Third set of Fact Sheets looks at infrastructure assets in rural Ontario

Date: November 25, 2019

​The two new Fact Sheets published today look at the changes in the numbers and mix of the workforce reflected in different “skill groups” according to the credentials and qualifications held in 2006 versus 2016. 

The changes are compared in non-metro, partially non-metro and metro geographies and largely, the trends are similar but happening at different rates. Non-metro geographies as a whole are shifting more slowly than Ontario in the increasing requirements for university degrees. However, non-metro geographies are experiencing a faster rise in the proportion of college diploma or apprenticeship requirements. 

Breaking down the changes among 19 sectors reveals that the shifts are not uniform – sometimes moving in opposing ways or moving up much more appreciably in some sectors than others. This suggests that a closer look at the changing mix of occupations in each sector is warranted and data at that level will be presented in Fact Sheets that will be published later in this series.  

This data is important as rural Ontario businesses have been raising concerns over their ability to find employees with the right skill sets to fill positions in their companies. This is often doubly difficult because it is happening in a context with a shrinking proportion of people in the core workforce due to an aging demographic. Many local economic development departments are working with other agencies and training institutions to better match their region’s workforce with available jobs and/or attract workers with appropriate credentials.   

The analysis picks up on other potentially important trends, such as the drop in non-metro areas in the occupation group that includes managers and self-employed individuals. Most of the decline is concentrated in the two sectors of retail trade and agriculture, due, in large part, to the decline in the number of self-employed owner/operators. This raises questions of business succession and reflects unique sector-specific dynamics. Part of the drop is explained by fewer owner/operated retail stores, likely as a consequence of changing retail sales patterns, as well as the reduction in the number of farmer-owned operations resulting from farm consolidation.

Shifts in the kinds of occupations, types of work and the prerequisite for certificates or degrees to qualify for employment are an ever-evolving characteristic of the economy. Broadly, the trends of decreasing manual labour ushered in by the industrial revolution, along with advances in information technology and the rising share of service rather than goods-producing industries, has brought along with it the requirement for more knowledge workers and training. There is also a parallel phenomenon of “credentialism” where jobs once requiring high school diplomas now require university degrees. These Fact Sheets explore the scale and direction of these changes over the last ten years. 

Change in Skill Levels by Industry Fact Sheets are here: 
Change in Occupation Mix - All Sectors 2006-2016
Change in Occupation Mix - Overview 2006-2016

As always, we welcome questions, comments and discussion of the Fact Sheets, so please get in touch. It is important for us to be able to communicate the value of ROI providing the information in our Fact Sheet series so we would greatly appreciate you dropping us a short note saying how you are utilizing the information. Please send any comments, criticisms and/or feedback to

Focus on Rural Ontario Fact Sheets are based on Statistics Canada data and are part of a long-running series that profile key facts and figures on topics such as population change, immigration/migration patterns, youth employment and economic trends. All Focus on Rural Ontario Fact Sheets are available for download at