In his bid for re-election, Doug Ford bet he would “rebuild Ontario’s economy with better jobs and bigger salaries.”
He mentions pressing jobs at every opportunity and always associates them with his campaign slogan “Get It Done.”
NDP leader Andrea Horwath has long accused Ford of abandoning good union manufacturing jobs.
Liberal leader Stephen Del Duca has dismissed Ford’s focus on manufacturing because it is not bringing jobs back to the county.
After two years of economic turmoil, jobs are up in Ontario and the economy has recovered well. The county’s unemployment rate is 5.4%, slightly above the national average of 5.2% but lower than the 5.9% unemployment rate when Ford took office in 2018.
There are also more people working now than four years ago.
Canada’s latest Statistical figures show that 7.7 million people work across all industries in Ontario now compared to 7.2 million in June 2018. The total population at that time increased by nearly 600,000 workers and the workforce grew by 475,000 workers, but total employment is still .
It is present in many industries.
Del Duca’s criticism that Ford hasn’t brought back critical manufacturing jobs may be fair, but it’s not a point he should really focus on. When the Liberals took office in late 2003, Stats put the number of manufacturing jobs at 1.1 million. By the time they left their posts, there were only 776,000 manufacturing jobs.
Ontario only has 7,000 more manufacturing jobs than when the Liberals left, but with announcements of new and renewable car investment — including the construction of a massive electric car battery plant — that’s not a winning argument for Del Duca. And Horwath’s claim about union jobs is not yet the case after the wave of car advertising.
Across the broader “commodity production sector,” as Stats Canada calls it, there are 78,000 more jobs compared to four years ago, including an additional 61,000 workers in construction and another 7,000 in areas like forestry and mining. These are jobs that liberals did not press in the race to the knowledge economy, but Ford became the champion in these sectors.
The remaining jobs report doesn’t do much to help Horwath or Del Duca either. Both party leaders like to repeat that Ford has cut health care and education, and that we have fewer people working in these areas because of the cuts he’s been given.
this is not true.
Primary and secondary schools in Ontario have 5,000 more teachers and 1,000 more early childhood education workers than they did in 2018. Across the broader education sector — which includes colleges, universities, private schools, educational companies, etc. — Stats Canada says there are 567,000 people. They are employed now, compared to 505,000 in 2018.
There were 836,000 people working in what Stats Canada calls “health care and social assistance” while there are now 941,000 people working in these areas.
One of the few areas where there are no more jobs is accommodation and food services. The hospitality industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit during the pandemic and is still struggling, but even this field is growing as more jobs are added each month.
Talking about jobs is a natural thing for Ford in this scenario, the numbers are looking good in Ontario at the moment. This also makes it difficult for Horwath and Del Duca to make credible claims that the employment situation is not currently good.
There are other challenges that voters face, such as the cost of living, for which no leader has serious policy answers. But if you’re wondering why Ford mentions jobs at every stop, just read the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.