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Report Card: Atlantic Canada’s labour force shrinking, even with higher immigration

Date: January 16, 2019

Atlantic Canada’s labour force shrinking, even with higher immigration

Atlantic Canada’s labour force is shrinking. The region’s labour force has declined by 30,600 between 2012 and 2018, largely due to retiring baby boomers, according to APEC’s latest Report Card.

The region’s unemployment rate has also declined. “Unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been since the late 1960s,” says Patrick Brannon, APEC’s Director of Major Projects. Atlantic Canada’s job vacancy rate has increased over the last two years and more employers indicate they are struggling to fill these vacancies.

Rising immigration is only providing partial relief. Immigrants added about 19,000 to Atlantic Canada’s labour pool over the last six years, but this was not enough to eliminate the drop in the region’s labour force since 2012. Immigrant retention rates are significantly lower in the Atlantic provinces, so improving rates through initiatives such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, remains important.

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