COVID-19 in Canada: Year-end Update on Social and Economic Impacts

Release date: December 22, 2021

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Statistics Canada has long had the privilege of serving Canadians by providing them with high-quality information that helps shape their view of our society and economy. The pandemic has strengthened our commitment to provide new, timely information that provides insights on how COVID-19 has impacted Canadian households and businesses.  

This presentation provides an update of selected highlights from COVID-19 in Canada: A One-year Update on Social and Economic Impacts released on March 11, 2021 to mark the first year of the pandemic. This review reflects work that the Agency has undertaken, and continues to undertake, using existing and new data sources to provide critical insights into the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians.  The year-in-review compendium updates and extends our analysis of the pandemic’s early impacts, building on The Social and Economic Impacts of COVID-19: A Six-month Update and reflecting the many analytical releases in COVID-19: A data perspective.

While continuing to document the current impacts of the pandemic remains important, we are turning our attention to trends and measures that may be pointing to potential longer-term changes in the economic and social lives of Canadians.

-Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada

Summary of contents

  • Vaccination and unintended health impacts of COVID-19
    • More Canadians get vaccinated as provinces introduce passports, but vaccination rates are uneven across the country.
    • Stress levels remain high as the pandemic continues to challenge Canadians’ mental health.
    • The pandemic has resulted in more deaths than would be expected, but they are not all from COVID-19—poisonings and opioid overdoses are contributing to excess mortality.
  • Demographic Impacts
    • Increased deaths, decreased immigration and delayed family planning due to the pandemic will change the demographic make up of Canada.
    • These demographic changes will impact employment and interprovincial migration.
  • Assessing the economic recovery
    • Economic activity remains below pre-pandemic levels and the recovery is uneven across industries.
    • Employment rebounded to pre-COVID levels but high job vacancies reveal a mismatch between labour supply and demand.
    • Rising prices put pressure on businesses and consumers as input costs increase and consumer inflation accelerates at the fastest pace since 2003, outpacing wage growth.

Vaccination and unintended health impacts of COVID-19

Vaccination efforts continue across the country as jurisdictions opt for vaccine passports

  • Vaccination rates have risen recently as provinces issued vaccination passport requirements for non-essential services.
  • As of December 4th, 89.6% of Canadians aged 12 and older had received at least one dose and 86.7% were fully vaccinated.
  • At 85%, Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest proportion of its total population fully vaccinated. Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut had rates at or below 70%.

Chart 1: Cumulative percentage of people who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, by age group and sex, December 4th 2021

Data table 
Cumulative percentage of people who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, by age group and sex, December 4th 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Cumulative percentage of people who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Female and Male, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Female Male
percent
5-11 17.6 17.4
12-17 86.5 86.3
18-29 88.3 82.2
30-39 87.7 84.5
40-49 89.7 87.9
50-59 91.0 89.0
60-69 93.6 92.7
70-79 ≥95.0 ≥95.0
80+ ≥95.0 ≥95.0

Excess mortality among those under 65 years of age due in part to unintentional poisonings and overdoses

  • The pandemic has resulted in excess deaths in Canada – that is, more deaths occurring than what would be expected if there was no pandemic.
  • Overall, from March 2020 to May 2021, there were an estimated 19,884 excess deaths in Canada, or over 5% more deaths than what would be expected were there no pandemic.
  • Early on in the pandemic, excess deaths were largely occurring among seniors and were mostly attributable to COVID-19. Later on, excess deaths rose among younger Canadians.
  • Between March 2020 and May 2021, approximately 35% of excess deaths occurred among those less than 65 years of age compared with approximately 7% of COVID-19 related deaths. Excess deaths were partially due to unintentional poisonings and overdoses.

Chart 2: Estimated percentages of excess and COVID-19 deaths, by age group and period, Canada, March 28, 2020 to May 15, 2021

Data table 
Estimated percentages of excess and COVID-19 deaths, by age group and period, Canada, March 28, 2020 to May 15, 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Estimated percentages of excess and COVID-19 deaths Excess Deaths and COVID-19 Deaths, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Excess Deaths COVID-19 Deaths
percent
0 to 44 years 15.6 0.7
45 to 64 years 20.7 6.4
65 to 84 years 36.5 40.9
85 years and older 27.1 52.0

Increases in opioid overdoses during the pandemic are occurring mostly among young Canadians and those living in British Columbia, Alberta or Ontario

  • According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 6,946 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred between April 2020 and March 2021 — representing an 88% increase from the same time period prior to the pandemic (April 2019 to March 2020 – 3,691 deaths).
  • Between January and March 2021, 1,772 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred — approximately 20 deaths per day — representing a 65% increase compared to January to March 2020 (1,073 deaths).
    • 90% of all opioid toxicity deaths occurred in British Columbia, Alberta or Ontario.
    • The majority of deaths were among individuals aged 20 to 49 years.
    • 75% of accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred among males.

Chart 3: Crude rates (per 100,000 population) of total apparent opioid toxicity deaths, Canada<

Data table 
Crude rates (per 100,000 population) of total apparent opioid toxicity deaths, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Crude rates (per 100. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Rate per 100,000 (appearing as column headers).
Year Rate per 100,000
2016 7.8
2017 10.7
2018 11.8
2019 9.7
2020 16.5
2021 (Jan to Mar) 19.4

Generally, those experiencing opioid overdoses represent diverse groups – many disadvantaged and impacted by the pandemic

  • A national study of individuals experiencing opioid poisoning-related hospitalizations revealed higher rates among those…
    • with lower levels of income and education
    • who were unemployed or out of the labour force
    • who self-identify as Indigenous
    • who live in lone parent households
    • who spend more than 50% of their income on housing (Carriere et al, 2018).
  • Studies that examined the socio-economic conditions facing individuals who experienced an opioid overdose in British Columbia and parts of Ontario prior to the pandemic revealed…
    • higher rates of unemployment
    • among those who were employed, many were in construction and services
    • approximately half received social assistance
    • between 30% and 40% had at least one police contact in the two years prior.

Socio-economic characteristics of individuals experiencing an opioid overdose in Simcoe Muskoka prior to the pandemic

Of the individuals who experienced an overdose, half received social assistance (52%).

Figure 1

Figure description

In the year before experiencing an overdose, 38% of individuals were employed.

Males: 43% were employed, of whom one-third worked in construction.

Females: 32% were employed, of whom one-quarter worked in accommodations and food services.

Sources: Statistics Canada. Carriere G et al. Social and economic characteristics of those experiencing hospitalizations due to opioid poisonings, October 2018; Carriere G et al. Understanding the socioeconomic profile of people who experienced opioid overdoses in British Columbia, 2014 to 2016, February 2021; Statistics Canada. Understanding opioid overdoses in Simcoe Muskoka, Ontario. October 2021

The pandemic also continues to cause high levels of stress among some Canadians

  • In the spring of 2021, one-quarter of Canadians reported experiencing high levels of stress most days.
  • Nearly 50% of Canadians considered that their stress levels were somewhat or much worse than prior to the pandemic. Rates were higher among…
    • women
    • those age 35 to 44
    • LGBTQ+ and
    • those living with children less than 15 years of age.
  • Many of these groups experience more challenges related to mental health in general.

Chart 4: Proportion of Canadians who reported that the amount of stress in life, most days, was somewhat or much worse compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, by selected characteristics, Canada, April to June 2021

Data table 
Proportion of Canadians who reported that the amount of stress in life, most days, was somewhat or much worse compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, by selected characteristics, Canada, April to June 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of Canadians who reported that the amount of stress in life. The information is grouped by   (appearing as row headers),  Somewhat or much worse now, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
   Somewhat or much worse now
percent
Men 43.5
Women 48.6
15 to 24 years 47.2
25 to 34 years 50.5
35 to 44 years 54.9
45 to 54 years 49.9
55 to 64 years 41.7
65 years or older 36.1
LGBTQ2+ (Yes) 51.8
LGBTQ2+ (No) 45.7
In a couple 47.3
Not in a couple 44.3
Living with children under age 15 53.5
Not Living with children under age 15 43.2

Despite the impacts of the pandemic, many Canadians are optimistic for the future

  • Between March and April 2021, 42% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that they think their life will improve in the next year
  • Rates were highest among…
    • those 15 to 24 years of age (64%)
    • males (45%) compared with females (38%)
    • visible minority groups (49%) compared with non-visible minority groups (39%)
  • Almost half (48%) think their life will remain the same — highest rate among those 65 years of age (61%)

Chart 5: Proportion reporting that they think their life opportunities will improve or stay the same in the next year among those 15 years of age and older, Canada, March to April 2021

Data table 
Proportion reporting that they think their life opportunities will improve or stay the same in the next year among those 15 years of age and older, Canada, March to April 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion reporting that they think their life opportunities will improve or stay the same in the next year among those 15 years of age and older Better and Stay the same, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Better Stay the same
percent
15 to 24 64.1 31.4
25 to 34 44.8 41.5
35 to 44 44.8 43.5
45 to 54 43.4 48.8
55 to 64 35.8 55.7
65 and older 24.2 60.5
Male 45.1 44.7
Female 38.0 50.9
Visible minority 49.3 41.9
Non-visible minority 39.0 49.8

Social cohesion during the pandemic: Selected crime and calls for police service are up in the second quarter of 2021 compared with 2020

  • Selected crime was up 7% in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier. Both violent and non-violent crimes contributed to the increase. Crime levels throughout the pandemic remain lower than pre-pandemic levels from 2019.
  • Selected calls for service were 3% higher in the second quarter of 2021 compared with 2020, particularly responding to overdoses (+25%), general wellness checks (+17%), and mental health-related calls such as a person in emotional crisis or an attempted suicide (+8%). Since the start of the pandemic period, monthly counts of calls for police service have been higher in comparison to pre-pandemic levels reported in 2019.

Chart 6: Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic, monthly, 2020 and 2021

Data table 
Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic, monthly, 2020 and 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic Total selected criminal incidents and Total selected calls for service, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Total selected criminal incidents Total selected calls for service
number
2020
January 72,489 22,664
February 68,322 21,353
March 65,720 23,426
April 54,245 23,051
May 56,493 25,633
June 63,343 26,320
July 70,452 27,288
August 67,438 26,883
September 64,515 24,568
October 63,447 24,753
November 58,574 23,418
December 54,873 23,892
2021
January 58,243 24,795
February 50,596 21,920
March 55,095 25,414
April 58,237 24,405
May 64,516 26,706
June 63,885 26,471

April 2020 is the first full pandemic month. The first box represents Q2 2020 ranging from April 2020 – June 2020. The second box represents Q2 2021 ranging from April 2021 – June 2021.

Looking forward…

  • Canadians will continue to have to contend with COVID-19 with the introduction of the new omicron variant with increased transmissibility which may lead to new restrictions as case counts increase.
  • Continued efforts are required to increase vaccination rates and the uptake of booster shots.
  • Pressures on healthcare systems and healthcare workers due to COVID-19 will likely continue resulting in reduced capacity and access to other healthcare services including cancer care. Modelling results are predicting increases in cancer rates and mortality for colorectal and breast cancer.
  • While the direct impacts of COVID-19 remain front and centre, strategies are also required to support those facing indirect impacts including mental health and substance use and abuse.

Impact on Demographic trends

Demographic changes due the pandemic will have implications for Canada’s society and economy

  • Canada, like other developed countries, is experiencing demographic changes due to the pandemic.
    • Population growth in 2020 fell to levels not seen in 75 years.
  • Annual population growth in 2020 was 0.4% (+149,461):
    • Lowest growth since 1945 (in number) and 1916 (in percent)
    • Only one-quarter of the growth that occurred in 2019 (+575,038).
  • Deaths in 2020 surpassed 300,000 (309,893) for the first time in Canadian history, up 7% from 2019:
    • Natural increase (births minus deaths) fell to its lowest level since at least 1922.
    • The Public Health Agency of Canada reported 15,651 COVID-19 related deaths.

Chart 7: Factors of annual population growth, Canada, 2010 to 2021

Data table 
Factors of annual population growth, Canada, 2010 to 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Factors of annual population growth Population Growth, Natural Increase and Migratory Increase, calculated using persons units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Population Growth Natural Increase Migratory Increase
persons
2010 375,994 142,235 233,759
2011 334,439 131,456 202,983
2012 374,894 136,430 238,464
2013 368,732 129,951 238,781
2014 354,481 129,229 225,252
2015 265,473 117,154 148,319
2016 406,579 121,492 285,087
2017 435,749 105,643 330,106
2018 519,848 92,990 426,858
2019 536,146 89,977 446,169
2020 435,974 73,416 362,558
2021 208,904 52,401 156,503

Low levels of immigration during the pandemic will have implications for employment

  • The contribution of international migration to population growth fell to 58% in 2020.
    • It had accounted for three quarters of growth since 2016.
  • The pandemic’s largest impact on population growth in 2020 reflected lower international migration, specifically, net non-permanent residents.
    • In 2020, immigration was at just over half (184,624) of of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s pre-pandemic target of 341,000.
    • Canada experienced the largest net loss of non-permanent residents (NPR) since at least 1972 (-86,535), due mostly to declines in student and work permit holders.
    • Canada also saw the lowest level of net emigration (11,462) since comparable records have been available.
  • Immigration numbers in 2021 are recovering to pre-pandemic levels.

Chart 8: Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada and net non-permanent residents (NPRs), Canada, 2019 to 2021

Data table 
Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada and net non-permanent residents (NPRs), Canada, 2019 to 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada and net non-permanent residents (NPRs) Immigrants and Net non-permanent residents (appearing as column headers).
Immigrants Net non-permanent residents
2019
Q1 65,957 30,488
Q2 94,281 65,112
Q3 103,719 79,995
Q4 77,235 15,052
2020
Q1 69,133 6,187
Q2 34,070 -24,885
Q3 40,116 -66,762
Q4 41,267 -3,441
2021
Q1 70,467 14,760
Q2 74,353 12,559

The pandemic has affected Canadians' intentions to have children which will have longer lasting fertility impacts

  • Nearly 20% of Canadians aged 25 to 44 want to have children later as a result of the pandemic — 23% among those who were not married or in a common-law relationship compared with 15% of those in a couple.
  • 14% reported wanting fewer children than before — 18% among those not in a couple compared with 12% of those who were married.
  • Some Canadians reported the opposite —  7% of Canadians aged 25 to 44 now want to have children sooner, while 4% want to have more children than prior to the pandemic.

Chart 9: Wants to have a baby later than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic

Data table 
Wants to have a baby later than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Table summary
This table displays the results of Wants to have a baby later than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Yes 17.5
No 82.5

Chart 10: Wants to have fewer children than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic

Data table 
Wants to have fewer children than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Table summary
This table displays the results of Wants to have fewer children than previously planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Yes 13.6
No 86.4

Strong interprovincial migration toward British Columbia and Atlantic Canada – which will have social and economic implications for these regions

  • Interprovincial migration has also begun to return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • British Columbia saw the largest increase in interprovincial migration (+34,277) nationally in 2020/2021. This was also the largest increase since 1993/1994.
  • Conversely, Ontario reported the largest net loss (-17,085) in interprovincial migration.

Chart 11: Population growth rate, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, Canada, provinces and territories

Data table 
Population growth rate, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, Canada, provinces and territories
Table summary
This table displays the results of Population growth rate 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, calculated using Growth rate (%) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2019/2020 2020/2021
Growth rate (%)
Canada 1.2 0.55
Newfoundland and Labrador -0.4 -0.16
Prince Edward Island 2.5 1.84
Nova Scotia 1.2 1.03
New Brunswick 0.8 0.77
Quebec 0.9 0.30
Ontario 1.4 0.54
Manitoba 0.8 0.23
Saskatchewan 0.6 0.05
Alberta 1.3 0.52
British Columbia 1.3 1.08
Yukon 1.9 1.91
Northwest Territories 0.7 0.29
Nunavut 1.5 0.63

Looking forward...

  • Short-term, COVID-19 will have implications on labour shortages, supply of goods and services, housing, and downtowns.
  • The significant drop in the net immigration level will have implications for population growth, labour, since most new immigrants are concentrated in the working age population, and regional distribution of the population since most live in large urban areas.
  • Before the pandemic, immigrants and temporary foreign workers (TFW) filled gaps in Canada’s labour force helping employers respond to vacancies in various sectors including agriculture, accommodation and food services and professional, scientific and technical services sectors. With the cut by half in inflows of new immigrants and TFWs during the pandemic, those sectors are likely aligned with where labour shortages are more acute.
  • Fertility was already at record low levels in 2020—1.4 children per woman—and in some parts of the country such as the Atlantic, natural increase is already at a negative. This means that for so many regions of the country, positive population growth can only be generated through immigration.
  • Longer-term, while harder to predict, we may see higher population growth in the Atlantic, which can be seen to some extent as the “winners”, and slower population growth in the Prairies, in particular in Alberta with the slowdown related to oil.

Assessing the economic recovery

Overall economic activity remains below pre-pandemic levels

  • Real gross domestic product rose 1.3% in the third quarter, but remained 1.4% below pre-pandemic levels.
    • Spurred by strong demand and higher incomes, household spending fueled output growth along with rebounding exports.
    • Non-residential business investment remained subdued, and was almost 11% below pre-pandemic levels.
    • Despite declines in recent quarters, outlays on housing remained elevated compared to pre-COVID levels.

Chart 12: Percentage change in economic activity, selected expenditure components, Q4 2019 to Q3 2021

Data table 
Percentage change in economic activity, selected expenditure components, Q4 2019 to Q3 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage change in economic activity Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Household final consumption expenditure -0.2
Investment in housing 11.0
Non-residential business investment -10.9
Goods exports -6.3
Goods imports 0.5
Real gross domestic product at market prices -1.4

As economy-wide output continues to recover, employment rebounded to pre-COVID levels in the wake of third wave restrictions

  • Economy-wide output strengthened as third wave restrictions eased and consumers spent more on out-of-the-home purchases.
  • Employment growth during the late spring and summer months was led by gains in accommodation and food services as activity levels in hard-to-distance sectors rallied.
  • Total employment recovered to pre-pandemic levels in September, while full-time employment among both core-age men and women had recovered by October.

Chart 13: Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020

Data table 
Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020 Real gross domestic product and Employment, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Real gross domestic product Employment
percent
2020
March -7.4 -5.2
April -17.5 -15.6
May -13.8 -14.0
June -8.8 -9.1
July -6.4 -6.9
August -5.5 -5.8
September -4.6 -3.9
October -4.1 -3.4
November -3.4 -3.1
December -3.4 -3.4
2021
January -2.9 -4.5
February -2.8 -3.1
March -1.6 -1.5
April -2.6 -2.6
May -3.1 -3.0
June -2.4 -1.8
July -2.0 -1.3
August -1.5 -0.8
September -1.4 0.0
October Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0.2
November Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 1.0

The recovery remains uneven across industrial sectors as supply disruptions impact activity

  • After the initial stages of the pandemic, economic losses became increasingly concentrated in lower-wage, high contact services.
  • Professional services with high degrees of telework capacity recovered quickly, while supply disruptions continue to weigh on factory output.
  • As of September 2021, output levels in accommodation and food services remained 12% below pre-pandemic levels, while output in arts, entertainment and recreation industries remained about one third below.

Chart 14: Current output relative to pre-COVID levels (February 2020 to September 2021)

Data table 
Current output relative to pre-COVID levels (February 2020 to September 2021)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Current output relative to pre-COVID levels (February 2020 to September 2021). The information is grouped by Industry (appearing as row headers), Percent change (appearing as column headers).
Industry Percent change
Mining and quarrying 19.9
Offices of real estate agents 14.2
Residential building construction 8.1
Computer systems design 6.3
Finance and insurance 6.0
Wood product manufacturing 4.6
Food manufacturing 3.1
Retail trade 2.8
Oil and gas extraction -0.6
Rail transportation -1.2
All industries -1.4
Food services and drinking places -8.6
Petroleum refineries -10.1
Non-residential building construction -10.6
Accommodation services -20.0
Crop production -27.1
Arts, entertainment and recreation -32.2
Motor vehicles and parts manufacturing -41.4

Employment recovery varies markedly across industrial sectors

  • Employment growth strengthened in the wake of third wave restrictions in the spring. All of the cumulative gains from May to August were in service industries, over half of which reflected higher employment in accommodation and food services.
  • Over half the net employment increase during this three-month period reflected higher employment among 15 to 24 year-olds, led by gains among young women. By August, the employment rate among youth had essentially returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Total employment returned to pre-pandemic levels in September and, as of November, was one percent above levels reported in February 2020 (+186,000). Substantial differences continue to persist across sectors. As of November, net employment losses in accommodation and food services since the start of the pandemic were 202,000, while employment in professional, scientific and technical services has risen by 190,000.

Chart 15: Net employment change, by industry (February 2020 to October 2021)

Data table 
Net employment change, by industry (February 2020 to October 2021)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Net employment change Thousands of persons (appearing as column headers).
Thousands of persons
Professional, scientific and technical services 189.5
Total employed, all industries 185.8
Public administration 109.2
Health care and social assistance 90.0
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing 89.2
Wholesale and retail trade 78.5
Educational services 75.8
Information, culture and recreation 14.2
Manufacturing 12.7
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas 11.0
Utilities -2.6
Transportation and warehousing -8.9
Business, building and other support services -51.0
Agriculture -60.7
Construction -67.9
Other services (except public administration) -90.9
Accommodation and food services -202.1

Financial conditions in the household sector continue to be impacted by COVID

  • Household wealth has risen by $2.8 trillion (+23.1%) during the pandemic, bolstered by gains in equities and housing. The household saving rate has been in double-digit territory for six consecutive quarters, while financial risk ratios, including those for low-income and younger households, remain below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Lower-wealth household and young families have seen disproportionately large increases in their income and wealth.
  • The winding down of emergency support programs may put strains on the inclusiveness of the recovery. Workers in the population groups designated as visible minorities were hit harder by the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic, were more likely to receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments, and are more financially vulnerable as income supports wind down.

Chart 16: Percentage change in household net worth, Q2 2020 to Q2 2021

Data table 
Percentage change in household net worth, Q2 2020 to Q2 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage change in household net worth Mortgage debt, Non-mortgage debt, Financial assets, Real estate and Consumer goods, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Mortgage debt Non-mortgage debt Financial assets Real estate Consumer goods
percent
Highest wealth quintile -0.7 -0.2 10.4 9.0 0.3
Fourth wealth quintile -2.3 -0.8 8.9 13.8 0.6
Third wealth quintile -5.4 0.6 8.1 18.7 1.2
Lowest and second wealth quintiles 7.1 2.2 14.9 13.0 4.5

The number of workers experiencing long-term unemployment remains above pre-COVID levels

  • As of November 2021, long-term unemployment was about three quarters above levels reported prior to the pandemic.
    • 318,000 Canadians have been searching for work or on temporary layoff for 27 weeks or more.
  • In November, workers experiencing long-term unemployment accounted for 25.6% of all unemployed persons, up from 15.6% prior to the pandemic.
  • Over half of the net increase in long-term unemployment reflects higher unemployment among core-aged workers, led by increases among core-age men.

Chart 17: Long-term unemployment

Data table 
Long-term unemployment
Table summary
This table displays the results of Long-term unemployment. The information is grouped by Months since beginning of downturn (appearing as row headers), 1981/1982 recession, 1990/1992 recession, 2008/2009 recession and COVID-19 recession, calculated using Index of unemployed persons who have been searching for work or on temporary layoff for 27 weeks or more units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Months since beginning of downturn 1981/1982 recession 1990/1992 recession 2008/2009 recession COVID-19 recession
Index of unemployed persons who have been searching for work or on temporary layoff for 27 weeks or more
1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
2 103.3 102.7 109.6 84.0
3 109.9 100.2 107.8 73.4
4 123.2 105.6 119.9 84.2
5 121.4 107.9 123.6 99.6
6 117.2 115.8 135.5 123.6
7 128.8 118.7 138.8 129.0
8 129.8 124.7 154.0 173.9
9 128.5 143.5 170.8 252.8
10 137.7 143.9 186.3 253.3
11 152.2 145.0 185.8 280.4
12 159.8 152.7 194.1 285.4
13 182.4 169.2 206.6 257.9
14 219.4 170.5 219.0 259.5
15 236.8 185.2 205.2 271.3
16 260.9 191.9 213.9 266.8
17 277.9 199.1 220.7 266.0
18 292.5 196.3 230.7 235.9
19 311.8 193.8 222.4 220.0
20 322.3 195.6 220.4 217.0
21 330.1 200.6 205.5 211.9
22 346.7 200.4 212.9 177.5
23 341.6 211.0 218.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
24 343.6 221.1 225.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
25 346.8 224.9 208.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
26 321.2 223.4 209.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
27 316.4 232.5 221.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
28 296.0 231.9 215.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
29 293.5 245.3 216.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
30 294.9 245.5 204.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
31 281.7 251.1 208.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
32 285.0 262.9 194.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
33 293.5 254.4 221.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
34 281.4 256.0 208.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
35 286.9 259.3 202.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
36 301.4 265.6 200.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
37 294.2 256.1 202.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
38 292.7 266.2 200.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
39 280.2 265.1 212.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
40 284.5 271.3 201.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
41 287.7 261.5 197.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
42 288.8 259.9 177.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
43 285.2 264.4 176.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
44 273.0 265.1 185.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
45 283.0 258.4 162.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
46 294.2 255.7 179.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
47 283.8 257.9 187.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
48 275.5 236.3 179.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
49 274.7 252.9 187.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
50 258.1 249.2 186.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period

Current business conditions: Significant pressures related to rising input costs and mismatches between labour supply and demand cloud the business outlook

  • Rising input costs related to labour, energy, capital or raw materials were identified as an obstacle in late 2021 by over 40% of businesses.
  • One third of businesses expect labour shortages to be an obstacle, up from 30% and 24% in the previous two quarters.
  • One quarter of businesses expect difficulty sourcing inputs domestically, with another one fifth anticipating difficulties internationally. In both cases, over one half of those businesses expect these challenges to persist for six months or more.

Chart 18: Anticipated business obstacles over the next three months

Data table 
Anticipated business obstacles over the next three months
Table summary
This table displays the results of Anticipated business obstacles over the next three months Q2 2021, Q3 2021 and Q4 2021, calculated using percent of businesses units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2021
percent of businesses
Rising cost of inputs 37.8 38.5 42.5
Recruiting skilled employees 27.8 34.6 35.4
Shortage of labour force 23.8 30.3 32.7
Cost of insurance 26.3 25.3 31.9
Transportation costs 22.8 22.8 30.9
Retaining skilled employees 22.1 24.5 26.1
Fluctuations in consumer demand 26.7 22.6 21.2

Job vacancies remain elevated, highlighting potential mismatches between labour supply and demand

  • While high job vacancies can be an indicator of growing employment, they can also be a signal of high turnover, labour shortages or mismatches between the characteristics of vacant positions and those of available workers.
  • Job vacancies were at record levels in the second quarter and continued to rise into early fall. The job vacancy rate was 6.0% in September.
  • Vacancies were highest in accommodation and food services, where employers were actively recruiting for 196,100 positions. By comparison, there were 76,600 vacancies in this sector during the third quarter of 2019.

Chart 19: Labour demand continues to increase in accommodation and food services

Data table 
Labour demand continues to increase in accommodation and food services
Table summary
This table displays the results of Labour demand continues to increase in accommodation and food services Job vacancies and Payroll employees, calculated using number of job vacancies and payroll employees units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Job vacancies Payroll employees
number of job vacancies and payroll employees
Quarterly series 2021
Q1 2021 56,590 1,300,610
Q2 2021 77,540 1,313,735
Q3 2021 76,605 1,398,200
Q4 2021 61,725 1,364,650
2020
October 52,275 1,050,320
November 43,370 1,032,685
December 43,495 957,110
2021
January 33,015 924,815
February 40,275 844,875
March 71,570 856,235
April 64,510 900,345
May 78,365 921,880
June 123,700 891,265
July 132,800 1,008,410
August 156,755 1,120,270
September 196,050 1,165,225

Consumer inflation accelerates at the fastest pace since 2003 as gasoline, shelter costs and consumer durables put upward pressure on the headline rate

  • While base effects have impacted headline inflation in recent months, consumer prices, measured month-over-month, have steadily increased since the beginning of 2021.
  • Higher prices for gasoline, shelter and consumer durables have all contributed to these recent increases as disruptions continue to impact supply chains in many sectors of the economy.
  • Food prices have also risen in recent months, and were up 4.4%, year-over-year, in November.

Chart 20: Consumer price index

Data table 
Consumer price index
Table summary
This table displays the results of Consumer price index All-items and All-items excluding gasoline, calculated using index level units of measure (appearing as column headers).
All-items All-items excluding gasoline
index level
2018
January 131.7 130.1
February 132.5 130.9
March 132.9 131.2
April 133.3 131.2
May 133.4 131.2
June 133.6 131.5
July 134.3 132.2
August 134.2 132.2
September 133.7 131.7
October 134.1 132.3
November 133.5 132.2
December 133.4 132.5
2019
January 133.6 132.8
February 134.5 133.6
March 135.4 134.1
April 136.0 134.2
May 136.6 134.8
June 136.3 134.9
July 137.0 135.4
August 136.8 135.4
September 136.2 134.8
October 136.6 135.3
November 136.4 135.2
December 136.4 135.2
2020
January 136.8 135.5
February 137.4 136.3
March 136.6 136.3
April 135.7 136.0
May 136.1 135.8
June 137.2 136.5
July 137.2 136.4
August 137.0 136.2
September 136.9 136.1
October 137.5 136.7
November 137.7 137.0
December 137.4 136.6
2021
January 138.2 137.2
February 138.9 137.6
March 139.6 138.0
April 140.3 138.6
May 141.0 139.2
June 141.4 139.5
July 142.3 140.2
August 142.6 140.6
September 142.9 140.9
October 143.9 141.6
November 144.2 141.9

January 2020
Headline consumer inflation: 2.4%
Price growth, excluding gasoline: 2.0%

May 2020
Headline consumer inflation: -0.4%
Price growth, excluding gasoline: 0.7%

November 2021
Headline consumer inflation: 4.7%
Price growth, excluding gasoline: 3.6%

The first circle (April 2020 – August 2020) highlights the reversing trend where the consumer price index begins to rise again, and the second circle (August 2021 – November 2021) highlights the most recent consumer price index data.

Consumer Inflation outpacing wage growth as supply disruptions contribute to rising prices

  • The pace of wage growth in the economy, measured year-over-year, is running well behind the current rate of consumer inflation.
  • Average hourly wages (adjusted for changes in workforce composition due to the pandemic) were up 2.8% in the twelve months to November, while headline inflation accelerated to 4.7%

Chart 21: Average hourly wages (fixed weight, adjusted for composition) and consumer prices

Data table 
Average hourly wages (fixed weight, adjusted for composition) and consumer prices
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average hourly wages (fixed weight AVG HW (fixed weight) and CPI, calculated using index units of measure (appearing as column headers).
AVG HW (fixed weight) CPI
index
2018
January 100.0 100.0
February 100.3 100.6
March 100.5 100.9
April 100.8 101.2
May 101.1 101.3
June 101.1 101.4
July 101.3 102.0
August 101.2 101.9
September 101.5 101.5
October 101.5 101.8
November 101.5 101.4
December 101.8 101.3
2019
January 102.2 101.4
February 103.0 102.1
March 103.2 102.8
April 103.7 103.3
May 103.9 103.7
June 104.4 103.5
July 104.7 104.0
August 104.3 103.9
September 105.3 103.4
October 105.3 103.7
November 105.5 103.6
December 105.3 103.6
2020
January 106.1 103.9
February 106.6 104.3
March 107.1 103.7
April 109.2 103.0
May 109.0 103.3
June 108.2 104.2
July 108.0 104.2
August 107.8 104.0
September 108.0 103.9
October 108.3 104.4
November 108.0 104.6
December 108.4 104.3
2021
January 109.2 104.9
February 109.3 105.5
March 109.2 106.0
April 109.8 106.5
May 109.9 107.1
June 109.6 107.4
July 109.6 108.0
August 109.7 108.3
September 110.2 108.5
October 110.7 109.3
November 111.0 109.5

Average hourly wages (Fixed weight), two-year change,
November 2019 to November 2021: 2.8%

Consumer prices, two-year change,
November 2019 to November 2021: 4.7%

Gray boxes loosely identify the tightening and loosening of public health measures in response to waves of COVID-19. Box one from March 2020 – May 2020. Box 2 from mid November 2020 – mid February 2021. Box 3 from mid March 2021 – mid June 2021.

Sustained increases in new home prices reflect strong demand and rising input costs, putting pressures on affordability

  • Nationally, new home prices rose 11.5% year over year in October.
    • Prices were up in all 27 markets surveyed, with the largest annual increases in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (+29.2%), Ottawa (+24.8%) and Windsor (+21.9%).
  • Strong demand, rising input costs, and limited housing supply has put upward pressure on home prices across the country.
  • Many first-time homebuyers may face significant financial challenges, especially as borrowing and debt-servicing costs begin to rise, while other potential homeowners will be priced out of the housing market.

Chart 22: New home prices, percentage change, month-over-month

Data table 
New home prices, percentage change, month-over-month
Table summary
This table displays the results of New home prices Percentage change (appearing as column headers).
Percentage change
2015
January 0.0
February 0.1
March 0.1
April 0.0
May 0.2
June 0.2
July 0.1
August 0.3
September 0.1
October 0.2
November 0.1
December 0.1
2016
January 0.1
February 0.2
March 0.2
April 0.2
May 0.8
June 0.1
July 0.4
August 0.1
September 0.2
October 0.4
November 0.2
December 0.1
2017
January 0.1
February 0.4
March 0.2
April 0.8
May 0.7
June 0.2
July 0.4
August 0.1
September 0.2
October 0.1
November 0.1
December 0.0
2018
January 0.0
February -0.2
March 0.0
April 0.0
May 0.0
June 0.1
July 0.1
August 0.0
September 0.0
October 0.0
November 0.0
December 0.0
2019
January -0.1
February 0.0
March 0.0
April 0.0
May -0.1
June -0.1
July -0.1
August 0.1
September 0.2
October 0.1
November -0.1
December 0.2
2020
January 0.0
February 0.4
March 0.3
April 0.0
May 0.1
June 0.1
July 0.4
August 0.5
September 1.2
October 0.8
November 0.6
December 0.3
2021
January 0.7
February 1.9
March 1.1
April 1.9
May 1.4
June 0.6
July 0.4
August 0.7
September 0.4
October 0.9

Labour market resilience: Job security will likely be higher among higher-paid and more educated workers, who often hold triple-protected jobs

  • Of employees aged 25 to 64 who were in the top 10% of the wage distribution in 2019, 88% held triple-protected jobs (not temporary, low risk of automation, and resilient to pandemics).
  • The corresponding percentage for their counterparts in the bottom 10% of the wage distribution was 14%.

Chart 23: Percentage of employees aged 25 to 64 in specific job types, by wage decile, 2019

Data table 
Percentage of employees aged 25 to 64 in specific job types, by wage decile, 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of employees aged 25 to 64 in specific job types. The information is grouped by Wage decile (appearing as row headers), Job is not temporary, Job has a low risk of automation, Job is resilient to pandemics and Job is triple-protected, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Wage decile Job is not temporary Job has a low risk of automation Job is resilient to pandemics Job is triple-protected
percent
1st 80.3 15.7 73.0 10.2
2nd 83.3 21.6 79.3 14.3
3rd 87.1 29.6 85.3 22.0
4th 87.1 35.1 84.0 27.6
5th 89.4 40.3 88.6 33.4
6th 91.0 49.9 92.2 42.9
7th 91.4 58.2 92.7 50.8
8th 93.7 70.4 94.5 63.5
9th 94.4 79.2 95.5 72.8
10th 96.7 90.9 97.6 86.9

The interconnectedness of the environment, the economy and society is more apparent than ever, and will require policy makers to consider all three lenses to ensure effective decision-making

  • Economic sectors like oil and gas extraction are major emitters, but so are final consumption activities from households, such as driving gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • There are economic opportunities in responding to climate change: The environmental and clean technology sector contributed 3.3% of GDP in 2020. The composition of that sector’s workforce in 2019 was still predominantly male (64%), and Indigenous participation was focused in the 15 to 24 year age group.
  • Expenditures on environmental protection increased by 15% between 2016 and 2018. Business innovation strategies are increasingly focused on environmental outcomes.

Chart 24: Top 5 greenhouse gas emitting sectors in 2018, Canada

Data table 
Top 5 greenhouse gas emitting sectors in 2018, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Top 5 greenhouse gas emitting sectors in 2018 Kilotonnes of CO2e (appearing as column headers).
Kilotonnes of CO2e
Oil and gas extraction 166,114
Households: Motor fuels
and lubricants
85,383
Crop and animal production
(except cannabis)
78,620
Electric power generation,
transmission and distribution
70,652
Households: Electricity
and other fuels
66,371

Looking forward…

The initial stages of the pandemic coincided with sharp increases in business productivity as businesses invested in digital infrastructure while economic resources were transferred from lower productivity to higher productivity sectors. Productivity has trended down in recent quarters as lower-wage services rebound.

  • Are the productivity impacts of the pandemic, especially those related to investments in digital technology, likely to be short-lived or long-lasting? How would a widespread shift to working from home, after most pandemic-related restrictions have eased, affect the competitiveness of Canadian businesses?

Business innovation is becoming more focused on environmental outcomes—nearly half of businesses reported that they experienced environmental benefits from innovating, with over one third indicating that the innovation had environmental benefits for the consumer or end user.

  • To what extent will investments in clean energy, clean technology and environmental products supplant traditional investments in oil and gas? What are the implications of the clean energy transition for economic growth?

Housing prices have continued to rise steadily in recent months, while consumer inflation is at its highest level in over 18 years.

  • How are emerging pressures related to affordability affecting the financial well-being of Canadian families? How will financial conditions in the household sector evolve in the near term as income support programs wind down?

A key feature of the pandemic has been its unevenness—evidenced by the disproportionate social, economic and health impacts on more vulnerable groups, including low wage workers, recent immigrants, young people and racialized communities.

  • How will the pandemic affect job quality going forward—especially in lower paid sectors that were severely impacted by the pandemic? What does this imply for the unevenness of the recovery over the longer-term?

Statistics Canada – Areas of focus moving forward

Figure 2
  • Disaggregated Data Action Plan: The Agency will further improve the quality and availability of disaggregated data in support of the Government’s commitment to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians to address systemic socio-economic inequities.
  • Census of the Environment: Provide a detailed picture of Canada’s natural assets that will enable informed decision-making regarding the impact of various interventions that aim to protect, rehabilitate, enhance or sustain the country’s natural environment.
  • Quality of Life Framework: Working with Department of Finance to develop new indicators to monitor the quality of life of Canadians.
  • Develop new partnerships and tools, as well as data-collection and analysis methods to monitor and report on trends in the well-being of Canadians, particularly as the country moves from pandemic response to recovery.

For more information and research from Statistics Canada on COVID-19 and other critical policy issues, check out the following…

COVID-19: A data perspective
Canadian Economic Dashboard and COVID-19
COVID-19 in Canada: A One-year Update on Social and Economic Impacts
Interactive data visualizations related to COVID-19

Selected analytical and research publications:

Health Reports
Economic and Social Reports
Insights on Canadian Society

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