Quality of Work – New Local Survey

Quality of Work – New Local Survey

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie has launched a new survey that is digging into how people perceive quality of work at their current or past workplaces.

Quality of work typically refers to a combination of things like a job’s income and benefits, job security, chance for promotion, opportunities to use skills, workplace culture and more.

For the last few years, our annual employer survey results have highlighted the growing obstacles that businesses face in finding and retaining suitable employees. Turnover triggered by quits, workplace culture and lack of work-life balance has been increasing and this has significant impacts on business operations.

With the added volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to better understand the factors that influence quality of work, and to scope out the opportunities, challenges and barriers to supporting the Grand Erie labour market.

We will be examining the “quality of work” amongst workers within six industries in the Grand Erie area (healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, construction, manufacturing, accommodation and food services and agriculture.) The research will be carried out through a workforce survey that will measure the quality of work along 6 dimensions defined by Statistics Canada.

With this survey, we want to better understand what people value in a job, the workplace and their leaders. It is important to hear from workers, what attracts them to apply for a job and to stay in a job.

Many employers are experiencing labour shortages and they are competing for workers. Having a reputation of providing a good work culture and jobs can make a business stand out. The survey should help businesses, community organizations and local government learn more about what workers value in a workplace, and could prompt changes that strengthen quality of work.

Employers may learn what improvements or best practices they can implement in their workplace to give workers a stronger incentive to stay. And a good quality of work and work-life balance at a workplace can be a big selling point to potential new hires.

Individuals who complete the survey may find themselves better equipped to open up conversations with their managers about how their work quality can be enhanced. Results may also help those looking for work to identify industries that best support their quality of work goals.

Further, data collected through this survey can help community organizations/government develop better, more targeted programs and services to support our workforce’s needs.

The survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, is open to employees and job seekers 15 years and older who lives in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties and will be running until September of this year. Those who complete the survey will have a chance to win a prize in a weekly draw.

The research project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre, a forward-looking organization that prototypes, tests and measures new and innovative approaches to skills development across Canada. To learn more about Future Skills Centre, visit: fsc-ccf.ca

Thank you to our survey sponsors:

Occupations at our National Parks

Occupations at our National Parks

Parks Canada: A place to work with your hands and heart

“On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations” ~ Parks Canada

Canada’s National Parks Day takes place the third Saturday of each July and it is an occasion to celebrate our country’s maginficient natural and historic sites and the people who take care of them.

People who work at Canada’s national parks protect and preserve our national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas for future generations.

They are the friendly faces that welcome us at the visitor centers, they are the storytellers that open our eyes to different perspectives on Canada’s history and they are also the people who work behind-the-scenes to help make our park experiences enjoyable and meaningful.

Parks Canada is the name of the federal department that does all this. There are many different positions across our national parks and every person plays a critical role in helping to protect, preserve, and share these special places and stories with all of us.

Occupations at Parks Canada are diverse and range from Education Specialist and Park Warden to Wildland Firefighter and Physical Science Technician. They also include an established student employment program that includes summer jobs, part-time positions and co-op work experiences.

A more commonly know position, that of Park Ranger, or Park Warden, plays a key role in preserving Canada’s natural resources – a park warden studies, monitors and manages ecosystems and is essential in decision making by providing scientific information. A Park Warden’s other role is ensuring the safety of visitors by developing public safety programs and providing law enforcement services in Canada’s national parks. They wear a distinct uniform and carry personal protective equipment. They also build partnerships with neighbouring communities.

When hiring, Parks Canada requires a post-secondary education with a diploma or degree in natural resource management, environmental sciences with related coursework in a discipline such as botany or forestry or a field related to conservation or natural resource enforcement. First aid and CPR level C certification are required and park wardens must meet medical and physical fitness standards.

Additional requirements also typically include a year of relevant experience in an area such as fish, wildlife, or recreation management, scientific work, or law enforcement.

Why work for Parks Canada? – Jobs at Parks Canada (pc.gc.ca)

Parks Canada has 46 national parks across the country such as Point Pelee National Park on the nearby shores of Lake Erie or Bruce Peninsula National Park in Tobermory and 171 national historic sites including Brantford’s very own Bell Homestead National Historic Site, the home where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone on July 26, 1874 and Ruthven Park National Historic Site in Cayuga, as well as national historic canals and 4 national marine conservation areas.

A team of more than five thousand people work in a wide range of jobs at these sites. Anyone who wishes to apply for these opportunities can find them posted on www.jobs.gc.ca

People who work as Ecosystem Scientists, Archeologists and Resource Management Technicians, to name a few, protect the integrity of our special places, and visitors and residents in and around them. Their work safeguards both Canada’s special places and those who visit here.

Those who work as Public Education and Outreach Officers, Visitor Services Attendants and Interpreters open doors to places of discovery and learning, reflection and recreation. They also develop and deliver programs that recount the history of our land and our people – the stories of Canada that touch millions of visitors from around the world.

People in occupations such as Water & Wasterwater Operators, Social Scientists and Maintenance Workers provide support, advice, guidance and services in many fields.

The Ontario government manages provincial parks such as Long Point Provincial Park in Norfolk County and Selkirk Provincial Park in Haldimand County, which offer some similar jobs and careers as Parks Canada, while at the more local level there are conservation authorities.

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) manages water and other natural resources on behalf of 39 municipalities and close to one million residents of the Grand River watershed.

Brant Park Conservation Area which is nestled in a bend of the Grand River amid the historic communities of Brantford and Brant County is just a few minutes away from the First Nations territories of the Six Nations and Mississaugas of the New Credit and falls under the GRCA.

Explore jobs at the Grand River Conservation Authority:

Job opportunities – Grand River Conservation Authority



Tourism Grand Erie

Tourism Grand Erie

Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, Canada’s Tourism Industry accounted for $105 billion in total economic activity and 1.8 million jobs, half of which were held by people under the age of 35.

Tourism is a dynamic and vastly diverse industry, comprised of innovative travel, hospitality, accommodations, as well as various cultural and recreational businesses in every region of the country, including the Grand Erie region.

While the past year has placed a heavy toll on tourism, the support of local patrons has provided opportunities to kick-start recovery. In 2020, there were 13,666 jobs in the tourism industry in Grand Erie (13% decline from 2019) with Brantford employing the largest number of tourism positions (6,500) followed by Norfolk (3,602) and Haldimand Counties (1,795). (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Between December 2019 and December 2020, the local tourism sector lost 18 businesses. The total number of tourism businesses in Grand Erie as of December 2020 is 2851, of which 1297 have employees. Notably, 1,245 tourism businesses in the region employ 5-99 people and 14 employ 100-199. (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Some of the top tourism businesses in the region include personal care services and recreation businesses.

Completion of training for the tourism industry has been on the rise in our region in the recent past. In 2018, 222 people completed hospitality administration and management programs in Grand Erie, which is up from 108 in 2016. (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Over the course of the pandemic, tourism operators have worked to implement high standards of health and safety protocols and have often dedicated much time and resources on adapting premises, training staff and changing processes to ensure a safe and welcoming environment when they are given the go-ahead to reopen.

While there are currently still restrictions in place, there are great destinations, attractions and local businesses across Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk to keep in mind for when measures are lifted. Below are some highlights of our region’s tourism destinations that you can plan now, to explore later.

Haldimand County

Visiting Haldimand County is a rural retreat with plentiful fishing opportunities and an abundance of cycling and hiking trails. In Haldimand County’s towns and hamlets, there is an atmosphere of small-town charm, with unique attractions, quaint shops, cultural and historic sites, and a range of accommodations and restaurants.

Six Nations of the Grand River

Located alongside the picturesque waters of the Grand River, Six Nations is a community everyone should experience. Visitors can explore its unique history, culture, events, attractions, businesses and a variety of experiences unmatched by any other community throughout the nation.

Norfolk County

Norfolk County’s wineries, breweries and farm markets highlight Norfolk County’s status as Ontario’s Garden. Some of its popular destinations are the towns along Lake Erie, with warm sandy beaches in Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point. Back roads provide scenic cycling routes and attractions include live theatre, boat cruises, tasty food in port towns. Abundant outdoor adventures include eco tourism, fishing, birding, star-gazing, and camping.

County of Brant

“Rich In Culture, Adventurous In Nature” – from paddling the Grand River to exploring parks and trails and visiting beautiful and vibrant small towns, the County of Brant has tons of charm to offer local residents and visitors once it is ready to reopen and welcome explorers.


In Brantford, you can explore world-class entertainment options, shop at unique boutiques, taste your way through the city, and brush up on your local history at one of the city’s many museums and galleries.

While COVID-19 has had an undeniable impact on the tourism sector in our region, Grand Erie Jobs data indicates that many businesses within this sector are continuing to hire for top tourism positions, including retail salespersons, cashiers, store shelf stockers, retail sales supervisors and retail and wholesale trade managers.  


Local Labour Market 2020 – The Year of the Pandemic

Local Labour Market 2020 – The Year of the Pandemic

We now have a clearer picture of how the global COVID-19 pandemic affected the labour market and businesses of the Grand Erie area in 2020.

The Grand Erie region – encompassing the City of Brantford, Counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, as well as the indigenous communities of Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the New Credit – is home to a diverse set of employers and employees, all of whom were impacted by the pandemic.

Business owners struggled. Thousands of workers were laid off. Others adapted to working virtually. Meanwhile, people in some occupations were more in-demand than ever.

The recovery is ongoing and there is much work to be done. As businesses recalibrate, they are identifying skills in-demand that have increased significantly to adapt to the future of work. Some of these skills are: adaptability/flexibility; resilience; teamwork/interpersonal skills; digital fluency and customer relations.

The 2020-2021 Local Labour Market Plan: Recalibrating: Building a Robust Workforce in Grand Erie published by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, describes how most employers and employees in the Grand Erie region experienced major disruptions in 2020. The report also describes what work needs to be done in 2021 to ensure our local labour force and economy continues to recover.

Here are some highlights from what took place in the 2020 Local Labour Market.

Grand Erie Labour Force

In November 2019, Brantford hit a record low unemployment rate of 3.1%. Within the same time frame, the number of jobs in Norfolk County dropped by around 700, raising the unemployment rate there to 6%.

During the early months of COVID-19, employment dropped significantly across almost all sectors. Between January and May 2020, almost 9000 jobs were lost in the Grand Erie region, most within the service sector, construction and manufacturing. Meanwhile, employment in health and education occupations increased slightly. In June 2020, pandemic related business closures pushed up the unemployment rate in Brantford to above 12% and 10% in Norfolk County.

Businesses began to recover during the summer and fall of 2020, with employment almost at January 2020 levels according to Statistics Canada. However, many of these job gains were not in the same sectors or occupations as the jobs lost.

In 2019, males made up 59% of all full-time workers and 29% of all part-time workers. While male part-time work increased slightly in 2020, male full-time employment remained stagnant.

More part-time work within Brantford was taken up by females, who made up 71% of the part-time workforce and 41% of the full-time workforce.

An examination of sex and age-related labour force survey trends reveal, quite clearly, that COVID-19 has affected some groups more than others

Gender data also reveals some differences. Many men lost their full-time jobs in sectors such as manufacturing and construction due to COVID-19 related closures. Meanwhile, among women, part-time workers were disproportionately affected. Two of every three females that lost their jobs in March were previously employed in part-time work, mainly in sectors where this type of work is more common – like accommodations, food services and retail.

This uneven distribution of work has been amplified by the pandemic; female part-time employment grew in 2020 at a fairly steep rate. Meanwhile, many females in full-time work lost their jobs.

2020 data indicates that the year’s local youth unemployment rate was almost double that of 2019. Both participation and employment among youth have since increased, but these continue to remain below pre-pandemic levels as of December 2020.

Within the core working age group, local unemployment drops have been fairly low throughout the course of 2020 and among adults aged 55 to 64, employment grew following a dip in the spring


Grand Erie’s population of an estimated 270,000 residents is aging. As of 2019, the average age of Brant residents was 41, and that of Haldimand-Norfolk was 43.5.  Across all regions, younger core-working age adults (aged 25 to 44) make up the smallest proportion of the population, while older adults (aged 50 to 65) make up the largest population group.

Individuals in professional occupations (requiring university education) make up around 20% of Grand Erie’s labour force, while people in labouring occupations (requiring no formal education) make up around 15%. Of the remainder, approximately one-third are in technical and skilled occupations and the other one-third are in intermediate occupations.

Job search trends captured by Grand Erie Jobs between June and December indicate that around 40% of job seekers were looking for professional occupations such as registered nurses, retail managers and financial officers. However, only 12% of jobs posted in Grand Erie required this skill level. Inversely, people with no formal education made up around 9% of job seekers between June and December 2020, but 12% of postings were for labouring occupations such as cashiers, light duty cleaners and construction trades helpers.


Over the course of 2020, employment in Grand Erie’s goods producing sector has plummeted significantly, while the service sector has been picking up since the initial pandemic shutdowns in the spring.

Employment in Grand Erie’s goods producing sector typically dips in the late winter months. The early 2020 drop in employment within goods-producing industries does not appear particularly significant, especially when compared to the years prior. However, we saw a much slower climb in employment within this sector in the summer of 2020, and some additional jobs were lost in the fall.  Much of this is because our main goods-producing industry, manufacturing, has been on the decline. These declines were offset by increases within other goods-producing sectors – such as agriculture and construction.

The service producing sector, on the other hand – which employs a lot more of our region’s workforce – is less predictable. The sector experienced a gradual decline in employment throughout 2019 and plummeted during April/May due to the pandemic. This sector has since been on the rise; since June 2020, almost 6000 individuals entered service sector jobs in Grand Erie. 

The manufacturing sector continues to hire the largest number of Grand Erie residents, but this sector has decreased in workforce size over the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic augmented this trend. Between December 2019 and December 2020, the manufacturing sector shed 2,400 jobs in Brantford – a 16% drop.

The wholesale and retail trade industry is the second largest sector by employment within Grand Erie. Over the last 5 years, employment in this sector grew by 26%. In 2020, this sector experienced the greatest job gains after a steep dip in the spring, with over 3,900 new employees gained between December 2019 and December 2020. Interestingly, in the same timeframe, the number of retail businesses dropped by 3%, mostly because of declines in the number of micro and small businesses.


Sales and Service Occupations. Between January and March 2020, around 3,800 sales and service jobs were lost, bringing this occupational group to Jan 2016 levels. Sales and service occupations have seen significant growth since, with 7,400 more employed between May and December 2020.

Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations – These occupations experienced modest growth between 2016 and 2019 but lost around 2,800 jobs between Jan and May 2020. Recovery was slow during the fall and picked up towards the winter months; between May and December, trades related employment grew by 3,400.

Business, Finance and Administration Occupations – These occupations have not changed significantly over the past 5 years, and have experienced a slow, but steady decline since early 2020. The sector gained jobs during the first few months of the pandemic but has since returned to Jan 2020 levels.

Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities- These occupations grew by around 3000 between Jan 2016 and Jan 2020, but lost almost all these jobs in the early months of 2020. This occupational group is beginning to make strides towards recovery as of December 2020.

Occupations in Education, Law, and Social, Community and Government Services- These occupations declined by around 2,500 jobs between Jan 2016 and Jan 2020. After a slight decline in spring 2020, these occupations picked up again during the summer, but have since been on the decline.


Income data from 2014 to 2018 indicates that the proportion of low-income earners is decreasingly slightly, while the number of individuals employed at jobs paying more than $25,000 is increasing.

In 2018, the median wage in Brantford CMA was $36,380. Females made around $11,000 less on average, but the gap between male and female income is narrowing slightly.

Read about Ontario’s Labour Market

Read Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey


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