Labour force characteristics

Source:  Statistics Canada
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Of the total labour force of 218,600 in the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA, 203,100 were employed in 2016, up from a recession period low of 181,100 in May and June of 2009.  The unemployment rate for the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA in 2016 was 7.1%, reflecting a downward trend in the rate, compared to the recession-period peak of 11% in January, 2009.

Proportion of Working-Age People in Niagara:  In January 2017, The Niagara Community Observatory at Brock (NCO) and the Niagara Workforce Planning Board (NWPB) released a policy brief, “Growing Niagara: A closer look at Niagara’s aging population”. It shows that Niagara has proportionally the fewest working-age people in Canada.

  • Niagara’s population grew less than 1% between the Census years of 2006 and 2011, well below the national average of 5.9%, and estimates show this has not changed over the last few years.
  • Niagara has proportionally fewer young people and young families than the Ontario average.
  • Niagara has proportionally the fewest working-age people in the country and is home to more seniors than youth, which has implications for economic growth and program funding as baby boomers enter retirement and there are fewer in the workforce to financially support the growing demands.
  • Since 2001, Niagara’s population has grown in the 20-29 age cohort, and it is actually the 0-14 and 30-44 age cohorts that have declined, suggesting that the focus of “youth retention” could be broadened.

Source: NCO, 2017. Growing Niagara: A closer look at Niagara’s aging population.
Retrieved from:

Labour Force Participation of Seniors

Canada 150 Telling Story In Numbers

In celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

Labour force participation of seniors

Like many other industrialized countries, the age structure of the Canadian population has changed dramatically in the last century. The proportion of seniors aged 65 and older who participate in the labour market has also changed substantially over this time.

In 1921, the Census of Population found that about one-third (33.7%) of those aged 65 and older were either employed or looking for work. At this time, income support programs for seniors were rare; the Old Age Security Program, for example, would not be introduced until 1927.

In 1946, following the Second World War, the first Labour Force Survey data indicated that 26.6% of seniors participated in the labour market. In subsequent decades, the labour force participation rate of seniors continued to decline, reaching a low in the period from 1986 to 2002, when the rate varied between 6% and 7%. This decline in the labour force participation of older people was likely related to a combination of economic conditions and the growth of public and private pension plans.

Since the early 2000s, there has been a notable upward trend in the proportion of seniors participating in the labour force, which more than doubled from 6.1% in 2001 to 13.7% in 2016.

As the baby-boom cohort continues to age, the recent trend towards a higher proportion of seniors participating in the labour market can be expected to continue. Indeed, demographic projections of Canada’s labour force show that by the year 2026, 40% of the total labour force could be aged 55 and older.

Sources: A. Fields, S. Uppal, and S. LaRochelle-Côté. 2017. “The impact of aging on labour market participation rates.” Insights on Canadian Society (Catalogue number75-006-X); tables D107-122 and D205-222 in Historical Statistics of Canada (Catalogue number11-516-X); and CANSIM table 282-0002.

Chart 3  
Labour force participation rate of people aged 65 and older, Canada, 1946 to 2016

Labour force participation rate

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