New survey asks key questions to better understand local labour markets

The City of London, along with regional stakeholders from across the London Economic Region (The City of St. Thomas, Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin counties) have commissioned a research study, Labour Survey 2021, to better understand the labour market participation and the potential availability of skilled individuals to join the workforce.

 “London’s regional economy has proven itself among the most resilient in all of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic, recovering more jobs – and at a faster rate – than Ottawa, Toronto, KW, Guelph, Hamilton, and Windsor. We’re also one of only three communities across the province to have more people employed today than we did at the start of the first lockdown last March,” says London Mayor Ed Holder. “We know there is more we can do, and more we want to do, in order to grow our economy even further, and this study - born out of the London Jobs Now Task Force - is a key piece of that effort. It is my belief this research will provide a clear focus for the development of future strategies and programs related to increasing our labour pool.”

 Historically (and pre-COVID-19), the London Economic Region has had one of the lowest labour market participation rates in Ontario, while at the same time job opportunities continued to increase. Local employers in the region continue to experience significant difficulties in filling vacant positions. Local communities’ ability to better understand the regions’ labour market participation, as well as the size of our labour pool will help address this imbalance.

“The issue of a high rate of non-participation in the labour market became a focal point in 2016, and while there has been improvement since then, our non-participant rate still means that there are many people who are not part of the labour market,” according to Debra Mountenay from the Workforce Planning and Development Board. “Employers will continue to be looking for workers, especially during this year as the local economy recovers. The best time for someone to find a great job is when demand for workers is up, and we are looking to this study to give us the answers regarding what keeps people out of the labour market.”

 Although the global pandemic delayed the initial launch of this survey, which was slated to begin last year, the research findings will provide timely information as we turn our attention towards economic and social recovery. The survey focuses on engaging individuals of prime working age (25-54) who are not actively involved in our labour market and includes an outward bound phone survey along with an online survey option available at

 “The imbalance in our labour market is not only a London issue, but a regional one,” says Jack Smit, Employment Strategies, Social Services for the City of London. “This research will help inform both local and regional planning efforts as it relates to our economic development and the strengthening of our workforce. Our goal is to help build a strong economic region where everyone wanting to work is provided that opportunity. This survey will give us an insight into why skilled individuals are not participating in the labour market and help us design policies and practices to engage the talents of our community’s workforce.”

 This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. The survey is being conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper on behalf of the London Economic Region.

Additional Quotes:

 The Honourable Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

Every day, there are thousands of rewarding jobs in the London area that are going unfilled.  When hardworking people find meaningful jobs, it leads to better lives, stronger families, and communities we can all be proud of. I’m on a mission to connect workers with the good jobs we know are available and I’m pleased to see the City of London taking action to make this happen.”

Middlesex County Warden, Cathy Burghardt-Jesson

“Middlesex County is home to a wide array of businesses, from multi-national corporations to locally owned, family operated companies offering plenty of opportunity for employment. It’s our hope to use this survey as a tool to assist our business community in updating their approach to engaging the current labour market.”

 Oxford County Warden, Larry Martin

“A strong labour market ensures economic wellbeing, community wellbeing, and individual wellbeing. Oxford County recognizes that working with our local and regional partners is the best way to understand and respond to the evolving needs of our region. We encourage workers in Oxford to take the time to complete this survey so that we have as full a picture as possible in planning for our future labour needs.”

 Elgin County Warden, Tom Marks

“Connecting rural employers with skilled workers is a top priority for Elgin County Economic Development.  Our businesses need access to the right people with the right skills in order to be successful and to ensure our economy thrives. This survey will provide us with the data we need to move towards closing the labour force gap in our region.”

St. Thomas Mayor, Joe Preston

St. Thomas continued growth requires all to concentrate on Smart Growth in all sectors especially employment.  We are increasing in population, in housing starts and in commercial and industrial growth. We must ensure we have a work force available and prepared for this growth.

Last modified:Monday, February 22, 2021