Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

About the Projections

The current COPS projections were completed in 2019, well before the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in exceptional and abrupt economic and labour market disruptions in Canada as well as abroad. However, the focus of the COPS projections is on long-term trends in occupational labour markets, not on short-term developments. At the moment, these long-term trends are not expected to be affected markedly by the COVID-19 outbreak as its impacts are generally foreseen to be temporary.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) uses the models of the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) to develop projections of future trends in the major sources of job openings (expansion demand and replacement demand) and job seekers (school leavers and new immigrants) by occupation over the medium term, at the national level. By looking at prospective changes in both the demand and supply sides of the labour market, the projections allow for identifying occupations where potential labour market imbalances can occur.

Generally, the projections will point towards shortage pressures in a given occupation if the projected number of job openings in that occupation significantly exceeds the projected number of new job seekers. However, for occupations that experienced surplus conditions in recent years, the projection of more job openings than job seekers may result in balanced labour market conditions into the medium term.

Conversely, the projections will point towards surplus conditions in an occupation if the projected number of job openings in that occupation is well below the projected number of new job seekers. However, for occupations that experienced shortage conditions in recent years, the projection of less job openings than job seekers may result in balanced labour market conditions into the medium term.

As noted above, the focus of COPS is on trends over a 10-year horizon, not on year-to-year developments. It would be possible to summarize trends in projected variables by looking only at changes in those variables between the last year of historical data available (2018) when the projections were prepared (2019) and the last year of the projection period (2028). However, as many users work with annual time series, this site provides all the annual data points over the projection period.

In addition to assisting labour market analysts and policy makers, the projections can be used in labour market information (LMI) products targeted at assisting Canadians and potential immigrants in their education and career decisions.

As for any forecast or projection models, COPS has to rely on assumptions regarding several factors that will influence future occupational labour demand and supply in Canada, including economic conditions, the size and distribution of occupational demand within industry and the number and occupational distribution of new entrants in the labour market. Future developments in these factors are uncertain.

Employment and Social Development Canada makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the COPS projections.

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