Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Industrial Summary

Introduction to COPS Industrial Summaries (General and Technical Information)

The occupational projections prepared under the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) require the production of a macroeconomic scenario and an industrial scenario to determine future long-term trends in overall employment growth and in the distribution of employment across industries and occupations.

The future long-term trends in Canada’s economic growth and industrial structure will be heavily influenced by demographic developments, namely slower population growth and population aging. Such demographic changes, which cannot be avoided, are projected to have a major influence in the long-term evolution of Canada's labour force, employment, potential output, final domestic demand and, ultimately, the industrial composition of the economy. Technological progress is an additional factor influencing the industrial and occupational structure of the economy, as its impact on productivity is affecting labour demand by industry and occupation, while transforming the task and skill composition of employment across the economy.

This report presents the industrial scenario that underlies the 2019 COPS projections. This scenario was developed in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada based on information available as of Spring 2019. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the historical and future trends for each of the 42 industries defined by COPS. Those 42 industries cover the entire economy and are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), version 2012.

Each of the 42 industrial summaries includes the following information:

  • Definition and characteristics of the industry;
  • Key stylized facts and main statistics;
  • Key occupations related to the industry (see below);
  • Historical performance in terms of production, employment and productivity;
  • Domestic and external drivers of demand for the goods or services produced by the industry (links with the macroeconomic indicators, including major components of aggregate demand, such as consumption, investment and exports);
  • Challenges and opportunities, including impacts of new technologies;
  • A 10-year outlook for real GDP, employment and productivity.

More particularly, the purpose of the industrial summaries is to provide answer to three specific questions for each industry:

  1. What have been the positive and negative drivers of growth in real GDP, employment and productivity over the past ten years?
  2. What will be the positive and negative drivers of growth in real GDP, employment and productivity over the next ten years?
  3. For what reasons growth in real GDP, employment and productivity is expected to accelerate (or decelerate) over the next 10 years relative to the previous 10 years?

Key Occupations by Industry

Key occupations by industry are based on the National Occupation Classification (NOC), version 2016 (4-digit). They consist of the largest occupations within the industry and/or occupations that are highly concentrated in the industry (without necessarily being large occupations).

More specifically, they are occupations accounting for the largest shares of total employment in the industry (see example 1) and/or occupations for which the industry accounts for a significant share of total employment in the occupation (see example 2).

  • Exemple 1: Carpenters (NOC 7271) and Electricians (NOC 7241) account respectively for 8% and 7% of total employment in the construction industry.
  • Exemple 2: The construction industry employs 92% of Bricklayers (NOC 7281) although this occupation accounts for less than 1% of total employment in the industry.

The list of key occupations is sorted by the employment size of the occupation in the industry (decreasing order). Key occupations may be listed in more than one industry.

Key occupations generally exclude administrative and support occupations that can be fund in all or most industries such as:

  • Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
  • Administrative assistants (NOC 1241)
  • Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733)
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311)
  • Receptionists (NOC 1414)
  • General office support workers (NOC 1411)
  • Accounting and related clerks (NOC 1431)
  • Human resources professionals (NOC 1121)
  • Payroll administrators (1432)
  • Human resources managers (NOC 0112)
  • Any other administrative or support occupations not related to the core activities of the industry.

Such occupations are excluded from the key occupations by industry, unless they represent an important component of core activities. For example, all businesses require accountants, but only accounting firms employ accountants as part of their core activities.

For practical purposes, key occupations also exclude occupations with a relatively small number of workers in the industry. The objective is to provide the readers with the most relevant occupations by industry and not to cover all occupations across the economy.

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