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Sector Spotlight: Information & Communication Technology

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According to the Canadian Information and Communication Technology Council, Information & Communication Technology Sector (ICT) includes goods and services that process, transmit or receive information. These are technologies related to software, hardware, computer services, telecommunications, microelectronics etc. ICT is prevalent in e-commerce, e-learning, e-health, wireless multimedia and digital entertainment, in addition to emerging technologies such artificial intelligence. ICT sector in Canada includes services, manufacturing, wholesale, rental and leasing.

ICT has the potential to be a growth sector for Durham Region. Durham Region has multi-fold advantages in positioning itself to be a technological hub close to Toronto, even more as the economy transitions into a knowledge based one. Durham Region is home to some of the fastest rising businesses and start-ups in the GTA.

In Durham Region ICT strategies at the municipal level are more evolved compared to the existing regional ICT strategy. For example, Town of Whitby has formulated a broadband strategy and the City of Oshawa was a participant in the federally implemented Smart Cities Challenge.

Durham Sector Overview:

  • Wireless telecommunications carriers comprise of nearly half of the employment in the ICT industry in Durham Region.
  • The second largest sub-industry by employment are the Wired telecommunication carriers contributing to one-fifth of the employment.
  • Wireless telecommunication carriers such as Bell and Rogers also provide wired telecommunications services such as broadband connections etc
  • Information systems analysts and consultants ranks at the top among the ICT occupations in Durham Region, with 725 employees.
  • More than 50 percent of employees in each of the subsectors either have a college diploma or a bachelor’s degree, indicating the need for specialized knowledge to carry out the functions needed in these industries.
  • The primary working-age group is ages 25-44 years. This is highest in telecommunications where nearly 60 percent of employees are in this age group. Employees who are 24 or under generally form less than 10 percent of the employee composition in each of the sub-sectors.

Employment in Durham Region in 2016 grew to 5,240 from 5,225 in 2011. Durham Region is ideally placed to connect and take advantage of the ICT Hub of Toronto. The availability of educational opportunities in the sector within the Region implies that further growth potential in forthcoming, especially if it is accompanied by appropriate ICT investment and infrastructure throughout Durham Region.

The DWA is one of a network of 26 Workforce Planning Board areas across the province.

Workforce Planning Boards gather intelligence about the supply of labour and the demand side of the local labour market by working with employers to identify and meet their current and emerging skills needs. The primary role of Workforce Planning Boards is to help improve understanding of and coordinate community responses to labour market issues and needs.

December 2020 Labour Force Report

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The Durham Workforce Authority is releasing the December 2020 edition of the Durham Labour Force Report. This report provides accurate, timely, and easy to understand labour market information for the stakeholders of Durham Region. It is updated monthly with information that enables businesses, policy makers and our community at large to better understand the evolving impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our labour force. This includes a breakdown and trend analysis of employment by industry and a fact sheet to help understand how the data is collected and disseminated.

The December 2020 report presents some interesting numbers, including;

  • an increase of 2,300 individuals not participating in the labour force,
  • a decrease of 1,900 individuals in the total labour force,
  • a decrease of 500 employed residents.

The Labour Force Report is informed by data from Statistics Canada on the Oshawa CMA, which includes
Clarington, Whitby, and Oshawa.

View the December 2020 report here; https://durhamworkforceauthority.ca/labour-force-report/

Census Metropolitan Unemployment Rates Across Ontario

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The Unemployment Rate Comparison graph provides a visual display of the monthly unemployment rates for various Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) across Ontario.  The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force. Estimates are percentages, rounded to the nearest tenth.

The Oshawa CMA is comprised of Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington. The Oshawa CMA is used as a data proxy in Durham Region as Pickering, Ajax and Uxbridge are part of the Toronto CMA and Brock and Scugog are not surveyed in the monthly report due to population size. The Oshawa CMA includes the most Durham Region residents and provides the best depiction of the labour market in the Region as a whole.

The Unemployment Rate Comparison graph reflects many of the job losses and recoveries experienced across various areas in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, largely due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While all areas saw a spike in unemployment around March, we saw a gradual decline throughout the summer and into the autumn months as various businesses began to re-open after the first wave of the virus.  While Windsor CMA had a major spike through the spring, the rate has gradually fallen in line with the other CMAs, now sitting at 9.7%.  Peterborough, Barrie, Toronto and Windsor all fall fairly close together as of November between 9.7% and 10.7%.

In Ontario, the highest unemployment rate in November 2020 was 10.7% in the Peterborough CMA.  The lowest unemployment rate on the chart is 7.6% in both London and Hamilton CMAs.   Oshawa CMA sits at 7.8%.   Looking forward, the data should begin to reflect some of the effects of the pandemic’s second wave on unemployment across Ontario in the coming months.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table  14-10-0095-01, Labour force characteristics by census metropolitan area, three-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality (November 2020).

Sector Spotlight: Health & Biosciences

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The Durham Region health and biosciences sector encompasses a variety of businesses, including medical research, development of pharmaceuticals, digital health, precision medicine, development and manufacturing of medical health devices with technological elements such as artificial intelligence, and the healthcare system itself.

The health and biosciences industry generate significant economic growth annually, representing 11 percent of Canada’s annual GDP in 2016 (Government of Canada, 2018a). In order to remain globally competitive and promote an innovation economy with better health outcomes, Canada must engage in health research and digital technologies to boost economic productivity, enable the commercialization of technologies and strengthen the national health system.

Health and bioscience are a growth sector and a major employer across Durham Region. The sector depends on several allied and sub sectors to support growth such as life science, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, regional healthcare, post-secondary institutions and multimodal transportation. This cross-sectoral approach supports sub-sectors by utilizing resources and existing partnerships.

Highlights of the Durham Sector:

  • The largest proportion of health and bioscience sector jobs in the Durham Region belong to registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, representing 3175 employed persons
  • The highest paying positions are from the industry are ‘Other ambulatory health care services’, consisting of ambulance services and other services related to emergency medical care. The majority of employed workers in the Region in this sector are working in hospitals
  • There are over 2000 businesses relevant to the health and biosciences sector in the Durham Region, with the majority having less than four employees. Most businesses in this sector are from ambulatory health care services, representing direct or indirect healthcare services to ambulatory patients, such as physicians, dentists and medical laboratories.
  • When examining the health and biosciences sector in Durham Region by industry, nearly 97 percent of employees have a certificate, diploma or degree. Nearly 44 percent of employees have a college diploma or equivalent, while nearly 33 percent of employees have a university certificate, degree or equivalent.

The DWA is one of a network of 26 Workforce Planning Board areas across the province.

Workforce Planning Boards gather intelligence about the supply of labour and the demand side of the local labour market by working with employers to identify and meet their current and emerging skills needs. The primary role of Workforce Planning Boards is to help improve understanding of and coordinate community responses to labour market issues and needs.

Sector Spotlight: Agri-Business

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The agriculture and agri-food sectors are defined as a distinct group of farms and companies that grow, harvest, process and distribute food, beverages and bio products. Often, the term agri-business is used to describe companies that supply goods and services to the agriculture sector – equipment dealers, feed and seed suppliers and veterinarians. The Durham Region agri-business sector supports agriculture, agriculture production, food processing and distribution, food service and food retail.

Agri-Business encompasses the entire agriculture supply chain, from the process of creating a product, to the sale of the product to the consumer. According to Statistics Canada (2017a), the agricultural industry, involves only the growing of crops, raising of animals and aquaculture and related support activities such as the harvesting of crops. However, agri-business includes the processing and distribution of agricultural goods, including the manufacturing of food products, retail stores and restaurants that serve local food. Examples of agri-business establishments include farms, pick-your-own agritourism, abattoirs and specialty food stores.

  • there has been a 17.8 % growth in the Durham Region for total gross farm receipts between 2011 to 2016, indicating that there is an increase in the local agri-business sector due to more sales.
  • According to the Census of Agriculture (2016), many farms do report technology use. Nearly 700 farms reported computers and laptops for farm management and over 500 farms reported smartphone or tablet use for farm management
  • The industry that employs the most persons in agri-business are full-service restaurants and limited service eating places, which employ 14,385 persons.
  • Most Durham Region-based businesses in the agri-business sector are food services and drinking places, encompassing restaurants, cafes and fast-food eating places.
  • Most workers (78%) in Durham Region agri-business by industry have at minimum, a certificate, diploma or degree. A significant proportion of workers have a secondary school diploma or equivalent (44%), followed by a college or non-university certificate or diploma (19%).
  • For industries such as food manufacturing, the age proportions are relatively similar, but for farms, most workers are 55 years and over. Certain industries such as food services and drinking places have higher proportions of youth (15 to 24 years), likely due to the part-time or temporary nature of most positions and the lesser work experience required for employment in these industries.

The DWA is one of a network of 26 Workforce Planning Board areas across the province.

Workforce Planning Boards gather intelligence about the supply of labour and the demand side of the local labour market by working with employers to identify and meet their current and emerging skills needs. The primary role of Workforce Planning Boards is to help improve understanding of and coordinate community responses to labour market issues and needs.

November 2020 Durham Labour Force Report

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The Durham Workforce Authority has released the November 2020 edition of the Durham Labour Force Report.  This report provides accurate, timely, and easy to understand labour market information for the stakeholders of Durham Region. It is updated monthly with information that enables businesses, policymakers and our community at large to better understand the evolving impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the labour force in Durham Region.  This includes a breakdown and trend analysis of employment by industry and a fact sheet to help understand how the data is collected and disseminated.

The November 2020 report presents some encouraging numbers, including;

  • an increase of 3,100 individuals not participating in the labour force,
  • a decrease of 2,700 individuals in the total labour force,
  • a decrease of 700 employed residents.

The Labour Force Report is informed by data from Statistics Canada on the Oshawa CMA, which includes Clarington, Whitby, and Oshawa.

View the November 2020 report here; https://durhamworkforceauthority.ca/labour-force-report/

DDSB Internship Experience

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The DWA has been very happy to partner with the Durham District School Board (DDSB) for an unpaid internship for one of their DDSB Adult Education students.  From a host perspective, the oversite has been minimal, the addition to the office team has been amazing and the support from the DDSB has been great.  This is a phenomenal program that benefits students, employers, and our community at large.  We asked our intern to share some insight on his experience and he had this to say:

“My internship at Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) is the first stepping stone in my career, after three years of hard work adapting to Canadian society. I am a political analyst, who came from Syria 3 years ago. When I landed here all my efforts were concentrated on learning English and then seeking to find a job opportunity in my career. Today, I am achieving this goal through my work with the DWA.

I have been always excited to work in research and policy development field, and with DWA I have developed my research skills, and gained new experience exploring the changes in workforce trends. Additionally, DWA has giving me an opportunity to get a better understanding of Canadian levels of government and taught me how to distinguish between each level of government (federal, provincial, regional and municipal).

Overall, I had the honour to join DWA team that shapes local labour market information and plays a significant role over 24 years of experience working with local community stakeholders.

During Covid-19 crisis, employees are facing a new challenge working remotely. During this difficult time and for the safety of valuable human resources, DWA has had set a limit to work two days at the office and the rest of the week at home. This has also allowed me to demonstrate teamwork and self-discipline skills.

Overall, I would say it is a challenging experience nonetheless beneficial in all respects. Finally, I would like to thank Mrs. Heather McMillan, the Executive Director, for her eagerness to ensure the best practices in the work environment for the benefit of both the organization and the employees.”

Information about the program: 

Durham continuing education pairs mature, internationally trained professionals with local organizations to provide meaningful work experiences to newcomers.  There is no cost to the host organization for having an intern and many interns have gone on to be hired by their hosts because of their exceptional performance.

For complete information on this amazing program visit Durham Continuing Education at this link: https://www.dce.ca/en/programs/language-training-for-apprenticeships-lta.aspx

Digital Support for Local Businesses

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Starting or running a business is an incredible undertaking as you try to manage your time, money, and other resources to create and maintain a sustainable enterprise.  Supporting these ambitious entrepreneurs on their journey to success requires a great deal of training, mentorship, and guidance.

The DWA does its part by providing timely data and analysis that is essential in helping businesses make the right decision at the right time.  However, in order to learn how to use that data effectively many entrepreneurs turn to the Business Advisory Centre of Durham (BACD) for support.

The BACD offers many great programs to help small businesses in our region.  In response to the new challenges businesses are facing due to COVID-19, they have developed tailored programs in conjunction with all levels of governments, to support the survival of our job creating businesses.

As part of their mandate to help Durham businesses impacted by COVID-19, the BACD is pleased to facilitate the Digital Main Street program. Digital Main Street is a government-based initiative to help business owners expand their digital presence. Through this partnership, they are offering a number of free digital services to businesses over 1 year in operation.

Some of the resources available include SEO (search engine optimization), website design recommendations, social media strategies, and tools as well as digital marketing strategies.

You can learn more about the Digital Main Street and other programs offered by the BACD on their website https://bacd.ca/digital-main-street/

October 2020 Labour Force Survey Report

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The Durham Workforce Authority is releasing the October 2020 edition of the Durham Labour Force Report.  This report provides accurate, timely, and easy to understand labour market information for the stakeholders of Durham Region. It is updated monthly with information that enables businesses, policymakers and our community at large to better understand the evolving impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the labour force in Durham Region.  This now includes a breakdown and trend analysis of employment by industry and a fact sheet to help understand how the data is collected and disseminated.

The October 2020 report presents some encouraging numbers, including;

  • a decrease of 500 individuals not participating in the labour force,
  • an increase of 800 individuals in the total labour force,
  • an increase of 3,900 employed residents.

The Labour Force Report is informed by data from Statistics Canada on the Oshawa CMA, which includes Clarington, Whitby, and Oshawa.

View the October 2020 report here; https://durhamworkforceauthority.ca/labour-force-report/

Do It In Durham Entrepreneurship Week 2020

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Now in its 8th year, ‘Do It In Durham’ hosted by the Business Advisory Centre of Durham, (BACD) is Durham Region’s opportunity to learn about, explore, and support entrepreneurship. The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) is proud to be a long-time sponsor of this important annual event. This week-long series of seminars, workshops and other events to support the inspiration of small to medium-sized business in the region.

Business growth in the region is one of the things that the DWA tracks and our data unequivocally shows that small business dominates in Durham.  This graphic illustrates the number of businesses with employees in white and the number without employees in black.  It paints an important picture of the role small and medium-size businesses play in our region.

One of the many great things about Do it in Durham is the wide range of events types and topics that they touch on.  This includes opportunities to participate in business training, networking, seminars, webinars and workshops for all local business owners and those aspiring to become business owners.

The importance of networking cannot be understated but it’s important to remember networking isn’t just about connecting people. It’s about connecting entrepreneurs with people, with ideas, and with opportunities.  Do it in Durham teaches our business owners how to network and then presents them with opportunities to put that education to the test.

Another critical area for small businesses is intellectual property(IP). IP strategy is crucial for a company for achieving its business objectives.  The BACD offers important training on different types of IP rights including trademarks, copyrights, new media, trade secrets and patents and how they can be used to create an IP strategy and build an IP portfolio. They also explore the importance of creating content that is continually fresh, that is engaging, and that is designed to keep readers interested so that Durham businesses remain top of mind.

Our mission is to champion the development and maintenance of a sustainable and dynamic workforce.  Events like Do it in Durham are a major contributor to the diversity and strength of our workforce and we are proud to support them.

We encourage all business owners and those aspiring to ownership to check out our website.  The DWA offers labour market information that can support business be successful in our region through a strong understanding of the labour market, the major sectors and other data points.  Please be sure to visit our Jobs First Durham data site with 897 data points or feel free to contact us directly.