment of education and training initiatives with employer demand
  • Improved site selection and recruiting decisions.
Total Job Postings Time Series Analysis
  • Even during the pandemic, the number of unique online job postings in the City of Toronto continued to increase over time
  • The biggest increases in job posting data by industry were in the financial, health care & technological sectors
  • In all three sectors, the number of job postings more than doubled over the last 9 years
  • Indicated in the above chart, Toronto’s finance sector (the second largest financial sector in North America) continued to hire employees during the pandemic
  • Financial sector has not had any major job losses or layoffs during this pandemic
  • Technology services, health care and the hospitality sector also had substantial job postings during 2022

Job Postings by Industry Type

Job Postings by Industry Type

Job Postings by Industry Type

Detailed NOC Occupations

Detailed NOC Occupations

In 2021, there was a clear need for:

  • health care workers
  • software developers
  • other “professional” occupations
  • engineers
  • customer service representatives

As the employment landscape continues to evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Burning Glass data (2021) almost half of all job postings included a hybrid work from home option.

Advertised Educational Qualifications

Ongoing Trends Towards employers looking for workers with post-secondary education. Despite concerns by some about too many youths going to University for Bachelor’s degrees and not enough youth entering the trades, job posting data indicates that University educated workers are in high demand for Toronto area employers.

Experience by Education

Indicated in Chart 12, employers are looking for university or college-educated employees with experience (normally 3 to 5 years).

This is juxtaposed with those employers looking for workers with only a high school diploma, where 70% of all advertised jobs did not indicate that any previous work experience was needed.

In keeping with both Stats Canada business data – Burning Glass job postings reflect Toronto’s place as the financial capital of Canada, and as a technology hub.

Furthermore, STEM occupations have demonstrated significant growth over the past several years.

Programs of Study in Greatest Demand

During the pandemic – and not unexpectedly, a driver’s license was the most requested credential.

Credentials related to accounting, finance, and manufacturing (e.g. forklift operator) were also in high demand over the past year.

Programs of Study in Greatest Demand
  • Finally, job posting data highlights the ongoing growth and employment demands of Canada’s financial institutions.
  • Four of the top five employers in terms of employee recruitment are banks.
  • The list also indicates that there is significant demand among health and educational organizations.
Employers with the Most Job Openings

Hybrid Education and Training

  • With the global pandemic, the education system globally experienced a significant shift switching from in-person learning to distance learning
  • The predominant mode of distance learning is online
  • Distance learning can also be offline, fully remote without using the Internet
    • ie. course delivery in print format via mail
  • In-person learning takes place entirely within a physical classroom with peers and instructor present
  • Dividing line between distance and in-person learning is hybrid learning
  • Hybrid learning: experience designed to combine both online and in-person instruction
  • Theoretical component of learning material is delivered online whereas labs are delivered in classrooms

Mix of online and in-person interaction, involving use of technologies to facilitate:

  • multi-modality
  • flexibility
  • student choice

Term hybrid: umbrella term capturing all different types of hybrid learning like:

  • flipped learning
  • hyflex learning
  • online learning with in-person intensive component

HyFlex: (Hybrid + Flexible) prioritizes freedom and flexibility

  • Day-to-day basis, learners choose how they engage in learning ie in-person or virtual
  • Strong indication hybrid learning will play a critical role, especially in postsecondary education
  • February 1, 2022, province launched a preview site for online courses to help students explore and choose courses for fall 2022

The Ministry of Education also released Policy/ Program Memorandum 167 (PPM) mandating that students earn a minimum of two online learning credits to receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The province has announced its plans to introduce legislation this spring to make remote learning a permanent part of Ontario’s education system.


Automation and Robotics

  • Automation and robotics dominated workforce development discussions and research
  • Covid-19 may hasten this shift
  • Consensus: workers performing manual routine tasks like production and those doing cognitive routine work ie. sales/ clerical support are being affected
  • Statistic Canada report looked at the evolving nature of the workplace from 1987 to 2018
  • Notes, “While gradual changes in the nature of work were observed over the 31 years studied, events such as the Covid-19 pandemic may prompt employers to adopt automation technology more quickly,” the Stats Canada study notes [ii].
  • The share of workers employed in production, craft, repair and operative occupations, which are classified as routine and manual asks dropped from 29.7% in 1987 to 22.2% in 2018
  • Meanwhile, the share of workers employed in sales, clerical and administrative support occupations, which are classified as routine and cognitive tasks, also decreased over the same 31-year period from 27.3% in 1987 to 24.9% in 2018
  • The authors note that the pandemic, “may prompt employers to adopt automation technology more quickly to limit the risks associated with workers’ vulnerability to the virus.”

A Crisis for Medical Technicians in Toronto

  • While the shortage of personal support workers has been well-publicized, solutions examined and taken – less is known about the state of/need for medical technicians.
  • According to the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO), 70% of labs and other technical health services are short-staffed.
  • However, it is not clear what the extent of the problem in Toronto and/or whether the shortage is only short-term due to COVID
  •  However, large employers TWIG has talked to (e.g. Lifelabs) have indicated serious concern about the supply of medical technologists.

The Great Resignation: Is it Occurring in Toronto and How Serious is it?

There is now a growing body of evidence and think pieces written in the past few months about what exactly is driving the so-called Great Resignation.

  • While the data in the United States is quite compelling -the data is less clear in Canada.
  • Are people leaving the workforce to start their own businesses?
  • Is it low-wage workers using a tiny bit of new leverage to demand better work?
  • Or is it more about professionals who can afford to be choosy searching for jobs that better align with their values and aspirations?

A recent paper by MIT Sloan mined various sets of data from Burning Glass and other sources to determine “why” so many individuals have left the workforce during the pandemic with associated advice to both employers and workforce
development agencies with how to re-engage with those who left the workforce and how to encourage them back.

[1]Retrieved from
Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, February 2022

[1] Retrieved from Toronto Region Board of Trade, 2022 Ready For You – COVID-19 Support and Resources for Businesses ([1] HRPA 2021 Trends Survey, January 2022.


[1] Statistics Canada. Kristyn Frank, Zhe Yang, and Marc Frenette. Economic and Social Reports 2022.

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