In the past, teaching and education have not been a profession that has been widely valued across the world, including forward-thinking Canada. However, now more than ever, education is being prioritized, and the demand for teachers in Canada grows.
Are teachers in demand in Canada? There is a shortage of teachers in multiple areas, with some of the hardest-hit being British Columbia and New Brunswick. More specifically, early education has been hit the hardest with the need for pre-school: Secondary School, and Special Needs.
There were so many available teachers a few years ago that there weren’t enough jobs to support them all. So how is it now in 2023 there is such a demand and need for them?
Let’s look at how Canada came to this demand situation and specifically what the demand is and where it is happening the most.
The effects of the shortage of teachers have been devastating for Canada.
Despite the number of children and applicants for schooling increase, there is still a large void that has yet to be filled. More likely than not in the next one to three years, teaching is projected to be the number one job of the future, according to Global News Canada.
The ever-changing pace of what is acceptable and not acceptable as the world continues to grow provides the demand for young fresh minds that are willing to explore these new depths that the younger generations are pushing to pursue.
While there is a shortage now and has been in the past, it doesn’t seem to be something that will continue in the near future.
How Did We Get Here?
According to University Affairs, Canada in the early 2000’s all across the country of Canada was a glut of students graduating with degrees in education with the intent to teach from early childhood education to the higher-ups.
More importantly, the degrees varied in vast backgrounds making the graduates flexible and capable of different roles.
In 2013 first-year teacher unemployment rate in Ontario dropped significantly from 38% to a whopping 17% by 2017. This wasn’t because jobs were being filled again and again but more because simply fewer students were graduating with teaching and education degrees.
By 2019 it was well into the single digits, so a rapid decline in availability.
With years of there being no jobs for hire, many people were discouraged and stopped applying for teaching roles. Now there is a widespread need across Canada for teachers in several locations and several teaching roles.
What Are the Contributing Factors?
In order to understand the present-day problem of the shortage of teachers in Canada, it’s important to look at a number of aspects to get a better idea of what’s going on.
Often it is not one thing that is solely to blame as many different problems can come together.
Below is a brief list of several important topics that need to be explored in further depth.
- Where are there shortages?
- What specific shortages are there?
- The future
History is usually a good lesson or tells of how we get to the present. In order to understand what Canada is currently facing with teachers, it’s important to go back and have knowledge of what it was like even as little as 10 years ago.
Is the job undervalued, and therefore, the income too low for teachers? Are people unemployed? These are great questions to explore.
Does the specific area in which there is a shortage have anything to do with the problem itself? There could be a lack of funding for certain areas, or the problem could be general widespread across the country.
What type of shortage within the field is also important as some jobs within education may be more desirable than others. And because of that, it can all impact the future.
The market is always forward-looking, so what might be hot one second may not be the next. The same can be said for careers.
Where are the Teaching Shortages in Canada?
While the problem has spread itself throughout the entire country of Canada, there are some notable areas that suffering more than others. New World Immigration reported some of these stats that you can find in the table below.
|Substitute teachers are lacking as there used to be long lists of teachers ready to get their foot in the door. Now, some teachers haven’t even signed up on the list to substitute and getting called once or twice a week to help.
|The teacher-student ratio demand is too high, spreading teachers too thin and unable to teach children adequately with the attention a class needs.
|At one point, there was more than 270 full-time teaching positions along with administrative jobs available in just BC. This is an enormous amount of jobs to fill, leaving schools desperate.
|Besides not having enough resources, this requires a teacher to be versatile in way more than just one grade or area. If too many areas intertwine, it can be hard for the teacher to separate lesson plans for the appropriate age group.
|These school districts had to fill 185 openings, which included 5 Principal roles. This didn’t include the teacher’s jobs part of the collective agreement, which was an additional 96. Largely in part to many retirements.
|Starting as a new principal and needing to fill many roles of teachers calls for a total overthrow of what was there before. This affects the children because the norms may be completely changed, such as schedules, etc.
What Specific Roles are Within the Shortages?
Breaking the data down further, there are several specialized roles within the teaching and early education sector.
Just like an English major wouldn’t go on to teach Spanish or Math, there are certain roles in teacher’s positions that require a level of knowledge and for a lack of a better term, certification, from the University that would qualify them for a certain position.
Early Childhood Development and Education
British Columbia, along with many other areas of Canada, is struggling to find teachers who are qualified in working with children at a young age. Pre-school, along with Secondary school (specifically grade 9-12), is in critical need of teachers.
Learning support teachers are an important part of the school system as no one should be discriminated against or inadequately cared for based on their learning abilities.
Special needs teachers are increasingly in demand, specifically because of their one-on-one type of work. It is not possible to care for both the class and the individuals at the same time.
Speciality teachers also can be French-speaking teachers or translators for those who speak just English or just French as Canada has two official languages.
It is not uncommon for parents to relocate to any part of the world, but in some parts of Canada, French is the preferred language, and it can be hard for a child to attempt to learn a new language and other skills simultaneously.
The Future of Teaching in Canada
Because the trend tends to always swing in the opposite direction of what the past has brought us, teaching is now predicted to make a comeback in Canada.
Especially after Coronavirus and a lot of job layoffs, education has become an available market again for future prospects.
Those who once applied for teaching positions are starting to come back around despite possibly picking up careers in other fields regardless of what their degree was in.
With projected growth and an awareness of the needs that must be met in order to improve the situation, it’s likely that the trend will reverse itself.
As mentioned, it’s predicted to be one of the leading jobs to come in the next few years.
The only thing that can’t be monitored or controlled is how many students choose this career path for themselves.
As of now, the demand remains strong and specifically in those specialized areas where children may need more attention individually than as another number in a group.