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Study: Analysis of jobs and mobility of paid workers by economic region, 2001 to 2021

Released: 2023-05-18

Today, Statistics Canada is releasing a study entitled "Canadian regional labour statistics and inter-regional movements of paid workers, 2001 to 2021."

The movement of labour between regions is economically efficient because it allows workers to move to where they are most needed. It can also be an acceptable public policy objective at the local and provincial level if it supports justified social and economic interests, such as encouraging local development. High quality and relevant data are needed to improve policies on inter-regional labour mobility, which is what the study attempts to explore. It focuses on the new, experimental regional labour statistics for the period from 2001 to 2021, in which labour force information is adjusted to reflect the economic regions where people work. This new database facilitates the analyses of regional labour markets and allows users to examine regional distributions of jobs and hours worked and to track inter-regional labour movements.

The inter-regional analyses revealed that, in 2021, Quebec and Ontario had the economic regions that were the largest sources of or destinations for workers. Each economic region that records a large net inflow of jobs is surrounded by a cluster of economic regions that record considerable net outflows of workforce to different destinations. Such clusters have been formed around Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa and Capitale-Nationale (surrounding Québec). Within these clusters, the main suppliers of jobs were the Montérégie, Lanaudière, Laurentides and Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula regions.

Map 1  Thumbnail for map 1: Net flows of paid workers jobs for each economic region, 2021
Net flows of paid workers jobs for each economic region, 2021

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the subsequent public health measures meant many Canadians were unable to work, especially in regional employment hubs, such as Toronto, Lower Mainland–Southwest, Montréal, Calgary and Edmonton. From 2010 to 2021, 64 of the 76 economic regions maintained their positions as net suppliers or net recipients of labour force. Some of the principal labour-supplying regions had steady increases in their net outflows of jobs from 2010 to 2021.

  Note to readers

As part of an effort to increase the relevance of provincial and territorial data, we would like to remind users that two new tables—which contain an experimental data set of labour statistics by economic region and work hours—were released for the first time on May 20, 2022. Specifically, these new tables represent an expansion of two other existing data tables (36-10-0489-01 and 36-10-0480-01). The first new table (36-10-0675-01) contains labour statistics by economic region and job category, while the second new table (36-10-0676-01) contains labour statistics by work schedule (full-time or part-time).

In this release, the "Capitale-Nationale" economic region, located in the province of Quebec, is composed of seven regional county municipalities (Charlevoix-Est, Charlevoix, L'Île-d'Orléans, La Côte-de-Beaupré, La Jacques-Cartier, Québec and Portneuf) and includes 69 municipalities, Indigenous communities and unorganized territories. It should not be confused with the National Capital Region, the official federal designation for the region that includes Canada's capital of Ottawa (in Ontario), the neighbouring city of Gatineau (in Quebec) and its surrounding areas.


The study, "Canadian regional labour statistics and inter-regional movements of paid workers, 2001 to 2021," which is part of Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-X), is now available.

The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of the Statistics Canada website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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