Employment rate of those aged 20 to 64 by sex, 2018

What is this metric and why is it important?

Labour force statistics not only tell us about the health of the economy generally, but also provide insight into who is participating, who is excluded, and who is benefitting. In this metric, we look at the portion of a population that is employed.

How is Canada doing?

  • For people aged 20–64, Canada’s employment rate was 76.6% compared to an OECD average of 74.7% in 2018.
  • There is very little variation in the employment rates across the provinces.
  • In all countries, men have a higher employment rate than women, but in Canada the difference is lower than its peers at 6.7 percentage points versus an OECD average of 12.0 percentage points.

Metric discussion

According to the OECD, employment is calculated as the portion of the working age population (aged 20 to 64) that is employed. 

While the innovation economy is not the economy at large, the distinction is often murky and ill-defined. Given the broad definition we use for the innovation economy, the employment rate in the larger economy gives a reasonable indication of the employment rate in the innovation economy. Differences across jurisdictions speak to the extent to which people have employment opportunities and the accompanying income and benefits.


The employment rate does not account for why someone is unemployed: They could choose to be for a variety of reasons, or only work seasonally. The unemployment rate addresses this, in part, by only including people who are actively looking for work in their calculations.

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