Downtown regina

Canada’s most (and least) attractive destinations for work

Peter Harris|

There has been a lot of talk lately about both a labour shortage in Canada as well as a stubbornly high unemployment rate. Part of this is caused by the fact that the available workers aren’t always located where the open jobs are.

With unemployment rates at around 4%, Alberta and Saskatchewan can’t find the people they need to hire, while Newfoundland has an 11% unemployment rate, and people are hungry for jobs.

So it comes as good news that the number of Canadians migrating between provinces for jobs has hit its highest level in almost twenty-five years, according to a new report released today by BMO Economics.

The study ranks the attractiveness of Canada’s regional labour markets as a destination to see where most people are targeting, and why.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out the majority of people relocating for job prospects are choosing to head west. Most of the top cities and regions for labour market attractiveness are in Saskatchewan and Alberta, with Regina coming out on top.

The top five destinations:

  • Regina
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Saskatoon
  • Hamilton

This ranking is calculated by comparing the median income, job prospects, housing affordability and tax burden of 19 cities or regions across Canada. Based on these criteria, the Atlantic provinces, London and Montreal make the least attractive prospects to move to for work right now.

“While there are winners and losers, a mobile labour force isn’t necessarily a bad thing to the extent that resources are directed to where they are needed most,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

“In terms of attractiveness as place to move for work, Regina and Calgary top the list, with the highest median levels of employment income, among the lowest jobless rates and relatively low tax burdens,” said Kavcic. “However, Regina’s better housing affordability lifts the city into the top spot.”

The median income in Regina is $70,500, while in Calgary it’s $79,300. By comparison, in Toronto it’s $68,700 and in Montreal the median income is $53,900. The average house in Regina costs $311,400, while in Toronto they pay an average of $517,600 for a home.

The BMO report shows that most of the migrants are coming from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Proportionally, however, the biggest drain is in Atlantic Canada, where combined annual outward migration has reached 11,000 people, or 0.5 per cent of the overall population.

Alberta and Saskatchewan both have unemployment rates that are around 4% right now, well below the national average of 6.9% and the considerably higher 7.5% in Quebec and Ontario, and double digits out East.

There are distinct advantages to relocating for work. People who are willing to move have far more opportunities available to them than those simply scanning the local job market.

They can also give their career a head start by going to where the jobs are rather than having to struggle through periods of underemployment while waiting for the hiring climate in their region to bounce back.

_______

Peter Harris
- Peter Harris on Twitter


Category: Latest News & Advice,
 
  • The_Thenkare

    Seems like the work is where the people are more willing to utilize their resources. In seems in the Maritimes we are willing to have our children and grand kids to be next to an oil field out west rather than to one here. Maybe we just don’t like our grand kids!

  • London Grey

    I am willing to move anywhere for the right project. Still with forty years of very diverse experience all over the world including Canada and the US, I get the “overqualified” and “too good for the job” rejections. What should I do? Hide my experiences? I am old enough to mentor (as I have been for many years) new generations of project managers. Is there anybody who needs somebody like me?

    • Kelime

      You really should start your own business. Or even better, start a consulting co-op.

      • London Grey

        I have owned my own businesses over the US, Canada and the EU. I am a claims consultant now, but I really like the Senor PM position where I can build teams and buildings using my experiences. An established company with complex projects would benefit most of my skills.

  • J. Paul Walsh

    This makes no sense. We have mega-project after mego-project screaming for people in Newfoundland.

    • Ian Radanke

      Then the question is where are the jobs advertised? My wife would jump at the opportunity for us to move to Newfoundland and not the Steppe that is Central Canada but it seems the only places I see positions advertised. If I am looking in the wrong place any guidance would be great!

      • J. Paul Walsh

        For those looking for opportunities in Newfoundland, the Muskrat Falls project is looking for 3,300 people. (muskratfallsjobs.com). Companies like Vale, Worley Parsons, SNC Lavalin, Exxon Mobil, Husky, Statoil, etc. post jobs frequently.

        • Ian Radanke

          Hi J.Paul thanks for answering Muskrat part of the lower churchill so know what it is now will see how it goes. With all this work why is unemploymentyso high and Newfies are all working either offshore or in central Canada?

          • J. Paul Walsh

            First of all, we are Newfoundlanders, not Newfies. The latter is a very derrogatory term.

            Unemployment remains high due to geograpahic remoteness of part of the population and a lack of required skills. Workers who spent their life in fishing or forestry don’t immediately transfer to skilled trades.

            Many remain working in places like Alberta due to very high wages. However, if you research the issue you’ll find that many who work on Newfoundland’s offshore oil platforms have come back from Alberta and elsewhere.

            In my initial reply in neglected to mention Western Labrador. Companies like IOC are also looking for staff.

            I encourage you to look deeper. I think you’ll find that many opportunities exist.

          • Ian Radanke

            Hi J Paul, point taken and good lesson learnt, no offence meant, will point out to my nephew who works offshore maybe why he gets off on the wrong foot with some of his Newfoundland colleagues!
            Will say Liked Newfoundland when I visited in 2009, bizarre questions from Government Lady was basically to find out if you ticked all the self reliant boxes was to live beyond the cities, which is my aim.
            Thanks for the assistance

          • J. Paul Walsh

            Never listen to the bureaucrats!

          • Ian Radanke

            Damn another dream shattered that the bureacrats are different somewhere else!

          • D. Allen Bigelow

            Not sure about you Paul, but I get the feeling that there are a lot of people in this forum that do not live in Canada. Is “emigrate” a word? I thought it was “immigrate”. And unfortunately, for readers other than Paul, your English is horrible! I found it very difficult to read your messages. You’re not likely even getting looked at by employers because of your significant spelling mistakes and extreme grammatical errors. And for some here (not everyone), you may actually be “over-qualified” and I understand your frustration in finding employment, but if you want to work for companies that Paul has mentioned, you’re never going to get through the door, if your cover letter and resume look anything like the mess you have written here.

          • HZ

            Yes, “emigrate” is a verb.
            Most of the people here will not get through the door because of their lack of connections not qualifications. Being a foreigner I find it weird how companies call for interviews in this country.

          • gavsdad

            These two verbs have similar meanings, but they differ in point of view. Emigrate means to leave one country to settle in another. Immigrate means to settle in a country where one isn’t a native. Emigrate stresses leaving; immigrate stresses arriving.

            For example, from the point of view of the British, you emigrate when you leave England to settle in Canada. From the point of view of the Canadians, you have immigrated to Canada and are considered an immigrant. Emigrate describes the move relative to the place of departure. Immigrate describes it relative to the place of arrival.

          • Marie Neil

            THANK YOU, J Paul Walsh, for pointing out that we are Newfoundlanders! The other N word is, indeed, derogatory!

        • London Grey

          Hi J. Paul, It i s my long dream to go to Canada’s East Coast. I am trying through the best recruitment firm in Canada. You seem to be well informed or have easy access to these job postings. Could you please point me to the right direction? I am very versatile within my trade (Construction Management). Can play almost any position in any team. If you have anything for me I would greatly appreciate it.

          Kind regards

      • London Grey

        I am on possibly all job monitoring “contraption”. Got two hits in one year and was OVERQUALIFIED of course. I would take a lesser position, but the usual answer is that “I would not be happy and they cannot take that risk.”

    • London Grey

      I love to go to Newfoundland. Any leads for major ICI projects? I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Marie Neil

      The exact same thought was going through my mind as I was reading the article…

  • bio

    Top 4 destinations have some things in common such as the worst Canadian climate; the most remote locations aka in-a-middle-of-nowhere; minimum of cultural life; “a burger and a mall are our all” life style. Hamilton, ON is the only exception. City’s architectural landscape is just OK, nothing special. However, surrounding nature, climate and proximity to civilization make the city a nice place to work in and to live in. As for jobs in pharma, biotech, research, and healthcare, Montreal, Toronto and their grater areas offer both access to highly paid jobs and balanced life style.

    • Ne Va

      Absolutely. I lived in Regina before I moved to Toronto and first, all above is true, so if you’re OK to live where no people go out and bars look like in a cheap American movie, that’s the place. There were days when I spent the time counting how many people will walk the street. It wasn’t difficult. ASecond, for three years all I could find were low level jobs and trust me, if you’re a professional who is not into government, you better think carefully if you’re willing to compromise. Good luck.

      • Nancyme_is

        I agree whole-heartedly that the climate is not ideal on the prairies nor is there much of a cultural landscape. What will you find there, however, is an opportunity to meet some of the kindest and most generous folks you will ever know! Coupling that with career/job opportunities actually makes for a pretty good place to live. Have a good day!

  • Leif

    In the demarcation line, with interceded folk culture phrase and autodidacticism notification, which from a
    commune of origin,gives
    decision, and hereto decisive action plans, schematics and finalization’s to the
    solution! That it is toronto ,since there are unseen images of emotionally fed felicitous women to whom wish
    to contain cosmopolitan livelihood in a worldliness and booby run and jump,
    with self-evident quality of acting by the heart and journey in vox dei

  • David Birhange

    I am aged 36, currently based in Cape Town South Africa and
    willing to move anywhere in Canada. I have 13 years’ experience in IT, mainly
    in infrastructure and support at senior level. I also have an MBA degree. I am
    finding it very difficult to find an employer who is willing to go through the
    ever difficult bureaucratic processes of getting an LMO (Labor Market Opinion),
    so that I can apply for a work permit. Help pleeeease.

  • Roberto Molina

    London Grey,
    I have a prospect job for you in the company that I work they need desperately a claims adjuster based in Halifax NS, Halifax handles all the maritimes region and Quebec as eastern office. pls let me know if you are interested, I want to get the rewards for referral.

    here the job description:

    The Claims Representative manages a portfolio of claims based on the company’s policies, procedures, and standards for quality of claims handling and customer services including: notification, case reserves, investigation, evaluation, negotiation, settlement subrogation, reinsurance recoveries and closure. The Claims Representative investigates and evaluates lower and moderate-​complexity claims to determine coverage available to policyholders and claimants and advises the underwriters of any facts reflecting upon the insurability of risk. This position requires Claims Representatives to build and maintain both internal and external relationships with respect to the claims process.

    cheers

    • London Grey

      Roberto,

      This sounds interesting as long as it is in the construction industry. I am experienced in the full spectrum of ICI Residential and Industrial section however I have written many successful “weird” claims as well. Send me some details. londongrey@outlook.com
      and many thanks for the tip

  • MrE20

    if there is so many jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan… then why I am not getting any call backs… not a peep …. I have 4 yrs of Accounting education plus over 3 years of office/accounting administration and over 10 years of customer service in non-for-profit, government and private sector … so come on universe … I really need a job to keep a roof over my families head

    • Keith Rodgers

      me too your experiencing exactly what Iàm experiencing no call backs. The reason is they do not want to hire Canadian workers they want to hire foreign workers their cheaper and the recruitment agencies make money utilising foreign workers.

      • MrE20

        so true … you really see it in Vancouver. Hiring accountants… not clerk accountants at $12 an hour… minimum wage is $10.25…and it is all industries in Vancouver that the foreign workers are getting work over Canadians. When are Canadians going to get work? That is what my petpeeve with government jobs as well, minorities get a better shot at being employed because they have to fill the quota to ensure all representation of gender and races is employed. Why not the best person for the job… now I am going to have a tougher time to find work because I had a baby and that is strike against me. So frustrating the job market and the search…

    • g_onEI

      Same here…moved to Calgary last year after not finding any work in Nova Scotia where I have an impressive portfolio in Facility Management. Spent all the money I had, lived there for six months, applied for approximately 45 related jobs and not one offer. Three interviews one was in FT.Mac but I was the runner-up. Started applying for carpentry jobs and nothing. Moved back home with parents, divorced with one son and no work or money but lots of experiences. Amazing how quickly contacts dry up after job loss…So now I’m looking in Ontario.

  • Guest

    Karen Proulx

  • Karen Proulx

    What is your comments on Thunder Bay,ON or Winnipeg,MB?

    • BigBadPitbullOwner

      I left there in 92 and never looked back.

      No real work, all the mills closed. Everything has gone downhill. Used to have a great downtown, but its all fallen apart ever since Eaton’s closed their doors.

      BUT, if you want beautiful lake front property for under $200K – you won’t find any place better. People pay $300-1,000,000 bucks for that in Vancouver, Kelowna or other areas of BC.

      If you could afford it, retire there for summers and go somewhere else for winter, unless you don’t mind the cold.

  • Keith Rodgers

    the labour shortage as you put it is absolute nonsense, employers are using employment agencies overseas to recruit people who will work on lower incomes. then when they find them they sack the Canadian worker and substitute with a foreign worker.
    Harpers government is providing the smoke screen to allow employers to carry out this sharp practice. There is no shortage of workers its just they will not work for the pay offered so they leave Canada, once the foreign workers realize how expensive it is to live here they up sticks too and go somewhere else.
    Thats the reality and it killing the Canadian economy, so best thing is for the Canadians to leave or vote Harper out.

  • Narayan

    I was in Canada for few years as immigrant and I am very much disappointed as I didn’t get a proper career to build up my life over there. I am a Telecom professional with enough qualification and diversified experience of 18 years but landed-up in to a technician position for survival.

    As everybody said, there are plenty of jobs but no much career opportunities for professionals. My humble advice is, do not expect hi-fi profile if you are enough qualified and experienced person. The so called “overqualified” label will be stamped on you and that will spoil your life. It happened to me and I quit the place.

    Is there any argument on my statement, pls. advice me on how to gain a reasonable career matching to the qualifications and experience? It may be useful for other readers too.

    • Eric

      You can not build your career here in Canada unless you know certain people that have certain high level management positions.Here is like mob society. You win only if you have the right connections

  • clair louise brown

    i’m a welder wanting to emigrate to Edmonton from the UK. but had no job offers at all. please help me ive over 10 yrs exp. ASME 9

  • Rajmond

    It seems to be very complicated to
    emigrate to Canada…

    I took the Canada Immigration expert
    and pay several hundred
    dolars , help me to go away, according to immigrate
    canada. Nothing happened.

    I am a locksmith with license TIG welder, driver’s license for a truck,
    sport is part of my life,jogging,gym-I was germany junior champion full contact
    at kick boxsing

    I have 20 years experience in assembly,and work in industry. Not enough. I
    don’t know how should I make my goal. A year ago we were me
    and my girlfriend in Toronto-Mississauga. Since I do not have a connetions and acquaintances there for the beginning and
    work, I ask to whom they may want to turn to a successful start

  • The Realist

    Hello Everyone,
    I’m so happy that I found this forum. Hopefully your advice/input will help me to find comfort. Due to the manufacturing dilemma I lost my position as Materials Manager in 2006 (Company operations to China) moved to. I found employment approximately 3 months later as a Purchasing Supervisor at a lower pay scale and lost that position when the company moved their operations to India. Being a single parent (2 boys) one whom was 2 years into University. Two years later I sold my townhome with not enough left for first and last month’s rent; My son had to quit University because when he applied for OSAP they turned him down because my income was too high as per the income taxes I filed that year. Well, this is the short version. Nevertheless, I kept applying for positions – anything or everything because I was in survival mode. I could not understand it; I tailored my resume – I had many resumes and used them as per the position I was applying for. With over 30 years of Materials/Purchasing Management experience I found my self at a lost. I decided to return to school and change my career path after doing the LMR. Employers are asking for experience in that field which I do not have. It’s been six years since I have been unemployed. My son was never able to returned to University. My extended family does not understand the job market and it’s current trend. I’ve lost my family and friends. I’ve often thought about moving to another province, however, I’m scared, confused, broke to the point of eviction and I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions? I was turned down for Ontario Works because of child support. And, I wrote to our PM and the Mayor of my town and my MP and everyone that I could possibly think of. I believe when you lose your livelihood you also lose something inside you. I have lost that fire that I once had, my laughter etc. But, amazingly I still help others and listen and encourage. After reading your forum I now get it. I have not only been labeled by my extended family but by employers as well. Now, it all makes sense.
    Thanks for reading and have a good day.

    • London Grey

      Hello Realist and everyone else who reads this.
      I am with 40 years of extremely impressive resume in my profession still struggle to keep up with the pace of getting new assignments. I was on the road over Canada, US and Europe for all these years and built the most prestigious projects, never failed to meet financial and schedule targets. Now when I apply for a new position I get the “overqualified” rejections. It is frustrating as I am not ready to retire yet having still a 12 year old son in school and everybody who has children knows what it comes with. I am open and flexible, still cannot find a position in over a year of intense search. I have been able to keep up with the finances till now, but it is running dangerously low. As Realist wrote i am of course not qualified for any assistance, so I just have to rely on myself. Often I wonder why companies do not value experience as much an on-line MBA. Hiring us would do more good to them in training the younger generation than bypassing us for any “schoolbench/online” paper title. I am not degrading the MBAs or other hard earned degrees, but let’s not forget USUS EST MAGISTER OPTIMUS! (please look it up) Businesses relying too much on certificates and degrees throwing aside their own investments: our experiences.
      Dear Realist sadly I have to acknowledge, I also lost most of my “extended family” just as soon as the money flow slowed down.
      Thank you all for your time

    • Guest

      I’m not sure where you live in Ontario, but there are rent banks that will help pay your rent so that you are not evicted. I hope you haven’t lost your home! There are tons of resources available to help you, but you need to do the research.

  • billie jo macdonald

    I am a single female that moved to Edmonton all the way from nova scotia , and is looking for a job that pays good with benefits, with lots of hours and respected without all the stress. I was thinking about working in the camps , or getting work here in stony plains and get some courses that will help get me a better job in the future. im strong independent and not afraid to get dirty , I have worked in so many different fields from a personal care worker looking after children in daycares the elderly in their homes , looking after animals and properties when they went on vacations, I worked in high level stress retail cashier ,I worked in hockey rinks as a cook on cash ,cleaning open and closed on my own, hotels in house keeping, looked after apt. buildings and cleaned them before the next tenets move in , cleaned 2 large sobey’s head office buildings full time. no benefits, cooking fast food ,bartending in beer gardens ,serving food to the homeless sense I have been out here I have learned to drive a bobcat, backfill ,locate water and sew pipes fix or remove or add them to new foundations , learned everything there is to know about the proper safety equipment and looking after all my co workers and the public in and around job sites, traffic control, filling out safety sheets grading with laser measurements . worked for 2 excavation and demolition companies ,that said to make sure I put them down as a reference where they really slowed down I felt like I need more hours. worked in marketing which I sold and helped build peoples credit. you can see I have a very strong work ethic considering I was battling cancer from 26 to 34 , I never gave up and didn’t want to stop working , and if giving me the chance to prove that I am a hard worker ,very determined to join your company , and be part of a family , I am a happy, healthy, strong women and cant wait for family and friends , co workers to respect me and be proud of me .thank you for your time,
    billie_jo_macdonald@hotmail.com. .

  • Eric

    I worked for 8 Years in USA and 10 years ago moved to Canada.
    The Canadian employers (Ontario I should say or better say Toronto area), are more like European style employers that depends who you know and not what you know.
    The first people to get promoted are the ones that have inside connections and you see them almost everywhere in Ontario.
    The real knowledge competition is in US because there is you are no good for the job regardless who you are you wont get promoted.
    I was working for Greenwin Inc.(known as Greenwin Property Management company), once they change the leadership almost everyone from the old leadership was replaced with the friends relatives or connections of the new clan.
    This is the society we are building and live in.
    So, there are two choices-deal with it or
    Move out of the province

  • Ian

    Kinesiologist Jobs?

    • John MacPherson

      My girlfriend is also looking for KIN jobs. None in NL. When I’m done my BBA at MUN we plan on moving either to NS (home) or ON to hopefully land some jobs.

  • Maqoos Badar

    I am live in Pakistan’city Sialkot.i have 8 years Experience of production of Surgical,Dental and beauty instruments .I am doing my job very well., But I did not see a bright future. Wish that I could enjoy my craft. Understand that my work will surely answer you. Servant badar makoos .

  • Vincent Mecha

    i have a chemical processing technology diploma with a couple of many years experience but i cant get a job. kindly advice me what to do to get that job and where. i have made several applications but no reply comes through.

  • Glen Wither

    Finding a good job today is akin to winning the lottery; it’s sheer luck of the draw. Since 2008, whatever trust, loyalty and unspoken deal that existed between a worker and the company leaders simply evaporated and never came back. The Great Recession carved out a great swath of experienced, productive and well paid workers and placed them on poggy, welfare, the street. Thousands of jobs simply disappeared and those whose skills and experience are in those industries can retrain on their dime if they have the money, and then hope to get an interview as an INexperienced worker who may only have ten or fifteen years of working life left. Oh, far too little says the recruiter. So most are simply done.

    Older workers are forced to retire earlier than planned, and to make the lifestyle sacrifices they never thought they’d need to make. Many of these folks have tried all the advice available out there, advice easily dispensed by those who are employed in the HR field, and found the recommendations a waste of time. yes, move to where the job is; but try and get a phone interview from a recruiter who doesn’t want to pay the expense of a flight for a candidate: “the second best will do and is located here thanks” is their thought.

    Now, some of the folks in this discussion have slammed the “Hot” locations for jobs. Places like Regina are great for young professionals or trade workers looking to get a lot of experience quickly, especially in the banks, insurance and government spaces, but Regina is a tough place to make home and the workplace is essentially a training depot with high turnover – that is why one see a lot of available jobs. And you do not want to get caught there when the Bust occurs – I know, I lived there when I started out.

    I believe one of the biggest factors at play for people like London Grey who are continually passed over is that the person who would be supervising and has the final say in a hire, doesn’t want to risk being shown-up by a better experienced and perhaps wiser underling, and risking their own job. Even if you are willing and able to take a down-step and take a back seat, it’s not you making the decision. Forget the mentoring, if companies wanted mentors they’d have retained them in their employ. They want cheap and malleable, and experience is just a commodity to many recruiters.And what is going on with those job ads? How many of us have looked them and thought: “what planet are these folks from?”.

    So who ultimately loses? Our nation, that’s who, and the corporations. And we need to be concerned about civil unrest rising as a result of this horrible employment problem. When WWII ended, jobs were hard to find but Canada made it possible through the Wartime Housing Act for veterans to buy homes easily. Why? Our leaders didn’t think it wise to have combat capable people wandering around with no stake in their country. A house, a family, a job, and a mortgage made them stakeholders. If you listen carefully, there is a growing undercurrent of unrest here and to the South, as more of the young forgo family, stable living-wage jobs remain rare, and housing becomes unaffordable. Smart people with nothing to lose are not unlike combat ready veterans. Unless employers get their act in gear on the hiring front and start spending the piles of accumulated cash, there will be trouble, lots of it. Time for a New Deal, methinks. Our government should start a real Action Plan by creating and airing ads focused on changing the mindset of employers to reconsider on-the-job training, understand the high value of older workers, and support programs like Ontario’s Training Initiative for Older Workers (50-64). Housing and living alternatives, like private cooperatives and Co-Living projects, zoning changes that allow more ‘granny flats’, need new government support and seed money, along with built examples worthy of broad emulation. If work has changed radically, then our personal expectations around wealth, housing and life style need to change as well, to new and desirable alternatives.

    So lets stop talking about how to write a better resume, or wear better clothing, or use our networks, these things are not a panacea, and the cards are stacked against the unemployed. Lets talk about what’s next, how can we make money and what the New Deal should look like. And remember, ultimately, if workers refuse, the masters must listen. Or do they just offshore the work? Humm. Thoughts anyone?

  • Fernando Court

    I am a “old professional” with more
    than thirty extends years of experience in several executive position and kinds
    of business industries in Chile as a Civil Industrial Engineer with Major in
    Chemistry (PUC), and I have the same situation as London Grey,…”overqualified”
    or ..”to much for this job”…..

    Like an alternative if we want start our own
    business as a consultant, I think that it´s not the right way if you don´t have
    business nets. In think that we must utilize our experience and knowledge of
    our own markets for do exchange of raw materials, goods, services or projects.
    The industry that I like is foods. In this sense, we can develop a multinational
    company utilizing our net contacts for trade with products, technology,
    equipment, services, etc. Also, we can contact any company that want to come to
    our country to make an investment in a plant or for launch and dealing with
    their products.

  • Max_Smrt

    Jobs in the financial services sector are generally going to women and minorities now. This industry has been under intense pressure from the liberal media to hire and promote these groups into their ranks. I’ve witnessed it first hand, several colleagues who got hired and promoted very quickly, with no relation to their track record or success. Go to industries, and geographic regions, that aren’t putting in invisible work barriers under the guise of “diversity”.