Chapter Six: Teachers, Administrators, and the School System

6.3 Supply and Demand for Teachers

The ability to obtain a teaching job depends first on whether job openings are available. This in turn depends upon the total number of teaching positions (which is often called the stock of jobs), and the number of vacancies that occur over time (often called the flow of people). Even in provinces with a very large teaching force, if only a few people actually leave their jobs, there will be few vacancies for new teachers. Similarly, if the total number of teaching jobs drops, which may occur when provinces and school districts face very tight budgets, turnover in the teaching staff will not result in many vacancies because the empty positions will not be filled. In 2018/2019, 43.3% of educators were over the age of 45 (Statistics Canada, Table 37-10-0153-02). The average age of retirement of a public sector employee (including teachers) has been increasing over the last few years, from 61.6 in 2016 to 62.4 in 2020 (Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0060-01). Although people are staying employed longer, the increasing numbers of teaching positions and a large proportion of teachers nearing retirement age has implications for the numbers of positions that will open up. Since 2016, the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). predicted an upcoming shortage of teachers in that province. In a document based on the 2020 Transition to Teaching Survey, the OCT reported that only 6% of new English program primary-junior teachers remained unemployed (down from 37% in 2016), and all French language program graduates found employment immediately after graduation. One in 10 intermediate-senior graduates were unable to find employment upon graduation, down from one in five in 2016. COVID-19 seriously impacted many teachers in their first two years of teaching as schools closed, but this was offset by over 3000 Ontario teachers who did not renew their licences to teach.

In order to offset major substitute teacher shortages across the country during the 2020-2021 school year, some provincial teacher regulatory bodies introduced short-term provisions to allow students in university programs who had completed the required field experience portion of their program to obtain temporary substitute teaching permits. In addition, in certain subject areas and geographical locations the situation is quite different from the overall provincial and national picture and shortages abound. Specifically, teachers for subject areas such as mathematics, science, technology, and French immersion tend to be in short supply, and rural and northern school boards may have more difficulty finding qualified teachers than urban boards. Recruiting teachers into administration has also become a problem for some jurisdictions.


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