Toronto Region Labour Market News

Service Canada

The Labour Market Monitor is an overview of the Toronto Economic Region including the City of Toronto, and the regional municipalities of Durham, York, Peel and Halton. This monthly report is produced by the local area Labour Market Information Analyst. For further information, contact: Catherine M. Walsh. 

Labour Force Trends/Survey

From December 2008 to December 2009, the labour force in the economic region of Toronto increased by 44,400 due to growth in the working-age population. However, growth was moderated due to a slight drop in the rate of labour force participation. Net employment fell by 25,300 with most of the losses coming from full-time employment (-20,300). The employment rate in the region fell to 61.7%, 1.9 percentage points lower than the same month last year. Unemployment increased by 69,700, leading to a rise in the unemployment rate from 6.8% in December 2008 to 8.8% in December 2009. Over this same period, the provincial unemployment rate rose from 6.4% to 8.3%.

Labour Market News by Industry

Accommodation and Food Services

Longo’s opened a new location in Toronto. This marks the 19th location for the grocery chain in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Duggan's Brewery opened in downtown Toronto.

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Cinespace Film Studios purchased the Consumers Glass plant in Etobicoke in order to transform the space into a film and television studio.

Cineplex Odeon’s Carlton Cinema in Toronto closed. The art-house theatre had been in operation since 1981.


Building Permits

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced 2,367 housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) during the month of November, down 17.3% from November 2008. There were 155 housing starts in the Oshawa CMA during November, up 167.2% from the same time last year.

Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens will undergo a $60 million dollar renovation. Changes to the facility include a 70,000 square foot supermarket, Ryerson University’s Sports and Recreation Centre, underground parking, and a 3,000 seat skating rink. Funding for the renovations will come from Ryerson University students, the federal government, and private donors.

Construction has commenced on 37 kilometres of dedicated bus lanes in York Region. The first section will be completed in 2010 with full completion scheduled for 2013. Funding for the project has been provided by the provincial government.

Construction began on the Sheppard Light-Rail Transit line in Toronto. The 14 km line is the first of seven streetcar lines that will be constructed as part of Transit City. The $950 million project is funded mainly by the provincial government, with the federal government contributing a third of the funding. The line is due to commence service in 2013.

Finance, Insurance and Real Estate and Leasing

Mutual Funds

Canadian mutual fund assets under management increased 2.4% from $573 billion in October to $586.3 billion at the end of November. Net assets increased year over year from $505.3 billion in November 2008.

Real Estate

According to CMHC, the average apartment vacancy rate in the GTA increased to 3.1% in 2009 from 2.1% in 2008. Reasons for the decline in demand include increases in home sales and an increased supply of rental units, as well as decreases in employment and immigration. The average fixed sample rents for a two-bedroom apartment increased by 2.1%.

According to CB Richard Ellis Group, office vacancy rates in Canada have increased to 9.8% in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to 6.7% at the same time last year. The vacancy rate in Toronto increased from 6.8% to 9.4% year over year.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, Greater Toronto Realtors reported 3,079 existing home sales in the first half of the December compared to 1,487 a year ago. Year-to-date sales are up 16% from 2008. Final sales for the month of November totalled 7,446.  

Information and Culture

York Durham Region Heritage Railway received a $158,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant will be used to promote the railway as a tourist attraction and to hire a program coordinator to develop marketing opportunities.


Adamson Systems Engineering Incorporated in Scugog received two separate investments from the federal government's Southern Ontario Development Program (SODP). Funding will be used for new laboratory equipment and facility upgrades. Adamson Systems Engineering develops and manufactures loudspeakers for the touring and installation market.

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

Google Canada announced they would be hiring for their offices in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and Ottawa. Advertised positions include software engineers, administrative assistants, and a new head of industry.

Trade, Wholesale and Retail

According to Statistics Canada, wholesale sales in Ontario dropped by 2.6% from September to October 2009. The decrease was due to lower sales in the automotive and ‘other products’ sectors. Retail sales in Ontario dropped by 0.5% in October, the largest drop since February 2008.

Globalive Communications Corporation’s Wind Mobile opened 18 locations in Toronto. The company plans to increase its workforce from 800 to 1000 by the end of 2009.

Seawell Optical opened a location in Erin Mills.

Dack’s Shoes announced they would be closing all of their remaining locations after 175 years in business. Four locations in Toronto are affected by the closures.

Syd Silver Formals Incorporated announced that they would be closing 17 locations nationwide, including locations in the GTA. Overall, approximately 95 employees and a number of other retailers are affected by the closure.

McNally Robinson Booksellers closed its Don Mills location. The outlet, opened in April 2009, was one of two locations closed as a result of bankruptcy restructuring. A total of 175 jobs will be lost between the two locations.

Transportation and Warehousing

UPS Canada will be hiring 300 new employees for their new Toronto distribution centre in Vaughan. UPS Canada is the second largest employer north of the Toronto border in the Greater Toronto Area. 


Source: Service Canada