Brochure - Tell us how Canada works - The Labour Force Survey

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What is the Labour Force Survey (LFS)?

Every month, Statistics Canada produces timely and reliable estimates of employment and unemployment for Canada and the provinces and territories. The Labour Force Survey also provides other labour market information about Canada's working-age population such as hours of work, industry, occupation, and wages. These important data are based on results from the LFS. Your household was randomly selected to complete this survey along with nearly 68,000 others across Canada. Every member of your household represents approximately 300 Canadians of the same age and sex, therefore your participation in the Labour Force Survey has an importance that extends far beyond your household.

Why is it important?

A reliable way to take the country’s economic temperature is to look at its employment and unemployment data. The Labour Force Survey does exactly that. Governments, labour unions, businesses and social agencies use Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey information to make important decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of all Canadians. This also includes those who are retired or not in the labour force.

What does this survey involve?

Once a month for six consecutive months, you will be asked to complete a short survey related employment and unemployment for each member of your household aged 15 and over.

In 2022, the unemployment rate in Canada declined to 5.3%, the lowest annual unemployment rate since comparable data became available in 1976. At the same time, the annual labour force participation rate remained steady in 2021 and 2022 at 65.4%.

Unemployment rate, 2021-2022, annual average
Sex and age group 2021 2022
Men: 15 to 24 years 14.5 11.2
Women: 15 to 24 years 12.5 8.9
Men: 25 to 54 years 6.3 4.3
Women: 25 to 54 years 6.1 4.4
Men: 55 and over 7.4 5.1
Women: 55 and over 7.7 4.8
Source: Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0327-01

What about confidentiality?

The confidentiality of the data you provide is our number one priority, which is the reason every Statistics Canada employee takes an oath of secrecy. Information which could identify an individual is never released to anyone, not even other government departments. Statistics Canada will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only. If you have any questions or if you would like to verify the identity of a Statistics Canada interviewer, please contact us using our toll-free number.

To complete the questionnaire by phone, or for survey related enquiries, contact us 7 days a week, including evenings (except holidays):

For technical assistance or other enquiries, contact us Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

* If you use an operator-assisted relay service, you can call us during regular business hours. You do not need to authorize the operator to contact us.

When is your interview?

In the near future, a Statistics Canada interviewer will contact you to arrange a time that is most convenient for you to complete your survey. The survey will occur around the same time each month, for six consecutive months. You can complete the survey in the official language of your choice or, whenever possible, in another language. Following the first interview, you may be offered the possibility to complete the subsequent surveys online.

In 2022, employment rose in every major age group. Proportionally, the year-over-year increase in employment was largest among young women aged 15 to 24.

Why are seniors and retirees important to the LFS?

Labour Force Survey data are used to describe changes in the labour market. These include trends related to population aging and changes in retirement ages.

Many government departments rely on the Labour Force Survey to track these changing trends. This information leads to evidence-based policy decisions about retirement, pension funding, employment of older workers, and more. As such, whether you are employed, looking for work, retired, in school or unable to work, by participating, you will join the thousands of Canadians who, each month, play an important role in producing reliable data on unemployment rates and labour market conditions in Canada.

Alberta had the highest employment rate in 2022, with 65.7% of the population aged 15 years and over employed. Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest proportion employed in 2022, with 51.9%.

Average Retirement Age
Year Average age
1976 64.9
1977 65.1
1978 65.0
1979 64.5
1980 64.6
1981 64.6
1982 64.7
1983 64.1
1984 64.4
1985 64.1
1986 63.7
1987 63.5
1988 63.3
1989 63.2
1990 62.8
1991 62.7
1992 62.5
1993 62.0
1994 62.1
1995 61.9
1996 61.8
1997 61.2
1998 60.9
1999 61.0
2000 61.6
2001 61.5
2002 61.2
2003 61.7
2004 61.8
2005 61.4
2006 61.9
2007 61.8
2008 61.8
2009 62.3
2010 62.5
2011 62.7
2012 63.2
2013 63.3
2014 63.3
2015 63.7
2016 64.0
2017 63.9
2018 64.1
2019 64.2
2020 64.3
2021 64.3
2022 64.6
Source: Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0060-01

Can I complete this online?

The Labour Force Survey has an online option following the initial interview with one of our interviewers. This approach is to ensure the correct address and household membership are recorded. For the majority of respondents, a secure access code will be emailed to allow subsequent interviews to be completed online through our secure questionnaire portal. Your interviewer will have more information when you complete the first interview.

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