(March 8/17) Total employment in Canada’s foodservice industry rose to a record 1,244,600 in 2016, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. Foodservice was among the top private-sector job creators in 2016 with employment rising by 11,000 jobs, which is more than double the 5,400 jobs created in 2015. Some other sectors pale in comparison – retail net employment rose by just 2,000 jobs, while manufacturing shed 17,600 jobs. With the increase in employment, restaurants remain the fourth-largest private sector employer in the country.


labour story

Full-time jobs outpace part-time employment

The misperception that foodservice offers mostly part-time employment is just that – a misperception. Full-time employment in the foodservice industry rose by 7,500 to 690,900 in 2016, while part-time employment increased by 3,500 to 553,700. These numbers sharply contrast with overall employment in Canada, where most of the jobs created in 2016 were part time.


More seniors choose to work in restaurants

Foodservice accounts for nearly 7% of all jobs in Canada, and one in five jobs for youth under the age of 25. Young people account for 42% of the restaurant industry workforce and restaurants are the number one source for first-time jobs. Nevertheless, a growing number of seniors are working at restaurants, either to keep active or supplement their income. In 2016, the number of workers 65 years of age and older climbed to a record 23,800. Seniors now account for 1.9% of total foodservice employment compared to just 0.5% in 2000.


Ontario leads the pack

Ontario led the country with the creation of 17,400 foodservice jobs in 2016, after shedding 2,600 jobs in 2015. Foodservice employment in British Columbia rose by a healthy 2,400 jobs. Alberta had no such luck, losing 1,400 foodservice jobs due to the recession and higher minimum wage.


By Chris Elliott, Senior Economist


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