Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) uses a variety of models by broad skill level and by occupation to produce detailed 10-year labour market projections at the national level, which focuses on the trends in labour supply and labour demand. This suite of models is known as the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS).
COPS provides quantitative information about likely trends in the major components of labour demand (expansion demand and replacement demand) and labour supply (school leavers and new immigrants) over the medium term. By looking at prospective changes in both the demand and supply sides of the labour market, COPS allows for identifying occupations where potential labour market imbalances can develop. The projections will point towards shortage (or surplus) pressures in a given occupation if the number of job openings in that occupation is projected to significantly exceed (or fall below) the number of new job seekers. The analysis pertains to non-student employment only because the focus is on the permanent labour market and thus excludes young people who are employed while studying.
Although COPS is not a tool designed to forecast annual developments, its models do use annual data. It would be possible to summarize the trends in projected variables with only their start- and end-point values. However, this site provides all the annual data points over the projection period as many users work with annual time series. The projections currently displayed on this site were prepared in 2011 and cover the 2011-2020 period.
In addition to assisting labour market analysts and policy makers, the projections can be used in labour market information (LMI) products, such as Working in Canada, targeted at assisting Canadians in their education and career decisions.
As for any forecasting model, COPS has to rely on some assumptions. The assumptions used by COPS are mainly about demographic and economic factors that will influence future labour demand and supply in Canada.