The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: Job Opportunities in Northern Ontario

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January 30, 2017 – “The grass is always greener,” is a sentiment echoed by many northerners in regards to employment opportunities and salaries in the region. Many young workers have their eyes set on Southern Ontario in the hopes of finding a job with high wages, leaving the north behind for greener pastures.

With trends such as youth out-migration and an aging population occurring across Northern Ontario, there are invariably, in certain occupations, many job vacancies to go along with them.

But what is on the other side of the fence? Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, which quarterly tracks job vacancies and the average wages offered, demonstrates that the grass isn’t always greener. Data from this survey dispels some of our common, not to mention unfounded, notions that Northern Ontario is bad for job-seekers.

For the sake of our analysis, the quarterly data from Statistics Canada in 2015 was combined and made into yearly averages. This included the average offered wage for vacant positions in each National Occupation Classification (NOC), which were compared at the regional level. As well, the proportions of vacancies that each NOC accounted for, out of all the vacancies, were also compared on a regional basis.

Drilling down into the data reveals that, overall, wages for these vacant positions in the region are often near average, and in certain NOC’s, well above average compared to their provincial counterparts. Perhaps northerners should not be so quick to hop the fence.

A look at the average offered wage for vacant positions across Ontario economic regions had Northwestern Ontario behind only Ottawa and Toronto at just over $18 per hour. At $17.53 per hour, the Northeast was ahead of five other regions.

>> Read the entire article on Northern Policy Institute website.