COVID-19 impact on rural employment in Ontario to January, 2021

Date: February 16, 2021

Author: Ray Bollman

COVID-19 Impact on Rural Employment: Ontario in the Canadian context up to January, 2021 highlights the impact on rural Ontario with a comparison to the impact on rural employment in other provinces.

This is a continuation of our special series of Focus on Rural Ontario” with extensive tables related to economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as reflected in employment statistics. This release presents data collected by Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey during the week of January 10 to the 16 2021. As the data show, the second wave was hitting some sectors with a vengeance.

Factsheet Highlights


In January, 2021, the COVID-19 impact on rural employment in Ontario is estimated be -2.7% which was a wider job gap than the -1.7% gap reported in December, 2020.

Ontario’s rural employment gap of -2.7% ranks third behind Alberta’s rural employment gap of -10.8%, Manitoba’s rural employment gap of -5.3% and Quebec’s rural employment gap of -3.8%.

Ontario’s job gap of -2.7% represents a gap of -16 thousand workers. This ranks third compared to the job gap of -33 thousand in rural Alberta and the job gap of -25 thousand in rural Quebec.

Within rural Ontario, the estimated employment gap varies widely across sectors. The sector with the largest gap in the number employed the accommodation and food services sector. The sector with the largest gap in number employed is the information, culture and recreation sector.

​At the other end of the scale is the on-going growth in rural employment in construction which began in 2019. Since February, 2021, there has been only one month (August 2020) when rural employment in the construction sector was below the historical (or expected) levels.

The she-cession continues. Within rural Ontario, the job gap for females is larger than the job gap for males in most months for most age groups. When rural females are compared to urban females, rural females have a larger job gap than urban females September - November 2020 and in January 2021.