Canada’s job vacancies hit new high in June: Stats Canada

Statistics Canada says the number of job vacancies climbed 3.2 per cent in June, reaching a new high.

The agency says employers are actively seeking to fill 1,037,900 positions, compared with 1,005,700 in May.

Many of the positions are in health care and social assistance sectors, as well as retail, accommodation and food services. 

Gordon Stewart is the executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. He says the industry typically employs around 35,000 people. Right now, he says they’re about 9,000 employees short.

“On a scale of one-to-10, it’s 10. That pretty much describes the worst it’s ever been in our history and anticipating to last at least a good five-years-plus before it begins to resolve itself,” says Stewart.

Stewart says customers are coming back and sales are strong, but staff shortages are preventing business owners from recovering losses caused by the pandemic.

“Restaurants have been forced to close for two, some, three days a week. A lot have cut back their hours, a lot have cut back on lunch hours. They’ve trimmed their menus,” says Stewart.

Patrick Sullivan from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce says the pandemic also closed borders, bringing immigration to a near stand-still. 

 “We need to increase immigration in Nova Scotia and across Canada. We need to gain more workers, we need to bring in more workers from underrepresented groups,” Sullivan says.

Sullivan anticipates the situation will get worse before it gets better.

“Hospitality has had not nearly enough employees over the last six months and they’re still complaining. We are going to have a real problem next week when students go back to school,” says Sullivan.

According to Sullivan, the employment rate is even lower in Halifax, sitting at a historically low 4.9 per cent.

Canada’s federal employment minister says business owners need to get creative in order to fill vacancies.

“I would say to an employer, look beyond your traditional talent pools if you will. Think of someone other than the people you’ve always leaned on to hire,” says Carla Qualtrough.

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