Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity

Labour Market Outlook and Immigrants in the Labour force of Atlantic Canada

Ather H. Akbari, Department of Economics, Saint Mary’s University

Table 1 provides the labour market outlook for Atlantic Canada over the period 2016-18. The data reported are based on projections of Service Canada.  Over the period, 56,605 job opportunities are expected to open in the region representing a 1.7 percent growth. All of these opportunities will open due to attrition (death and retirement). Some of the jobs created through attrition will be lost due to negative job growth attributable largely to declining economy in Newfoundland and Labrador in oil sector and winding down of some major construction projects such as Muskarat Falls Hydroelectric Project and Hebron Oil Project (expected to be completed within the period). All other provinces will have slightly positive job growth (data not shown).

Table 1: Labour Market Outlook for Atlantic Canada (2016-18).

Skill level Job Opening
   Due to
 Due to
Management (A) -1,385 8,500 7,115
Professional (A) -925 11,880 10,955
Technical (B) -6,315 23,745 17,430
Intermediate (C) -3,765 20,425 16,660
Labouring (D) -2,590 7,050 4,460


-14,990 71,595 56,605

Source: Based on data provided by Service Canada.


Given the declining natural growth in its population, the region’s reliance on immigration to meet its labour market’s demand for skills is expected to rise in future.

Chart 1 shows the current and past contribution of immigrants to employed labour force in the region over the period 2006-2016. For comparison purposes, data are also presented for other regions and for Canada. Immigrants’ contribution to the labour force in Canada grew from 22 percent to 26 percent over this period. All regions experienced growth, with Western Canada experiencing the fastest growth. Growth in Atlantic Canada was the slowest and immigrants’ composition of labour force remains the lowest in this region.

Labour Force Surveys

Source: Labour Force Surveys, Statistics Canada.


Chart 2 presents the skill composition of employed immigrant labour force in Atlantic Canada (based on NOCS 2016). Most immigrants work in technical (occupation level B, requiring college or vocational education or apprenticeship training) and intermediate occupations (occupation level C, that usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training).


Skill levels of immigrants

Source: Labour Force Surveys (Statistics Canada).