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The Best Cities In Canada To Find A Job Are All In Just 3 Provinces

Canada's job market is a powerhouse these days, but it still depends on where you are.

10/09/2017 10:15 EDT | Updated 10/10/2017 13:22 EDT
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An aerial view of Guelph, Ont., one of the top 10 cities in Canada to find work in the third quarter of this year, according to BMO's Labour Market Report Card.

Canada's job market has been a powerhouse over the past year, adding some 320,000 jobs, well above population growth.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada showed another strong month of job growth in September, with 112,000 full-time positions created, even as the country shed 102,000 lower-quality part-time jobs.

The jobless rate stayed steady at 6.2 per cent, a nine-year low. It's hard to imagine the job situation, nationally, getting much better. But as always in Canada's economy, there are wide regional differences.

Watch: The most in-demand jobs in Canada in 2017

For instance, in September, Ontario took the cake for job growth, adding a whopping 34,700 jobs in one month. In that same time, Alberta lost 7,800 jobs, Quebec lost 7,600 and British Columbia lost 6,700 jobs.

According to the latest edition of the Bank of Montreal's Labour Market Report Card, cities in just three provinces are dominating the list of best places to find work — British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario. And Ontario — particularly cities near Toronto — is the big winner, with six of the top 10 cities for work in that province.

Here are BMO's best cities for work, for the third quarter of 2017:

10. Victoria, B.C.

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Jobs added in past year: 3.1%
Unemployment rate: 4.5%

Victoria has dropped six spots on the ranking in the past year, but still maintains a top-10 spot thanks to strong job growth and a very low jobless rate.

9. Toronto, Ont.

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Jobs added in past year: 2.4%
Unemployment rate: 6.1%

A booming real estate industry and strong population growth has made Toronto a job-creation powerhouse, and its jobless rate is at a 16-year low, BMO notes. Watch out for those high housing costs, though.

8. Oshawa, Ont.

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Jobs added in past year: -1.7%
Unemployment rate: 4.9%

Oshawa, long known as an auto factory town, is one of many cities near Toronto benefiting from the area's strong economy. Although it has shed jobs over the past year, its unemployment rate is considerably lower than Toronto's at 4.9 per cent, likely thanks in part to jobs in nearby cities.

7. Guelph, Ont.

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Jobs added in past year: 4.6%
Unemployment rate: 5.8%

Guelph jumped eight spots in BMO's Labour Market Report Card in the past year, another city seeing strong economic growth thanks to nearby Toronto. Still, that's not such as strong showing, given that, as recently as 18 months ago, it was the best city in Canada to find work.

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6. Vancouver, B.C.

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Jobs added in past year: 2.4%
Unemployment rate: 4.5%

British Columbia and its largest city have had a very dynamic job market in recent years. Vancouver's 2.7-per-cent jump in jobs in the past year is actually a little weaker than the 3-per-cent-plus rates seen a year ago. But its ultra-low jobless rate means it still one of the best cities in Canada to find work.

5. Barrie, Ont.

DonFord1

Jobs added in past year: -2.0%
Unemployment rate: 6%

Barrie jumped 12 spots in the rankings over the past year, despite actually losing jobs. As Torontonians look further and further out of the city for affordable housing, Barrie, some 115 km north of Toronto, has become an option for many. The result? A housing boom in the city.

4. Winnipeg, Man.

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Jobs added in past year: 2.6%
Unemployment rate: 5.5%

Winnipeg is the only city on this list that isn't in Ontario or British Columbia, having jumped 17 spots on the rankings in a year. The city's job growth helped to pull Manitoba's unemployment rate down from a 20-year high in late 2016, BMO notes. The bank suspects it was the oil shock that caused Manitoba's job weakness last year.

3. Kitchener, Ont.

Arpad Benedek

Jobs added in past year: 4.9%
Unemployment rate: 4.5%

Kitchener's high-tech scene and its proximity to Toronto helped propel the city four spots in the BMO ranking. Like Barrie and many other places, the city is seeing an influx of Torontonians seeking affordable housing.

2. Hamilton, Ont.

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Jobs added in past year: 12.5%
Unemployment rate: 4.2%

This formerly struggling steel town is now a boomtown, jumping 25 spots in the BMO ranking in a year. But as BMO notes, the massive 12.5-per-cent jump in the number of jobs may not have happened entirely in Hamilton. The labour force survey measures employment from your place of residence, and these jobs may be located in other parts of the Greater Golden Horseshoe/Greater Toronto Area. Still, not a bad place to be if you are looking for a job.

1. Kelowna, B.C.


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Jobs added in past year: 14.3%
Unemployment rate: 5.4%

What an amazing turnaround for this city in British Columbia's interior. As recently as a year-and-a-half ago, Kelowna ranked as the worst city in Canada to find a job, having fallen 33 spots in the labour market ranking in a single year. Well, the city has just made up all its losses, jumping all the way to first place. So maybe the real takeaway here is that Kelowna has a very volatile job market.

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