Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Taseko Mines laid off 7 per cent of its 700-person work force at Gibralter Mine in B.C. earlier this year

From copper miners to the oil patch, plunging commodity prices are taking a toll on employment in Western Canada – a trend employers see persisting for at least another three months.

While most Canadian companies expect relatively steady hiring in the next quarter, miners in Western Canada are more likely to cut staff, the latest Manpower Inc. employment survey shows.

Across all sectors, 18 per cent of employers say they are looking to hire in the upcoming quarter, while only 5 per cent anticipate downsizing. Taking into account the seasonal adjustment, the net Canadian employment outlook is at 10 per cent, unchanged from last quarter and one percentage point higher than a year ago.

Story continues below advertisement

The net employment outlook is the percentage of employers expecting to bring on more staff, minus the percentage of employers expecting to cut back.

"I can't say that it's strong from a year-over-year [comparison], when you've got a one-point percentage increase," Michelle Dunnill, branch manager of Manpower's Toronto office, said,"but given our challenges that are transpiring right now, [we're] cautiously optimistic."

But collapsing commodity prices – with oil down more than 50 per cent from a year ago – are dragging down expectations in the mining and energy sectors.

One in five Canadian oil and gas companies have said they might have to cut staff as prices slide, according to Ms. Dunnill.

The net employment outlook for the mining sector, which includes some oil sands firms, is 1 per cent, a four-percentage-point quarterly decline and a drop of nine percentage points year over year.

And for miners in Western Canada, the prospects are far bleaker. Hiring intentions were negative for the first time since analysis began in 2004, with an outlook of -5 per cent.

It's not only oil producers feeling the squeeze. Taseko Mines Ltd., a copper producer, was forced to lay off 7 per cent of its 700-person work force at Gibraltar Mine in B.C. earlier this year.

Story continues below advertisement

"That's a large number of workers in a small town in the Central Interior of B.C.," said Brian Battison, Taseko's vice-president of corporate affairs.

"We would like to see that price turn around and become a little stronger," he said. "But in the mean time, when you're not making money, you have a hard time expanding the work force."

Ryan Montpellier, executive director at the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, said the mining sector is hurting, noting the coal sector in northeastern B.C., the iron ore sector in Quebec and the oil sands as areas that have been hit particularly hard.

"There's no doubt about it. The industry is struggling at the moment," he said. "I think there's been something in the neighbourhood of 2,000 to 3,000 layoffs that have been announced in the course of the last six months or so."

Despite the current downturn, Mr. Montpellier anticipates the need to hire more than 120,000 workers over the next 10 years.While the bulk of those hires will replace retiring miners, the organization expects almost 20,000 new jobs to be created. He expects the downsizing trend to reverse itself when prices recover.

On the positive side of Canadian hiring trends, employers in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are particularly eager to bring on more staff. Nineteen per cent will be looking to hire before the end of June.

Story continues below advertisement

The transportation and public utilities sector is also poised for strong growth, with a 14-per-cent net employment outlook.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies