More than 1 million jobs – or nearly one out of every 17 positions – are vacant in Canada. While immigration has and will continue to help with this labour shortage, we still need more workers to fill the gap.

A recent Scotiabank Economics report shows older Canadians are a critically underutilized and overlooked source of labour.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of people aged 65 and older rose 18%, the second largest increase in 75 years. 

Policies should be designed to encourage older Canadians to remain in the labour force, wrote Jean-François Perrault, Chief Economist at Scotiabank and Robert Asselin, Senior Vice President of Policy, Business Council of Canada.  

Here’s a closer look at some of the economic report’s findings:



Text version of infographic:

Older Canadians could help ease labour shortage

1,012,900 number of vacant job positions in Canada as of March 2022. Up from about 500,000 pre-pandemic.

40% of firms say labour shortages are hovering near record levels.

Firms say labour shortages are limiting their ability to increase sales and production:

  • 55% seeking skilled workers
  • 38% seeking semi-skilled workers

81% of firms say they rely on immigration to fill vacancies.

Labour participation by age group: 

  • 50-54, 86.8%
  • 55-59, 76.8%
  •  60-64, 56.6%
  •  65-69, 28.6%

1,411,200 potential number of additional workers if the participation rate of older age groups matched 50-54 (86.8%):

  • 55-59, 259,000
  • 50-64, 521,900
  • 65-69, 630,300