Skip to content
Home > Future of Work > Empty seats: Why labour shortages…

Future of Work

A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

Empty seats: Why labour shortages plague small and medium-sized businesses and what to do about it

Key Takeaway
Canadian businesses have sought short-term solutions to labour shortages—but several tactics are required.


This research explores the fundamental dynamics of labour shortages in Canada and proposes strategies to mitigate them.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, grapple with labour shortages, given their relatively constrained financial and human resources. Factors such as wage-level disparities, lack of qualifications, skill mismatches, job market dynamics, and Canadian demographics continue to contribute to post-pandemic labour shortages.

The authors highlight that Canadian businesses have tended to look for low-cost, short-term solutions, resisting calls for higher wages, better benefits, investment in productivity-enhancing technology, and comprehensive training.

Ultimately, several tactics are required to address labour shortages, including the adoption of higher wages, human resource practices geared toward recruitment and retention, better integration of immigrants, government partnerships, and technological adoption.

March, 2024 | Hardy, V.
Key Takeaway: In the period from October to December 2022, an average of 871,000 Canadians had a main job involving gig work.
April, 2024 | Janzen, N.
Key Takeaway: Slower population growth could reduce price pressures in Canadian markets, especially in housing, but may heighten challenges related to the aging population.
March, 2024 | Kenyon, M., & McDonough, L.
Key Takeaway: The In Motion & Momentum+ career readiness program could highlight the importance of pre-employability skills for workers.
January, 2024 | Ray, B., & Preston, V.
Key Takeaway: Challenges in Canada's housing market are hindering the integration and economic stability of immigrants and temporary migrants.
January, 2024 | Desormeaux, M., & Jean-Jacobs, F.
Key Takeaway: Labour shortages in the construction industry present an ongoing challenge that could be solved by immigration.
January, 2024 | The Daily
Key Takeaway: Immigrants who had Canadian work experience prior to admission saw increased wages post-COVID.
Load More

Contact Us

350 Sparks Street
Suite 604
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 0A4

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.
Please check the captcha to verify you are not a robot.
Scroll To Top