Lack of job prospects takes toll on Toronto

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The Toronto Foundation has released its thirteenth annual Vital Signs Report detailing the real challenge Canada’s single biggest job market faces: retaining top talent.
Among its findings was an unsettling discovery that young people and immigrants are simply having to leave Toronto behind come time to find employ – that’s despite the city’s investment in training those workers.

“Toronto does a great job educating skilled residents, and attracts talented, eager (and needed) workers from around the globe,” the report reads. “But lack of decent employment prospects for many…exacts a high toll on the city, which loses the opportunity to benefit from this talent and commitment, and on individuals and families who experience a myriad of economic, health and social costs while trying to make ends meet.”
Among the trends discovered:
  • While unemployment rates improved somewhat in 2013, they were not back to pre-recession levels of 7.5 percent dating back to 2008.
  • Youth unemployment is still high
  • The number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries was lower in 2013 than in 2011.
New factors include:
  • Ontario’s minimum wage, which is set to increase to $11 per hour – the first such increase in four years.
  • Ontarians working at minimum wage more than doubled to 9 percent between 2003 and 2011. Nineteen percent of immigrants are working at minimum wage.
  • The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates as much as $2.25B in annual economic impact from failing to use the skills and experience of immigrants.
There were 4,340 new businesses established in Toronto in 2013, an increase of 940 businesses from the previous year but a decrease from by 360 from 2011. The largest employment growth occurred in the office sector, with 18,600 new jobs. That accounts for almost half of new job growth. Eighty-eight percent of new jobs were in Toronto’s downtown core.
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