Canada’s job vacancies rate reaches new heights

Nearly 400,000 jobs remained unfilled in Q2 2018

Toronto, August 9, 2018 – The rate of job vacancies rose again in the year’s second quarter to 3.1 per cent, the highest vacancy rate ever observed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Help Wanted report since the series’ inception in 2004. An estimated 397,400 jobs have sat vacant for at least four months.

“Although the national vacancy rate continues to climb, most of the increase is being driven by Quebec. Rates in BC and Ontario remain high, but have eased off a little from the previous quarter,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist. “The difficulty businesses in those provinces face in meeting their staffing needs is really the headwind of a strong and growing economy.”

Results by province
Quebec’s already high vacancy rate experienced the greatest increase this month to 3.9 per cent, close to the 4 per cent Alberta saw during the height of the oil and gas boom. British Columbia and Ontario experienced vacancy drops, but maintained their high rates at 3.4 and 3 per cent respectively. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador and Saskatchewan’s labour markets continued to trail the rest of the country, with drops in all three provinces. 

Provinces Vacancy rate Change Unfilled jobs
Quebec 3.9% +0.2% 109,600
British Columbia 3.4% -0.2% 62,200
Ontario 3.0% -0.1% 154,600
New Brunswick 2.7%   6,200
Manitoba 2.6% +0.1% 11,200
Nova Scotia 2.5% +0.1% 7,500
Alberta 2.4%   37,500
Saskatchewan 1.7% -0.2% 5,800
Newfoundland & Labrador 1.5% -0.1% 2,300
Prince Edward Island 1.2% -0.1% 500

Job vacancies by industry
The personal services sector experienced the highest vacancy rate at 4.8 per cent, followed by construction at 3.8 per cent and transportation at 3.4 per cent. Vacancy rates advanced in transportation, wholesale and professional services, while those in hospitality and enterprise services fell. The vacancy rates in other industries held steady this quarter over last.

Labour shortages continued to put pressure on wages this quarter, with companies with at least one unfilled position expecting to offer average organization-wide wage increases 0.8 per cent higher than those with no vacancies.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at