Workplace Survey: Job Vacancies and Skills Shortages

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Concepts and definitions for your reference

This guide contains information to help you complete the questionnaire.

A. Employee category definitions


Paid employees include full-time, part-time, permanent, non-permanent and seasonal employees of this location receiving a T4 statement from Canada Revenue Agency who work on-site or off-site and employees who are on paid leave.

Please do not include employees who only receive a T4A statement.

Full-time employee: An employee working 30 or more hours per week, excluding overtime.

Part-time employee: An employee working less than 30 hours per week, excluding overtime.

Permanent employee: An employee who has no set termination date (including tenured teachers).

Non-permanent employee: An employee who has a set termination date or an agreement covering the period of employment (temporary, seasonal or casual).

Independent Contractor:

A person providing products or services under contract at your location but for who the completion of a Canada Revenue Agency T4 statement is not required. This person may be an employee of another business or a home worker (computer consultant, piecework seamstress, etc.).  Some independent contractors may receive a T4A statement from your location.

Managers and executives

Include: President(s), executives, senior managers and managers that receive a T4 statement.

  • Senior Managers

    Include the most senior executives in the workplace and other senior managers whose responsibilities would normally span more than one internal department. Most small workplaces would only have one senior manager. Examples: president of single location company; retail store manager; plant manager; senior partners in business services firms; production superintendent; senior administrator in public services enterprise; as well as vice-presidents, partners and assistant administrators whose responsibilities cover more than one domain.

  • Managers

    Managers generally report to senior management and are responsible for a single domain or department. This category would normally include assistant directors or the equivalent in small workplaces. Examples: department heads or managers (engineering, accounting, R&D, personnel, computing, marketing, sales, etc.); heads or managers of specific product lines; junior partners or assistant administrators with responsibilities for a specific domain; and assistant directors in small locations (without an internal department structure).

Professionals (including professional supervisors)

Employees whose duties would normally require at least an undergraduate university degree or the equivalent. Examples: medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, economists, scientists, psychologists, sociologists, registered nurses, marketing and market research professionals, nurse-practitioners and teaching professionals, professors and teaching assistants. Include computing professionals whose duties would normally require a minimum of an undergraduate degree in computer science. Include professional project managers and supervisors.

Technical (including technical supervisors)


Employees whose duties would normally require a community college certificate/diploma or the equivalent and who are not primarily involved in the marketing/sales of a product or service. Examples: technologists, lab technicians, registered nursing assistants, audio-visual technicians; trained caregivers; technology trainers; legal secretaries and draftspersons. Include computer programmers and operators whose duties would normally require a community college certificate or diploma. Include technical/paraprofessional project managers and supervisors.


Non-supervisory staff in positions requiring vocational/trades accreditation or the equivalent. Examples: construction trades, machinists, machine operators, stationary engineers, mechanics, beauticians/barbers/hairdressers, butchers and repair workers.


An apprentice is an individual who, through an agreement with an employer, is learning a skilled trade via a combination of on-the-job and in-school training.  The apprentice is a paid employee whose salary follows a predetermined wage schedule. The apprentice is supervised and works alongside a certified journeyperson gaining the knowledge, competencies, and experience required in the trade.  After completing the required number of hours of on-the-job (practical) and in-school (technical) training, the apprentice is eligible to obtain a certificate of qualification thereby becoming a certified journeyperson.

Sales and marketing

Non-supervisory staff primarily engaged in the marketing/sales of products or services. Examples: retail sales clerks, waiters/waitresses, telemarketers, real estate agents, insurance agents and loans officers. Exclude employees whose duties require a university degree and professional accreditation (professionals), those whose duties require a community college certificate/diploma (technical/trades) and those whose duties are primarily supervisory.

Administrative and clerical

Non-supervisory staff providing clerical or administrative services for internal or external clients. Examples: office equipment operators, filing clerks, account clerks, receptionists, desk clerks, mail and distribution clerks and bill collectors. Duties do not normally require post-secondary education or responsibility for marketing or sales.

Production or Service Workers

Non-supervisory staff in production, maintenance or service positions. Examples: assemblers, packers, sorters, pilers, machine operators, transportation equipment operators (drivers), material handlers, cleaning staff, food service counter attendants, and service station attendants. Jobs in this category may require various durations of training, which depends on the complexity of the job.


The employees who do not correspond to any of the above categories.

Foreign workers

A foreign worker is an employee working legally in Canada on a work permit. This excludes landed immigrants, permanent residents, and Canadian citizens.

Canadian employers can hire a foreign worker temporarily or offer a full-time job to a skilled worker and support their permanent immigration to Canada.  This can be accomplished through a number of ways, e.g.:

Temporary Foreign Worker Program – employers recruit foreign workers (with a variety of skill levels) to meet temporary labour shortages.

Arranged Employment Offer (Permanent) – employers recruit or retain skilled workers to fill a full-time, permanent position in their organization.

Provincial Nominee Program (Permanent) – employers work with a province or territory to recruit or retain workers (with a variety of skill levels) on a permanent, full-time basis.

B. Job vacancies and labour turnover definitions

Job vacancies

A job is vacant if it meets all three conditions:

  • A specific position exists
  • Work could start within 30 days
  • You are actively seeking workers from outside this location to fill the position

The position can be full-time or part-time, temporary, permanent, seasonal or on call, etc.

Job vacancies exclude:

  • Positions to be filled by promotion/demotion, internal transfers or recall from layoffs
  • Positions with start dates more than 30 days in the future
  • Positions for which employees have been hired, but the employees have not yet reported for work
  • Positions to be filled by employees of temporary help agencies, volunteers, independent contractors or consultants.

Hard-to-fill job vacancies

Hard-to-fill job vacancies are positions (filled during the year 2011 or vacant on December 31, 2011) that an employer struggles to fill. These are positions for which the search for workers takes longer than usual or lasts longer than originally planned.

Skills shortage vacancies

Skills shortage vacancies are those vacancies that are hard-to-fill because of an insufficient number of applicants with the skills, experience or qualifications to do the job with an acceptable amount of on-the-job training.


A hire is any addition to your payroll from January 1 to December 31, 2011 and includes:

  • New hire or a previously separated rehire
  • The position can be permanent, temporary or seasonal
  • Recall from layoff
  • On-call employees who returned to work after having been separated
  • Workers who were hired and separated during the year
  • Transfers from other locations

This excludes

  • Transfers or promotions within this location
  • Employees returning from a strike
  • Independent contractors or consultants
  • Employees of temporary help agencies (unless your business is a temporary help agency)
  • Substitute teachers returning during the same school year
  • Volunteers.


Separations are quits, retirements, dismissals, permanent layoffs, temporary layoffs and other separations that occurred in the year.

These exclude:

  • Transfers within this location
  • Employees on strike
  • Employees of temporary help agencies (unless your business is a temporary help agency)
  • Independent contractors  or consultants
  • Substitute teachers who are between assignments
  • Volunteers.



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