Since 1983, Toronto has monitored the City’s employment by conducting an annual survey of businesses. The data collected is vital to monitor the City’s economic health, as well as aiding in decision and policy making. It is essential background information for forecasting and planning the City’s infrastructure and services for the citizens and businesses of Toronto. The Survey is a unique resource in Canada for the private and public sectors.

Throughout the summer, surveyors visit each and every business establishment in the City of Toronto. That’s over 73,080 locations. The surveyors collect information about the number of employees working there, and the type of work that is taking place. No other programme relates Toronto employment and land use.

Your Information is Confidential

The information collected is treated as strictly confidential. The data is only released to the public in aggregate form. This allows employment patterns to be studied without revealing specific information on individual businesses.

We Need You

The continued success of this important survey depends on the co-operation and assistance of the City’s business community. We rely on each business establishment to provide us with information on the number of full- and part-time employees as well as the type of employment activity taking place at each location.

Watch out for a surveyor at your business this summer and count your business in.

The 2020 Employment Bulletin was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on May 20, 2021 and was adopted with amendments.

  • Staff Report from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning on 2020 Toronto Employment Survey (May 4, 2021).
  • Presentation from the Planning, Research and Analytics staff, presented to Planning and Housing Committee on May 20, 2021.

The 2020 Employment Bulletin summarizes the results of the 38th annual Toronto Employment Survey and provides an analysis of changes in Toronto’s economy over the past decade. The bulletin reports on key employment trends by sector, and on evolving employment patterns across the City and in Downtown, the Centres, Employment Areas, Secondary Plan areas, and Provincially Significant Employment Zones. This edition of the bulletin also discusses the growth and composition of the technology sector in Toronto.

Toronto Employment Concentration, 2020

Map 1: Employment Concentrations, City of Toronto. This map shows locations of all establishments in the city, with graduated symbols for establishments (1) having less than 100 employees, (2) having between 100 and 499 employees (3) having between 500 and 2,499 employees and (4) having over 2,500 employees

Highlights

  • The Toronto Employment Survey counted 1,449,910 jobs in 2020.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on Toronto’s economy and employment structure. In 2020, the Toronto Employment Survey recorded a 7.6 per cent decline (119,890 jobs) in total jobs, making it the largest single year decline since the survey was initiated in 1983.
  • Full-time employment decreased by 64,850 jobs (-5.5 per cent) from 2019.
  • Part-time employment decreased by 55,030 jobs or 14.1 per cent from 2019 to 335,820 jobs.
  • All six employment categories experienced net losses between 2019 and 2020. Community and Entertainment as well as Service employment declined by the highest rate, at 35.3 per cent and 23.4 per cent respectively.
  • The Office category continues to be Toronto’s largest employment category with over half of all jobs (51.2 per cent),
  • The survey counted 73,080 establishments in 2020, a decrease of 3,480 establishments (4.5 per cent).
  • 800 new business establishments opened in 2020, with 55.5 per cent opening in Employment Areas, Downtown, or in the Centres.
  • Toronto’s Downtown and Centres contained 614,940 jobs in 2020, or 42.4 per cent of all employment.
  • In 2020, 402,347 jobs were located in Employment Areas, or 25.6 per cent of all jobs in Toronto.
  • Employment Areas contained 87.6 per cent of all Manufacturing jobs in 2020.
  • The leading employment activity in Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PZEZs) was Manufacturing, comprising 25 per cent (56,010 jobs) of all jobs located in a PSEZ.

Total Employment in City of Toronto, 1983-2020

Full and Part-Time Employment Counts in the City of Toronto, 1983-2020. This figure shows a stacked bar chart of annual counts of full and part time employees for the period 1983-2020. A long term trend increase in employment is apparent, with shorter term fluctuations corresponding to economic cycles.

Total Employment – 2010, 2019, 2020

Employment Total Number of Employees Net Change Growth Rate Net Change Annual Growth Rate
2010 2019 2020 2010-2020 2019-2020
Full-time 1,014,620 1,178,940 1,114,090 99,470 9.8% -64,850 -5.5%
Part-time 283,680 390,850 335,820 52,140 18.4% -55,030 -14.1%
Total 1,298,300 1,569,800 1,449,910 151,610 11.7% -119,890 -7.6%

Source: Toronto Employment Survey, 2010, 2019 and 2020.

Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest ten. Totals and sums may differ due to rounding.

  • Toronto has recovered from multiple economic downturns over the past few decades.
  • The broad transformation of Toronto’s economy over this period has allowed the city to enter the COVID-19 pandemic recovery from a strong position.
  • This overall economic growth nevertheless conceals uneven and unequal distributional impacts of the economic restructuring on sectors, jobs, people, and neighbourhoods.
  • Specific areas of Toronto and sectors of the economy have never fully recovered from the 1990s recession and remain vulnerable to disruption.
  • The following map illustrates how employment in many of Toronto’s inner suburbs has remained flat or declined between 2001 and 2020.

Map illustrating how employment in many of Toronto’s inner suburbs has remained flat or declined between 2001 and 2020

 

  • In 2020, over 5,000 establishments reported significant employment change as the result of COVID-19, representing a net loss of almost 79,000 jobs.
  • A majority of these establishments (approximately 3,100) reported employment decreases totaling over 66,000 jobs. A further 1,500 establishments with 18,000 jobs temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and over 200 establishments permanently closed citing the pandemic as the reason.
  • Establishments in the Service sector reported being most negatively impacted by COVID-19 with net losses of more than 30,000 jobs across almost 2,000 businesses. The largest job losses were reported at restaurants (over 11,000 jobs), hotels (4,000 jobs), coffee shops (1,800 jobs), and fast food outlets (1,900 jobs).
  • The proportion of 2019 jobs lost was highest at establishments with 1-4 employees (-82 per cent), and followed by 5-9 employees (-57 per cent), 10 and 499 employees (44 per cent), and 500 and 4,999 employees (24 per cent).
  • Among establishments that reported work-from-home employment, the highest reported averages were in the Institutional and Office sectors (82 per cent and 79 per cent respectively), and the lowest in Manufacturing and Warehousing, Retail, and Service (43 per cent, 46 per cent, and 46 per cent).

Among establishments that reported work-from-home employment, the highest reported averages were in the Institutional and Office sectors (82 per cent and 79 per cent respectively), and the lowest in Manufacturing and Warehousing, Retail, and Service (43 per cent, 46 per cent, and 46 per cent)

 

  • In 2020, technology (“tech”) companies that indicated they were using a full or partial remote work approach reported 88 per cent of their employees working from home.
  • Starting in 2019, the Toronto Employment Survey conducted research on Toronto’s tech sector, which has experienced significant employment growth to almost double in size over the past five years, from 32,830 jobs in 2015 to 60,670 jobs in 2020, representing an increase of 84.8 per cent.
  • Despite the significant drop in employment reported citywide in 2020, the tech sector experienced a moderate increase in employees and the addition of 180 establishments.

Graph displaying the changes in employment in the technology sector from 2014 to 2020

For copies of Employment Bulletins from 2003 to 2019, please contact Hailey Toft by telephone at 416-392-8343 or by email at cityplanning@toronto.ca.

Toronto Employment Survey Summary Tables for 2016 to 2020 are available on the Open Data Catalogue.