Working From Home In Canada: What Have We Learned So Far?

November 10, 2021

BRITISH COLUMBIA – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada has produced several studies on working from home. This article synthesizes the key findings of these studies, provides an international perspective and identifies questions for future research.

Roughly 40 per cent of Canadian jobs can be done from home

In the context of a pandemic, telework feasibility (i.e., the degree to which Canadians hold jobs that can be done from home) is an important parameter. Deng, Messacar and Morissette (2020) apply the methodology of Dingel and Neiman (2020) to the 2019 Labour Force Survey data and estimate that 39 per cent of Canadian workers hold jobs that can plausibly be carried out from home.

The feasibility of working from home varies substantially across wage deciles, education levels, industries and regions

The degree to which Canadians hold jobs that can be done from home varies substantially across several dimensions. Almost 6 in 10 workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher education (59 per cent ) can work from home, compared with 10% of their counterparts with no high school diploma (Deng, Messacar and Morissette 2020). (Note Of the dual-earner salaried couples who are in the top decile of the family earnings distribution, 54 per cent hold jobs in which both spouses can work from home. The corresponding percentage for dual-earner salaried couples in the bottom decile is 8 per cent (Messacar, Morissette and Deng 2020).)

The degree to which Canadians can work from home also varies substantially across industries. For example, about 85 per cent of workers in finance and insurance, or in professional, scientific and technical services can potentially work from home (Deng, Messacar and Morissette 2020). In contrast, less than 1 in 10 workers in accommodation and food services (6 per cent ) can do so.

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