Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Sectoral Labour Market Adjustment in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Sectoral Labour Market Adjustment in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec

Article excerpt

Using a demographically enhanced shift-share model, we study the adjustment of labour markets in Ontario and Quebec to see whether labour markets in these provinces have reacted in a fundamentally different way to recent pressures from continental economic integration. Our results show that no fundamental difference exists between the two. We note variations, particularly in specific age-sex categories, but we surmise that these differences are normal responses to geographical and economic factors.

Au moyen d'un modele de base de l'analyse du transfert de la repartition de la croissance demographiquement augmente, nous examinons l'ajustement des marches du travail de l'Ontario et du Quebec, ayant pour but d'etablir si les marches du travail de ces deux provinces ont reagi d'une facon fondamentalement differente a l'impact recent de l'integration economique continentale. Nos resultats demontrent que nulle difference fondamentale n'existe entre les deux. On constate des variations de l'ajustement de ces marches du travail, surtout dans des categories specifiques d'age-sexe, mais nous faisons l'hypothese que ces differences ressemblent aux reponses normales aux facteurs geographiques et economiques.


Some studies have begun to look closely at labour market adjustments following structural shifts which may be regarded as representing major changes to regional relationships (Dussel Peters 1995; Ehrenberg 1994). It has been argued that labour markets should be examined at a disaggregated level, specifically considering age-sex and possibly racial cohorts (Gabriel and Macdonald 1996; Anderson and Dimon 1999).

The objective of this research is to investigate variances in age-cohort employment patterns in Ontario and Quebec, through the application of a modified version of the shift-share model. While past studies have investigated the employment prospects of different age-sex cohorts in relation to variables such as education levels, minimum wages, and retirement age (Bottoms 1981; Hostland 1995; Human Resources Development Canada 1995), this research offers an alternative interpretation by utilising the shift-share model to explore age-cohort employment patterns on a regional scale. Adapted to take into account different age groups, the shift-share model is employed to investigate employment prospects, according to industrial concentration, in Ontario and Quebec. The procedure involves focusing on annual employment changes, extending over the time period 1976 to 1995, examined at the one, two, and three-digit SIC level of industrial aggregation by age group in Ontario and Quebec. In the process of separating employment by industry in Ontario and Quebec for different age groups, the shift-share model provides the basis for determining the most competitive among the various age-sex cohorts.

Table 1 shows the age profile of the labour force for both Ontario and Quebec. These data appear to indicate that Ontario's labour force is slightly older than Quebec's. The population profiles for the two provinces, however, are almost identical. The apparent differences shown in Table 1 result from differences in labour force participation rates (Table 2). Participation rates are higher in Ontario for every age-sex cohort, with the differences for the 55 + age groups, both male and female, being especially pronounced. The data in Tables 1 and 2 clearly illustrate the importance of considering age-sex specific cohorts when attempting to understand labour market adjustments.

As a further objective, the demographically enhanced shift-share model is applied to the labour markets of Ontario and Quebec for the purpose of investigating differences in regional responses to recent pressures exerted by continental integration. The issue of continental integration and its impact on the structure of regional economies recently has been of considerable interest to policy researchers (Hoberg 2000; McDougall 1991). …

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