Ontario is one of the most popular provinces among newcomers. Its cultural diversity, economic prosperity, and ever-growing job market are just some of the reasons newcomers from across the world choose to settle in Ontario.
The government of Ontario periodically invites newcomers with the skills and experience to meet the province’s growing labour requirements to work and settle in Ontario as Permanent Residents (PR) through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.
This article provides information on Ontario’s job market. This includes the top industries that contribute to its economy, the most in-demand occupations for newcomers in the region, NOC codes, and median wage estimates, so you can arrive prepared to kick-start your career in Canada.
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As you plan your move to Canada, choosing a province to settle down in is a huge decision. While the job market is an important factor to keep in mind, be sure to also research the local culture, major cities in each province, spoken languages, and cost of living in the region. Arrive’s Newcomer Guide to Canada’s Provinces and Territories is a great starting point.
- Services industry: The services sector is the largest contributor to the province’s economy and employs nearly 79 per cent of the people living in Ontario. Some of the key service industries include banking and financial services, professional, scientific and technical services, and arts and culture.
- Manufacturing industry: Ontario’s manufacturing industry is one of the biggest in North America. Some of the most prominent manufacturing industries are automotive, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
- Agriculture: Ontario’s farming sector contributes nearly 25 per cent of Canada’s farm revenue.
- Mining industry: In addition to being one of the world’s top 10 producers of nickel and platinum, Ontario is also rich in gold, silver, copper, zinc, cobalt, and non-metallic minerals. Southern Ontario also has a sizeable oil and gas industry.
- Forestry industry: The forestry industry in the province creates nearly 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
- Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): This is the most populous region in the province, and Toronto is the financial hub of Canada. Other large industries in Toronto and the GTA include technology, real estate, trade, and manufacturing.
- Ottawa: As the capital of Canada, Ottawa offers significant job opportunities in administration. It is also a major centre for the high technology and finance industries.
- Brantford: This city is a manufacturing hub and offers job opportunities in food and beverage manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, rubber and plastic production, and warehousing and distribution. In addition, Brantford also has a growing media and entertainment sector.
- Hamilton: Another manufacturing centre, Hamilton has a large job market in the food processing and agribusiness industry, as well as in advanced manufacturing.
- Waterloo: The Toronto-Waterloo region is often referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley of the North’ and presents significant opportunities in the technology sector.
The in-demand jobs have been compiled based on in-demand occupation lists released by Ontario, priority occupations identified in latest Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program guidelines, and NOCs selected in recent PNP draws. The occupations listed in the sections below are not exhaustive and are subject to change as the labour market needs evolve.
You can also use the Government of Canada’s Job Bank portal to conduct a trend analysis of average wages, eligibility criteria, and job requirements for your occupation in a particular city or province.
Health care jobs in Ontario
- Managers in health care (NOC 0311): Managerial positions in health care typically require a degree in management and pay around $48.21 CAD per hour.
- Registered nurses and psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012): You’ll need a nursing degree and a provincial nursing licence to qualify. The median hourly pay for registered nurses in Ontario is $36 CAD.
- Medical laboratory technologists (NOC 3211): As a lab technologist in Ontario, you can earn a median income of $38 CAD per hour.
- Opticians (NOC 3231): Opticians make between $27 CAD and $34 CAD in Ontario.
- Licensed practical nurses (NOC 3233): Licensed nurses make a median hourly wage of $27 CAD.
- Nurse aides, orderlies, home support workers, and patient service associates (NOC 3413, 4412): For these occupations, the hourly wage ranges between $17.50 CAD and $20 CAD.
Service sector jobs in Ontario
To qualify for service sector jobs, you’ll usually require at least an undergraduate or graduate degree from a university.
- Administrative services managers (NOC 0114): Managerial positions in administration typically pay a median salary of $41 CAD per hour.
- Banking, credit and other investment managers (NOC 0122): Managers in the finance sector earn a median income of $50 CAD per hour. You’ll usually need a degree in management or finance to qualify.
- Advertising, marketing, and public relations managers (NOC 0124): These roles require a degree in marketing or management and pay a median income of $40 CAD per hour.
- Business services managers (NOC 0125): These roles pay an average hourly salary of $43 CAD.
- Corporate sales managers (NOC 0601): Sales manager roles in Ontario can be fairly high paying, with a median hourly wage of $52 CAD per hour.
- Restaurant and food services managers (0631): Compared to other managerial positions, restaurant and food services managers have the lowest median wage at $19.23 CAD per hour.
- Construction managers and managers in transportation (NOC 0711, 0731): Employees in these roles earn a median hourly wage between $38 CAD and $40 CAD.
- Human resources professionals (NOC 1121): HR professionals make an average income of $35 CAD per hour.
- Professional occupations in business management consulting (NOC 1122): In Ontario, business consultants make a median hourly salary of $41 CAD.
- Mathematicians, statisticians, and actuaries (NOC 2161): As a mathematician, you can earn an average of $45 CAD per hour. However, you’ll need an advanced degree in mathematics, statistics, or a related subject.
Technology jobs in Ontario
To work as an engineer in Ontario, newcomers require a licence from the province in addition to an engineering degree.
- Engineering managers, computer and information systems managers (NOC 0211, 0213): Managerial level in-demand jobs in Ontario pay a median hourly wage between $52 CAD and $53 CAD. To qualify, you may require a degree in engineering, management, or both.
- Computer engineers (NOC 2147): As a computer engineer, you can earn a median income of $44 CAD per hour.
- Database analysts, software engineers and designers, computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2172, 2173, 2174): These technology sector roles pay between $40 CAD and $46 CAD per hour in Ontario. While many such positions require an engineering degree, some roles may also be open to applicants with a degree in computer science.
- Web designers and developers (NOC 2175): Web designers in Ontario can earn a median hourly wage of $31 CAD.
Manufacturing jobs in Ontario
- Manufacturing managers (NOC 0911): Managers in manufacturing make a median income of $43 CAD per hour in Ontario.
- Machine operators in the mining and processing, chemicals, plastics, woodworking, and food and beverage industries (NOC 9411, 9416, 9417, 9418, 9421, 9422, 9437, 9446, 9461): Machine operators and process control workers typically earn a median hourly wage between $15 CAD and $23 CAD, depending on the industry they are in.
- Assemblers, fabricators, inspectors, and testers in the electronics and mechanical industries (NOC 9523, 9526, 9536, 9537): The median hourly wage for these jobs is between $16 CAD and $22 CAD.
Agriculture jobs in Ontario
The median hourly wage for in-demand agriculture jobs is between $14.35 CAD and $20 CAD.
- General farm workers (NOC 8431)
- Nursery and greenhouse workers (NOC 8432)
- Harvesting labourers (NOC 8611)
- Industrial butchers, meat cutters, poultry workers (NOC 9462)
The general minimum wage in Ontario as of October 1, 2021, is $14.35 CAD per hour. For student workers, the minimum wage is $13.50 per hour.
The unemployment rate in Ontario in September 2021 was 7.3 per cent. However, the province’s economy is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and, with each quarter, the unemployment rate is inching back towards the pre-pandemic level of under six per cent.
If you’re planning to work in Ontario temporarily, you may be able to qualify for a work permit if your skills align with the province’s in-demand occupations. Ontario also boasts of some of the best universities in Canada and, each year, thousands of students come to Canada on study permits, with the aim of receiving a world-class education and settling permanently in Canada.
Want to learn more about living in Ontario?
Check out our province-specific resources for more information:
- Provincial spotlight: Introduction to Ontario for newcomers
- How to apply for a health card in Ontario
- How to get a driver’s licence in Ontario
- Understanding your rights as a tenant in Ontario
- The school system in Ontario