Canada’s labour force is increasingly reliant on well-educated immigrants who are enjoying employment rates that are broadly in line with the national average.

The latest findings of the 2016 census provide an in-depth look at the national labour market, offering valuable data for government decision makers as well as Canadians looking to match their skills with jobs that are in demand.

It also shows that Canada has the highest proportion of college graduates among developed nations, partly because recent immigrants are especially well-educated. The percentage of all immigrants with a master’s or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population.

The detailed look at Canada’s workforce comes as the federal government continues to increase annual immigration levels. Ottawa and the provinces have also adopted polices in recent years aimed at boosting education levels and improving workforce participation among under-represented groups and the census information suggests progress is being made toward many of those goals.

But the numbers also point to reasons for concern. Employment rates for youth and Indigenous Canadians have declined. Meanwhile, the most common occupations in Canada – jobs like retail salesperson and truck driver – are among those most likely to be put at risk due to automation.


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