The Secret to Canada's Low Unemployment Rate

February 20, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Canada stands out on the world stage for more than just its breathtaking landscapes and friendly people; it also boasts a remarkably low unemployment rate that serves as a model for economic success.

Canada has maintained its low unemployment rate through strategic policies and innovative initiatives. Behind this achievement lie several key factors contributing to Canada's robust labor market, offering valuable insights for policymakers and economists worldwide.

Discover the driving factors behind Canada's impressive success in maintaining a low unemployment rate with the following guide!

What is Canada's Current Unemployment Rate?

Canada's current unemployment rate is 5.7%, according to the latest release of the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada on January 9, 2024. This figure represents the percentage of the labor force actively seeking work but unable to find employment.

This is the national average, and unemployment rates can vary significantly across different regions, industries, and demographics.

What Are the Provincial/Territorial Unemployment Rates in Canada

The table below presents Canada's provincial and territorial unemployment rates. Figures obtained from Statistics Canada.

Provinces/Territories in Canada Unemployment Rate (%)
Northwest Territories 4.5
Manitoba 4.9
Saskatchewan 5.1
Quebec 5.2
British Columbia 5.3
Alberta 5.9
Ontario 6.1
New Brunswick 6.4
Nova Scotia 6.8
Prince Edward Island 8.1
Newfoundland and Labrador 10.0
Nunavut 11.3

Secrets to Canada's Low Unemployment Rate

Here are some more prominent reasons behind Canada’s low unemployment rate.

Canada’s Strong Economic Resilience

Canada’s strong economic resilience stems from many factors. It is fueled by high commodity prices in its natural gas and gold exports, Canada’s economy was able to bounce back quickly from the recent pandemic, according to Natural Resources Canada. and government support laid the groundwork for job creation.

Flexible labor markets allow businesses to adapt to changing needs. An aging population creates temporary opportunities as boomers retire. Canada's strong economic resilience is supported by its well-developed social safety nets provided via Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which assist those in need during economic hardship, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Canada's strong economic resilience is bolstered by its emphasis on research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, fostering a dynamic and forward-thinking economy. This proactive approach enables the country to seize opportunities for growth and diversification while mitigating risks associated with economic fluctuations.

Immigration to Canada

Canada's immigration policy, characterized by welcoming skilled workers and refugees, plays an important part in maintaining low unemployment. Canada addresses critical labor shortages in key sectors by attracting talent across diverse professions, from healthcare professionals to engineers and tech specialists.

The influx of immigrants in Canada leads to a better economy by injecting much-needed labor into key industries and communities. Canada also has liberal immigration policies allowing foreign workers to contribute their skills to Canada’s economy. In fact, =Canada aims to attract 500,000 new immigrants in 2025 and 2026, according to the IRCC. This deliberate strategy benefits the newcomers, fuels economic growth, and creates job opportunities for existing citizens.

Learn which is the best province to immigrate to in Canada.

Canadian Government Economic Policies

The Canadian government actively steers the economic ship through various policies promoting employment and well-being. Investments in infrastructure projects, from repairing roads and bridges to building sustainable public transportation, directly create jobs and stimulate the economy. Canada supports small businesses through funding programs like

  • CanExport SMEs,
  • Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster (COB) Program,
  • CFIN FoodTech Next Program, and
  • Career-Ready with CTMA: Expanding Opportunities.

Measures like the annual minimum wage increase, which will rise from 16.65 to 17.30 CAD this year on the 1st of April, and paid parental leave (up to 35 weeks), according to the Canadian government, contribute to a more inclusive and equitable labor market, attracting and retaining talent. These progressive policies create a fertile ground for employment opportunities across various sectors.

Labor Market Flexibility in Canada

Compared to its European counterparts, Canada's labor market exhibits greater flexibility regarding wages and working conditions. This allows businesses to adjust to changing market demands more readily, potentially facilitating hiring and reducing unemployment.

For example, work permit programs such as the International Mobility Program, which enables Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill in-demand positions vital to the efficiency and well-functioning of Canada’s economy without the need to acquire a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Find out more about jobs in Canada that don’t need an LMIA.

Canada’s Demographics

Canada's demographic makeup, while presenting challenges in the long term, currently contributes to its low unemployment rate. With baby boomers gradually transitioning into retirement, demand for workers across various sectors increases, creating opportunities for younger generations to enter the workforce.

This phenomenon, often called the "retirement wave," is particularly pronounced in industries like healthcare and construction, leading to a scramble for skilled labor. However, it's crucial to remember that this demographic dividend is temporary, and proactive planning and investments in areas like healthcare and social services are necessary to address the future needs of an aging population.

Canada’s Education and Training

Canada takes pride in its highly educated population, fostered by a robust education system and accessible training programs. This emphasis on skills development ensures a steady pipeline of qualified workers equipped to meet the evolving demands of the labor market.

From high-quality public education to diverse post-secondary institutions and comprehensive vocational training programs, Canada invests heavily in its people's skills. This approach reduces unemployment by preparing individuals for available jobs and enhancing national economic competitiveness. Four of Canada’s universities rank in the top 150 of Times Higher Education’s rankings. They are the:

  • University of Toronto (nr 21),
  • University of British Columbia (nr 41),
  • McGill University (nr 49), and
  • McMasters University (nr 103).

Learn how to apply for a student visa in Canada.

Which Industries Are Driving Job Creation in Canada?

The following describes the most vital industries fueling employment expansion and shedding light on the engines driving Canada's labor market dynamism with National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.

Healthcare & Social Assistance

NOC Code: 42201

This sector consistently tops the charts, fueled by an aging population requiring more care, rising healthcare costs, and investments in new technologies. Jobs range from nurses and doctors to home care aides and therapists.

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

NOC Code: 11201

This rapidly growing sector encompasses IT consulting, engineering, scientific research, and many others. Demand for skilled professionals in these areas is high due to technological advancements and innovation.


NOC Code: 70010

With infrastructure projects, housing needs, and green energy initiatives gaining momentum, the construction industry is experiencing job creation across various roles like carpenters, electricians, and project managers.

Information & Communication Technology (ICT)

NOC Code: 20012

Digitalization and online solutions drive industry demand for ICT professionals in Canada. This includes roles like software developers, data analysts, and cybersecurity specialists.


NOC Code: 43109

As access to education remains crucial, employment in educational institutions like colleges and universities is increasing. Additionally, the growing demand for early childhood education creates opportunities.

Business, Management & Administration

NOC Code: 10021

This broad sector includes a range of occupations crucial to organizations of all sizes. Roles like accountants, human resource specialists, and marketing professionals are in high demand in Canada.

Please Note

Various emerging industries are gaining prominence in Canada’s economy. This includes the green economy initiatives promoting sustainability and renewable energy, creating environmental engineering and clean tech jobs.

Furthermore, e-commerce is responsible for professionals in logistics, supply chain management, and digital marketing job growth. Lastly, the legalization of the Cannabis industry has resulted in job creation in cultivation, processing, and retail jobs.

How Can I Work in Canada?

Whether you can work in Canada depends on several factors, including your nationality, current location, and professional qualifications. However, here's a general overview of the process:

You can work in Canada without restrictions if you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. If you’re a foreign national, you will need a work permit specific to your situation to work in Canada. Various types of work permits are available, so you'll need to determine which one applies to you.

Learn more about how you can work in Canada.


Has Canada Faced Any Challenges With Its Low Unemployment Rate?

While low unemployment is fantastic, Canada faces regional disparities, meaning some areas struggle despite the national average. This is evident in the disparate provincial and territorial unemployment rates listed above. Additionally, some workers might be "underemployed," working below their skill level or fewer hours than desired.

Is Canada's Low Unemployment Rate Sustainable Over Time?

The future is uncertain, but several factors suggest it could be sustainable. Canada's demographics offer a temporary "retirement wave," creating job openings, and immigration adds skilled workers. However, economic shifts and long-term demographic changes must be continuously monitored to secure its longevity.