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Work Words: Define That for Me Please

Let’s face it, labour market information (LMI) can be confusing. And, to be frank, the term LMI itself sounds like jargon you only hear from researchers, academics or government officials. However, at the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) we are working to change this perception.

Have you ever wondered how occupations are defined in Canada? Or asked yourself how we know that the average 2018 salary in Canada was $26.83 per hour? Maybe you are a researcher or policy maker seeking to understand why there’s so much conflicting information regarding skills, skills shortages, and the identification and measurement of skills. In all these cases, and more, the new LMIC online labour encyclopedia — WorkWords — is for you.

Labour Market Terms Explained . . . at last

To assist stakeholders in navigating the complex space of labour market information terms and sources, we created WorkWords, an online labour market encyclopedia. WorkWords is designed to provide users with thorough definitions of key labour market terms and concepts pertaining to the Canadian workforce.

The first release of our online encyclopedia contains three entries: job vacancies, occupations, as well as wages and salaries. Each entry contains three sections:

Definitions and Sources: In this section, we explore various ways the concept is defined in Canada. A list of different data collection tools related to the concept (e.g., survey and administrative databases) will also be available.

Data Access: For each concept, we describe where and how the available data is collected and can be accessed. For example, one source for occupational information is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, accessible via their public access data or one of several Research Data Centres.

Applications: Here we unpack how the concept is used in Canada, particularly as it relates to policy and program design. For example, one use of occupational information is to inform immigration requests. We believe that understanding the use-cases for which data collection, analysis and distribution were designed provides the much-needed context for understanding both the advantages and the limitations.

Ever Evolving

What makes LMI interesting is that it is ever changing and evolving. There is always something new to learn. That is why WorkWords is an evergreen project. It will continue to grow with new entries as new LMI data are made available. Like our Future of Work Annotated Bibliography and our NOW of Work Annotated Bibliography, WorkWords will be frequently updated with the most timely, reliable, accessible labour market information.

Please give us your feedback and let us know which concepts you would like to see added. These definitions are only helpful if you, our reading public and stakeholders, say they are.

As a senior economist with LMIC, Anthony Mantione researches and analyzes issues related to the skill needs of the Canadian labour market.  This work includes identifying and measuring labour and skills shortages, exploring new technologies for skill classification, and consulting with stakeholders.
Emna Braham

Emna Braham is a Senior Economist with LMIC. She is currently working to assess the state of labour market information in Canada and conducting forward-looking research in collaboration with stakeholders.

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