The number of people commuting to work decreased in 2021

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The number of people commuting to work fell in 2021

Telecommuting has contributed to the sharp drop in the number of workers commuting to the office.

Statistics Canada says there were 2.8 million fewer people who traveled to work last year compared to 2016, in particular due to the pandemic which has democratized telework.

In new data from the 2021 Census of Population, the federal agency points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways Canadians commute to work. The number of people using the car, public transit and active modes of transportation, such as walking and cycling, all decreased last year compared to 2016.

With fewer cars on the road, travel times have also dropped. Statistics Canada notes, however, that these are starting to rise again this year, even if they remain lower than they were in 2016.

The Future Skills Centre's Director of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Exchange, Tricia Williams, emphasizes that the pandemic is a tale of multiple stories.

When you look at a lot of middle-class workers, their lives may not have changed all that much, Ms. Williams observes. But there is a large segment of the population that has benefited from more flexible workplaces.

Census figures illustrate this dichotomy well. The drop in the number of car trips in May 2021 is mainly attributable to professionals in the service sector. Among other workers, the number of motorists has rather increased.

Due to the evolving pandemic situation and working from home, Statistics Canada has also compared its 2021 Census data with new figures collected last spring. These most recent polls show that in May 2022, the number of people who used the car to get to work was back at 2016 levels.

The number however, the number of workers favoring public transit remained lower than in 2016, in addition to representing only 7.7% of all workers.

One million Canadians mostly used public transit to get to work in 2021, which is lower than the 1.2 million people who chose this route when the data began to be counted in 1996. This also represented 50 % fewer people than in 2016.

In 2021, most public transport services were back to normal service, apart from the addition health measures such as wearing a mask on buses and trains.

Between 2016 and 2021, the number of people opting to walk or cycle to work fell by 26%, to 811,000 individuals. Statistics Canada explains this in part by a decrease in employment in the accommodation, food service and retail sector in 2021 – nearly one-third of those who enjoyed cycling or walking worked in these settings in 2016.< /p>

Tricia Williams says that as the pandemic winds down and business resumes, workers remain hesitant to give up working from home.

I think we will continue to see this flexibility in the new normal of workplaces, she analyzes.

Other data released by Statistics Canada reveal that the workforce #x27;work ages domestically.

The labor force participation rate has fallen every year since 2006 due to the aging of the boom generation. Moreover, by combining the growing health care needs of boomers with the impact of the pandemic, the pressure is very strong on the health network.

The The number of healthcare workers has increased by nearly 17% between 2016 and 2021, but the pressure is so great that we continue to face labor shortages in the system.< /p>

Given the importance of demographic changes in economic growth, particular attention will continue to be paid to the extent to which immigration can mitigate the effects of an aging population, it reads. in the federal agency's report.

Between 2016 and 2021, 1.3 million immigrants were welcomed to Canada, more than in any other period five years in the past.

Experts have long lamented that immigrant labor is underutilized. However, the gap in unemployment rates between immigrants and the rest of the population tends to decrease among those aged 25 to 64.

In 2021, the difference was 3.2 percentage points, which represents an improvement compared to the 5% observed in 2016.

One ​​of the possible explanations put forward by Director General Labor Market, Education and Socioeconomic Well-being at Statistics Canada, Josée Bégin, is the high level of education of the immigrant workforce.

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