Labour market activity

Labour market activity provides information on Canada's workforce including labour force characteristics, whether they are employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force, the industries and occupations in which they work, part-time or full-time status, whether they worked full year or part of the year, whether they were employees, self-employed or unpaid family workers as well as the language used at work. It was noted that the Census Program offers labour market activity information (occupation, industry, geographic level) at a level of granularity not available from any other source.

Examples of reported data usesFootnote1


The Employment Equity Act and regulations, Employment Insurance Act and regulations and the Public Service Employment Act are among the reported uses of this topic by federal government participants.

Examples of provincial and territorial legislation and regulations for which labour data were cited include Yukon's Municipal Act, Saskatchewan's Employment Program Regulations, Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, Ontario's Employment Standards Act, Quebec's Loi sur les normes du travail (L.R.Q., chapitre N-1.1), New Brunswick's Labour Market Research Act and Employment Development Act, and Newfoundland and Labrador's Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Local governments in Ontario use labour market activity data for program, policy and research activities, among other uses, in relation to the Ontario's Places to Grow Act, R.S.O. 2005 and the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005. They are also used by the City of Laval to respond to requirements stipulated by Quebec's Loi pour assurer l'occupation et la vitalité des territoires.

Resource allocation and service delivery

Federally, data on labour market activity support resource allocation and/or service delivery for the Atlantic Opportunities Agency's Business Development Program and Agriculture and Agri-Food's Cooperative Development Initiative. Provincial governments refer to these data for decision-making (including for education and skills training investment). At the local level, they inform service plans related to Ontario Works, regional strategic plans and regional official plans.

Planning, development, monitoring, evaluation and performance reports

Federal departments and agencies use these data for evaluation and/or performance reporting, for example in relation to immigration and integration policies, for monitoring economic and social well-being of Aboriginal peoples operating under self-government, for human resources planning, public health workforce enumeration, and to profile the demographic and regional make up of artist and cultural occupations. Employment and Social Development Canada requires them for the Canadian Occupational Projection System, a demand model, and for the Youth Employment Strategy.

The labour market activity topic includes detailed information on occupation and industry by small area. Among the examples provided by provincial and territorial governments, these results are used to plan labour market programs and policies as well as to support education and training. Other uses cited by provincial and territorial governments include producing occupational trends and projections, important for workforce planning, monitoring labour market outcomes of the general population compared to disadvantaged populations, forecasting immigrant occupational supply, and informing activities related to wage gap action plans and pay equity.

Of the various uses received from municipal and regional governments, these data help to evaluate local labour market supply and determine job market diversity, which could result in the retention of youth. These results are used for transportation planning, modelling and forecasting, and for economic development. They are consulted for planning social services, developing programs targeted at attracting and retaining businesses, for regional reports including the Region of Waterloo's Population and Employment Estimates and Forecasts, urban planning, employment programs and health programming.

Research and other uses

Labour market activity data crossed by other Census Program topics are used to understand the labour force characteristics of workers in the natural resources sectors (mining, forest, energy industries) as part of Natural Resources' Enabling Competitive Resource Sectors policy research priority. These results are important federally for the analysis of gender gaps and labour market conditions of various sub-groups, such as Aboriginal peoples, youth and immigrants.

Examples at the provincial/territorial levels include understanding labour market performance by detailed occupation, industry and geography, identifying trends in the student population, benchmarking and modelling. They are also used for producing regional profiles and for public dissemination, as well as in various internal documents and for sector analyses. Local governments refer to them when creating community profiles.

The data from this Census Program topic, together with education, income, families and households and basic demographic results were used to create a neighbourhood deprivation index.Footnote2 The Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research used the index to determine the socioeconomic status of that province's youth and children and to analyse cross-ministry service use.

Other examples provided by non-government organizations include planning child care and community services, setting strategic priorities and identifying training needs. These results are also used to compare levels of poverty and analyse the economic integration of immigrants.

Organizations that advocate the interests of persons with disabilities and minority language rely on these and other Census Program data. Academia uses them for program planning and career counselling as well as human resource planning. Business turns to them to determine trade areas and analyse market potential. They are also correlated with income results to understand purchasing behaviour and media preferences.

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