Disappointment and frustration were recurring themes at one of Canada's largest job fairs this week. Thousands of employment seekers crowded into the National Job Fair and Training Expo, which ran Sept. 27-28 at Toronto's Metro Convention Centre.
The fair attracted a wide range of would-be workers, from skilled tradespeople to recent graduates. Stiff competition and a lack of entry-level positions were among the difficulties listed by job fair attendees, some who have been hunting for work for months.
"I've been unemployed now for almost five months. I need a job," medical secretary Erika Pahapill said. "I came down here with the impression companies would be aggressively hiring. I thought I'd possibly leave with a job today."
Pahapill's frustration with the lack of opportunities presented at the job fair was shared by recent university graduate Sean Forbes. A nuclear engineer on the job hunt since graduating in April, Forbes said he is now looking for work overseas.
"I'll take project management, basically anything that's available. There's just no jobs, I don't understand it," Forbes said.
Unlike Ontario, Saskatchewan boasted a wealth of job opportunities for people willing to retrain and relocate. Janice Vanberkel of Grit Industries, an Ontario-based manufacturing company moving its operations to North Battleford, Sask., was on hand to recruit skilled workers willing to make the move — a tough sell for those with families in Ontario.
"There are some who would like to work there and live here, which isn't going to happen," she said. "People have ties ... but I've been with the same company for 11 years. We offer full-time."
With Ontario's unemployment rate hovering around the national average of 7.3 per cent — photographer Evan Mitsui visited the National Job Fair to take a snapshot of those looking to get into the job market in a tough economy.