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Side menu bar Canadian Labour Market at a Glance 71-222-XWE Table of contents Objective and data sources Glossary References User information PDF version


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | W


Aboriginal (identity)
Refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, i.e. North American Indian, Métis or Inuit (Eskimo), or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada or who were members of an Indian Band or First Nation.

Actual hours worked
Number of hours actually worked by the respondent during the Labour Force Survey reference week, including paid and unpaid hours.

Alternative work arrangements
In this publication, alternative work arrangements comprise: flexible hours, weekend work (Saturdays or Sundays), reduced work weeks and compressed work weeks. Employees who work Monday to Friday, at least six hours per day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., were not asked the question on weekend work.


Baby boomer
A person born from 1946 to 1966.

Baby boom period
The period following World War II (1946 to 1966), marked by a dramatic increase in fertility rates and in the absolute number of births.


Casual job
A job in which work hours vary substantially from one week to the next; or the employee is called to work by the employer when the need arises, not on a pre-arranged schedule; or the employee does not usually get paid for time not worked, and there is no indication from the employer that he/she will be called to work on a regular, long-standing basis.

Census metropolitan area (CMA)
A large urban area (known as urban core) together with adjacent urban and rural areas that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. A CMA has an urban core population of at least 100,000 based on the previous census.

Class of worker
There are two broad categories of workers: those who work for others (employees) and those who work for themselves (self-employed). In this publication, the first group is subdivided into two classes: public sector employees and private sector employees. See public/private sector employees

Compressed work week
A work week in which the hours worked in each day are longer in order to reduce the number of days in the work week.

Constant dollars
Refers to dollars of different years expressed in terms of their value (‘purchasing power') in a single year, called the base year. This type of adjustment is done to eliminate the impact of widespread price changes. Current dollars are converted to constant dollars using an index of price movements. The most widely used index for household or family incomes, provided that no specific uses of the income are identified, is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which reflects average spending patterns by consumers in Canada. To convert current dollars of any year to constant dollars, the current dollars are divided by the index of that year and multiplied by the index of the chosen base year (the numerator contains the index value of the year being moved to).

Current dollars
The dollar value in the current time period.


Days lost from work
The estimated number of days lost per worker per year is calculated by pro-rating the time lost during the Labour Force Survey reference week for personal reasons over the whole year. These estimates apply only to full-time employees who are single jobholders. Personal reasons are own illness or disability and other personal and family demands.

Discouraged searchers
Refers to the people who reported wanting to work at a job or business during the Labour Force Survey reference week and who were available but did not look for work because they believed no suitable work was available.


Earnings (annual)
In charts J62 to J64, annual earnings are from both paid employment (wages and salaries) and self-employment. Wages and salaries for employees include gross earnings from all jobs held as an employee, before payroll deductions such as income taxes, employment insurance contributions or pension plan contributions, etc. Wages and salaries include the earnings of owners of incorporated businesses, although some amounts may instead be reported as investment income. Commission income received by salespersons as well as occasional earnings for babysitting, for delivering papers, for cleaning, etc. are included. Overtime pay is also included.

Economic class immigrant
People who are admitted under the economic class include principal applicants and accompanying spouses and dependants of skilled workers, business immigrants and provincial/territorial nominees. Since 1967, skilled worker principal applicants have been selected for suitability for the Canadian labour force based on an assessment of their skills. The assessment is based on a system that assigns points for age, education, work experience, intended occupation, knowledge of the two official languages and adaptability. Additional points may be given if the principal applicant has pre-arranged employment in Canada. Business principal applicants are assessed for relevant experience as a business owner or manager. In the economic class, spouses and dependent children are admitted along with the principal applicants, without being individually skills-tested.

Economic reason
Refers to the economic reason provided by part-timers for working less than 30 hours. This includes changes in business conditions or could not find work with 30 or more hours.

Educational attainment
Highest level of schooling completed.

A person who works for others. Employees are subdivided into: public sector employees and private sector employees. See public/private sector employees

In charts F43, K65, L71 and L72, employees are paid individuals receiving a T4 slip and include those that are on paid leave. This definition excludes independent contractors.

In charts E31 to E34 and J61, the employee concept includes full-time employees, part-time employees (those who regularly work fewer hours than the standard work week of the establishment). It also includes working owners, directors, partners and other officers of incorporated businesses.

Employed persons are those who, during the Labour Force Survey reference week:

  1. did any work at all at a job or business, that is, paid work in the context of an employer-employee relationship, or self-employment. It also includes unpaid family work, which is defined as unpaid work contributing directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned and operated by a related member of the same household; or
  2. had a job but were not at work due to factors such as own illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, vacation, labour dispute or other reasons (excluding persons on layoff, between casual jobs, and those with a job to start at a future date).

In sections N and O, the reference week refers to the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (e.g., the 2001 Census Day was May 15th).

Employment insurance beneficiary
A person who is entitled to receive employment insurance benefits during a specific week of the month (usually the week containing the 15th day of the month, that is, the week during which the Labour Force Survey is conducted).

Employment rate
The number of persons employed during the Labour Force Survey reference week expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The employment rate for a particular group (age, sex, province, etc.) is the number employed in that group expressed as a percentage of the population for that group.

In sections N and O, the reference week refers to the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (e.g., the 2001 Census Day was May 15th).


Family class immigrant
Family class immigrants include close relatives (spouses, dependent children, parents and grandparents) sponsored by a permanent resident or citizen of Canada who is at least 18 years of age. The sponsored immigrant can be accompanied by a spouse and dependent children. The sponsor must commit to provide for the maintenance of the sponsored immigrants.

Fertility rate (total)
Average number of children per female aged 15 to 49, according to the fertility in a given year computed by the summation of the series of age-specific fertility rates. In other words, it is the average number of children that a woman would have if, throughout her reproductive life, she had the fertility observed in a given year.

Flexible hours
A situation in which an employee works a certain number of core hours where the start and stop times can vary as long as he or she works the equivalent of a full work week.

Full-time employment
Persons who usually work 30 hours or more per week at their main or only job.

Full-time student
People aged 15 to 24 years who are enrolled full time at an educational institution.


G7 countries
A group of seven leading industrialized countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Goods-producing industries
Includes agriculture; forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas extraction; utilities (electric power, gas and water); construction; and manufacturing.

Gross domestic product (GDP)
The total value added of the goods and services produced in the economic territory of a country or region during a given period.


Hourly wages
See wages


Refers to people who are, or have been, landed immigrants in Canada. A landed immigrant is a person who has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Some immigrants have resided in Canada for a number of years, while others have arrived recently. Most immigrants are born outside Canada, but a small number were born in Canada.

Immigrant status
Refers to people who have been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities.

Income (total)
In charts J62 and J63, total income refers to income from all sources including earnings from paid employment or self-employment, investment income, retirement pensions, government transfers, and other income, before deduction of federal and provincial income taxes.

Annual cumulative percentage changes in a variable from a given base year, expressed as an index with the base year equal to 100. An index value of 140, for example, 10 years after the base year, would indicate a 40% increase in the variable over that time period.

The general nature of the business carried out by the employer for whom the respondent works (main job only). If a person did not have a job during the Labour Force Survey reference week, the information is collected for the last job held, providing the person worked within the previous 12 months. Industries are coded according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

In this publication, inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Innovation incidence
Innovation is defined as the introduction of new or substantially improved products, services or processes. The incidence then becomes the proportion of workplaces reporting any type of innovation during the year with respect to the total workplaces within the industry.

Involuntary part-time workers
People who usually work less than 30 hours a week at their main or only job because of poor business conditions or because they could not find work with 30 or more hours.


Job creation partnerships
This type of employment insurance benefit provides insured participants with opportunities to gain work experience that will lead to ongoing employment. Activities of this type of project help develop the community and the local economy.

Job permanency
Beginning January 1997, information is collected by the Labour Force Survey to allow the classification of paid jobs as either permanent or temporary. This classification is based on the intentions of the employer, and characteristics of the job, rather than the intentions of the employee. If a job that was formerly considered permanent is ending in the near future because of downsizing or closure, it is still regarded as permanent.
A permanent job is one that is expected to last as long as the employee wants it, given that business conditions permit. That is, there is no pre-determined termination date.
A temporary job has a predetermined end date, or will end as soon as a specified project is completed. Information is collected to allow the sub-classification of temporary jobs into four groups: seasonal; term or contract, including work done through a temporary help agency; casual job; and other temporary work.

Job tenure
The number of consecutive months or years a person has worked for the current (or, if employed within the previous 12 months, the most recent) employer. The employee may have worked in one or more occupations or in one or more locations, or have experienced periods of temporary layoff with recall and still be considered to have continuous tenure if the employer has not changed. But if a person has worked for the same employer over different periods of time, job tenure measures the most recent period of uninterrupted work.


Labour force
The civilian non-institutional population 15 years of age and over who, during the Labour Force Survey reference week, were employed or unemployed.

Labour force status
Designates the status of the respondent vis-à-vis the labour market: a member of the non-institutional population 15 years of age and over is either employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force.

Labour market agreement
This type of employment insurance benefit includes transfer arrangements under which the province or territory assumes responsibility for the design and delivery of active employment programs similar to Employment Benefits and Support Measures.


Main job
When a respondent holds more than one job or business, the job or business involving the greatest number of usual hours worked is considered to be the main job. The full- or part-time status and industry and occupation information available from the Labour Force Survey refer to the main job, as does information for employees on wages, union status, job permanency, and workplace size.

Median age
The median age is such that exactly one half of the population is older and the other half is younger.

Multiple jobholders (moonlighters)
Persons who, during the Labour Force Survey reference week, were employed in two or more jobs simultaneously.


Natural resources
In this publication, the natural resources sector includes forestry, fishing, mining and oil and gas industries.

Refers to people who are Canadian citizens by birth. Although most were born in Canada, a small number of them were born outside Canada to Canadian parents.

Non-wage benefit
In this publication, non-wage benefits include medical, life/disability or dental insurance plans; employer sponsored pension plans; group registered retirement savings plans; stock purchase plans; and personal or family support programs.

Not in the labour force
Persons who, during the Labour Force Survey reference week, were unwilling or unable to offer or supply labour services under conditions existing in their labour markets, that is, they were neither employed nor unemployed.


Refers to the kind of work persons were doing during the Labour Force Survey reference week, as determined by the kind of work reported and the description of the most important duties. For those not currently employed, information on occupation is collected for the most recent job held within the previous year. The 2001 National Occupational Classification - Statistics (NOC-S) was used to classify occupations.

Other income
In chart J62, other income includes, among others, support payments received (also called alimony and child support), retirement allowances (severance pay/termination benefits), scholarships, lump-sum payments from pensions and deferred profit-sharing plans received when leaving a plan, the taxable amount of death benefits other than those from CPP or QPP, and supplementary unemployment benefits not included in wages and salaries.

Other services
This sector comprises establishments, not classified to any other sector, primarily engaged in repairing, or performing general or routine maintenance, on motor vehicles, machinery, equipment and other products to ensure that they work efficiently; providing personal care services, funeral services, laundry services and other services to individuals, such as pet care services and photo finishing services; organizing and promoting religious activities; supporting various causes through grant-making, advocating (promoting) various social and political causes, and promoting and defending the interests of their members. Private households are also included.

In chart J61, other services excludes religious organizations and private households.

The number of hours worked during the Labour Force Survey reference week in excess of the usual hours reported in the main job. It includes all extra hours, whether done at a premium or regular wage rate, or without pay. Since January 1997, extra hours are collected from employees only, in the form of 2 questions: number of paid overtime hours worked in reference week, and number of extra hours worked without pay.


Paid overtime
Includes any hours worked during the Labour Force Survey reference week over and above standard or scheduled paid hours, for overtime pay or compensation (including time off in lieu).

Part-time employment
Persons who usually work less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job .

Part-time rate
Represents the number of persons employed part time expressed as a percentage of the employed. The part-time rate for a particular group (age, sex, etc.) is the number employed part time in that group expressed as a percentage of the employed for that group.

Part-time student
People aged 15 to 24 years who are enrolled part time at an educational institution.

Participation rate
The labour force (employed plus unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 years and over. The participation rate for a particular group (for example, women aged 25 years and over) is the labour force in that group expressed as a percentage of the population for that group.

Performance level
A measure based on employers' perception of their workplace's attainment on the following dimensions: labour productivity, sales growth, product quality, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Permanent job
See job permanency

Personal reason
In chart G47, personal reasons include own illness, personal or family responsibilities or going to school.

In chart H52, personal reasons include own illness, or personal or family responsibilities.

Professional jobs
Occupations usually requiring university education, such as a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree. These occupations are generally coded as B0, C0, D0, E0 and F0 according to the National Occupational Classification for Statistics 2001. For example, professional jobs include occupations such as accountants, financial analysts, engineers, computer programmers, physicians, lawyers, psychologists, teachers, librarians and journalists.

Public/private sector employees
Public sector employees are those who work in public administration at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, as well as in Crown corporations, liquor control boards and other government institutions such as schools (including universities), hospitals and public libraries. Private sector employees are those who work for a private firm or business.


Recent immigrant
Refers to a person who immigrated to Canada in the 5 years preceding the census, excluding the census year itself (e.g., recent immigrants in 2001 were those who immigrated from 1996 to 2000).

One of the most widely used rules-of-thumb for classifying a recession is that it requires two consecutive quarterly declines in real gross domestic product (GDP).

Reduced work week
A special arrangement is reached with the employer whereby fewer hours are worked every week.

Reference week (Labour Force Survey)
It is usually the calendar week (from Sunday to Saturday) containing the 15th day of the month. The labour force status determined is that of the reference week.

Refugees and persons needing protection are people in or outside Canada who fear returning to their country of nationality or habitual residence. Through its refugee protection system, Canada offers safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Regular employment insurance benefits
Regular benefits are paid to claimants who temporarily or permanently lost their employment. In order to be eligible for regular benefits, a person must have experienced an interruption of earnings, be capable and available for work and unable to find suitable employment.

Retirement age
The Labour Force Survey asks people who are not working, and who have left their last job within the year prior to being surveyed, why they left this job. One possible response is “retired.” The average or median retirement age is calculated from this variable.


Seasonal workers
People who work in an industry where employment levels rise and fall with the seasons (e.g., farming, fishing, logging and the tourist industry).

Refers to a group of industries. See industry

Are working owners of an incorporated business, farm or professional practice, or working owners of an unincorporated business, farm or professional practice. The latter group also includes self-employed workers who do not own a business (such as babysitters and newspaper carriers). Self-employed workers are further subdivided by those with or without paid help. Also included among the self-employed are unpaid family workers. They are persons who work without pay on a farm or in a business or professional practice owned and operated by another family member living in the same dwelling. They represented 1% of the self-employed in 2005.

Self-employment benefits
This type of employment insurance (EI) benefit provides financial assistance and business planning advice to EI-eligible participants to help them to start their own business. This financial assistance is intended to cover personal living expenses and other expenses during the initial stages of the business.

Self-employment rate
The number of persons who are self-employed (including unpaid family workers) expressed as a percentage of the employed. The self-employment rate for a particular group (age, sex, etc.) is the number self-employed in that group expressed as a percentage of the employed for that group.

Services-producing industries
Includes trade; transportation and warehousing; finance, insurance, real estate and leasing; professional, scientific and technical services; business, building and other support services; educational services; health care and social assistance; information, culture and recreation; accommodation and food services; other services; and public administration.

Support measures
This type of employment insurance benefit includes, among other things, funding to organizations to enable them to provide employment services to unemployed persons (e.g., counselling, job search skills); funding to assist employers, employee or employer associations, and communities with improving their capacity for dealing with human resource requirements and to implement labour force adjustments; and funding for activities that identify better ways of helping people prepare for or keep employment and to be productive participants in the labour force.


Targeted wage subsidies
This type of employment insurance benefit assists eligible unemployed individuals to obtain on-the-job work experience by providing employers with financial assistance towards the wages of insured participants that they hire. This benefit encourages employers to hire unemployed individuals that they would not normally hire in the absence of a subsidy.

Temporary job
See job permanency

Term or contract job
A job that is not seasonal and in which there is a definite indication from the employer before the job was accepted that the job will terminate at a specific point in time, or at the end of a particular task or project. This includes work done through a temporary help agency.

In this publication, this covers all types of training intended to develop employees' skills and/or knowledge through a structured classroom training or on-the-job training whether it takes place inside or outside the workplace.

Training, skill loans and grants
This type of employment insurance benefits provides direct financial assistance to insured participants to enable them to select, arrange for, and pay for their own training.

Type of work
Full-time or part-time work schedule. See full-time and part-time employment


Unemployed persons are those who, during the Labour Force Survey reference week, were on temporary layoff with an expectation of recall and were available for work; or were without work, had actively looked for work in the past four weeks, and were available for work; or had a new job to start within four weeks from reference week, and were available for work.

Unemployment rate
Number of unemployed persons during the Labour Force Survey reference week expressed as a percentage of the labour force (unemployed plus employed). The unemployment rate for a particular group (age, sex, province, etc.) is the number unemployed in that group expressed as a percentage of the labour force for that group.

In sections N and O, the reference week refers to the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (e.g., the 2001 Census Day was May 15th).

Unionization rate
Employees who are members of a union and those that are not union members but are covered by a collective agreement or a union contract as a proportion of all employees.

Unpaid overtime
Time spent directly on work or work-related activities over and above scheduled paid hours. These must be extra hours worked for which the respondent received no additional compensation.

Usual hours worked
Usual hours for employees refer to normal paid or contract hours worked, not counting any overtime. For the self-employed and for unpaid family workers, usual hours refer to the number of hours usually worked by the respondent in a typical week, regardless of whether they were paid.


Beginning January 1997, information is collected by the Labour Force Survey on the usual wage or salary of employees at their main job. Respondents are asked to report their wage/salary before taxes and other deductions, and include tips, commissions and bonuses. Weekly and hourly wages/salary are calculated in conjunction with usual paid work hours per week.

Weekly earnings (average)
In chart J61, average weekly earnings are derived by dividing total weekly payrolls (including overtime) by the payroll employment (the sum of hourly, salaried and other employees).

In chart N81, average weekly earnings is the sum of wages and salaries reported for the calendar year preceding the census (excluding any income from self-employment or agricultural work), divided by the number of weeks worked during the year.

Working-age population
The portion of the population that is 15 years of age or older.

Work sharing benefits
This type of employment insurance benefit is designed to deal with situations in which an employer is required to reduce his/her work force temporarily. Work sharing offers an alternative; instead of a lay-off for selected employees, the program provides for a reduction in the working hours of an entire group while the financial loss to the individuals involved is partially offset by “work sharing benefits”.

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Date modified: 2006-06-01 Important Notices