The New Year marks a time of reflection and change for many people. For companies, this is often the time of year when many planned layoffs are announced (it can appear too insensitive for many to do this right before the holidays). This year is no exception. We see employee layoffs coming from companies that have been in the news for some time. While job cuts are nothing new, they do provide us with pause for reflection and the opportunity to understand the shifting Canadian labour market.

Sears Canada announced the elimination of 283 warehouse positions in Calgary, Montreal, Belleville and Vaughan, along with a Vancouver suburb. Over the next nine months, they will also outsource 1,345 associate jobs from three call centres that exist in Toronto, Montreal and Belleville.

Two large Canadian newspaper publishers have cut jobs as well. Postmedia Network Canada Corp., owner of the National post and other community papers, has eliminated positions at a Calgary call centre. In addition, editorial positions have been slashed at the Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Other layoffs were announced before the holidays:

  • Blackberry is cutting 4,500 jobs (with reports of 40% of its workforce slashed by the end of the year).
  • Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan is slashing its workforce by about 18 per cent (affecting 1,045 people).
  • Sun Media Corp. is eliminating 200 jobs across the newspaper chain.
  • Kellog Co. is slashing 550 jobs and will close its 89-year-old facility in London, Ontario.
  • After more than a century of operating its plant in Leamington, Ontario, Heinz will cut 740 jobs over the next six to eight months and shut the plant.

There are many other companies that could be added to this list, and a whole article could be written about the troubles facing some of them.

Have I completely depressed you? Sometimes it is important to learn about the bad to understand the good. Real people and real lives are affected by job cuts, however, these layoffs paint an important picture of the changing landscape of the job market, not just in Canada, but around the world.

Industry sectors, or companies, that were once thriving and robust have become stagnant or in steep decline, while others have sprung from the ashes. To learn where jobs will exist in the future read our recent ‘Career trending: Where the jobs will be through 2020 and beyond‘.

Having worked in the book industry for many years, I can personally attest to the difficulties and challenges of being part of an industry that is rapidly changing. For job seekers, there are important lessons to be learned from this global labour market shift.

Think about the company or industry you wish to enter. Is it growing? What are the biggest challenges facing your industry? Who are the major competitors? Are there new industry or government regulations that are having an impact on your industry? Have you as a candidate kept pace with the skills needed in your industry?

Answers to these questions are important. If red flags are waving and sirens going off, then maybe it’s time to consider looking towards another company or industry. Maybe it’s time to completely shift gears. Maybe it’s time to re-train for a different position in a brand new sector. While this may seem implausible or daunting, it may be a logical next step. It’s at least worth considering in a job market that can sometimes be unforgiving.

Nothing stays the same forever, and we must learn to adapt and grow, or be devoured by a changing workforce – something that Canadians behind the statistics above know all too well.

Good luck!

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Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of He can be reached at