There’s good news on the horizon for Canadian job seekers in two of the hardest-hit sectors that were affected by COVID-enforced lockdowns and restrictions put in place by the government. Despite government increasing public health measures in May, Canada’s accommodation and food services sector still had the highest number of employers looking for workers. This resumption in services came as a welcome relief as many business owners and workers in this industry have suffered tremendously over the past 18 months as businesses were closed or operated under severe restrictions. An increase in hotel occupancies and restaurant patrons is much needed.

Health sector employers are actively recruiting.

Conversely, it should be no surprise that the health sector had the highest number of open positions across the country. Canadian employers were actively recruiting for an estimated 671,100 jobs in May—the primary factor being the COVID pandemic and patient recovery and care. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the health sector had the highest number of job openings in Canada for the seventh consecutive month. There were about 107,300 open healthcare positions in May, making up almost one-sixth of all job vacancies.]

Tourism services and restaurants are battling to fill staff quotas.

Despite jobs aplenty, many employers, especially in the food service industry, but to an extent in tourism and retail, are reporting difficulty recalling their current staff members since restrictions have been eased. Or they are facing recruitment challenges finding new employees since they’ve been given the go-ahead to resume service. They are reporting previous employees who’d been laid off during the height of restrictions and forced to seek social assistance are now wary of a return to the respective industry.

They have health concerns, with these sectors being reliant on face-to-face human interaction, and worry about long-term career sustainability should a resurgence in COVID cases and lockdowns mean they get laid off again. As a result, many are reassessing their lifestyles, goals or have used the time off to study and follow different career paths. With tourism unlikely to reach 2019 levels globally for some time to come, the restrictions in travel also mean that restaurants, in particular, as well as retail shops can’t rely on international students as seasonal workers.

As a result, accommodation and food services had the second-highest number of openings at some 78,000, followed by the retail trade, which had 73,800 job vacancies.

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