Young and need a job? Edmonton ranked the best place in Canada to look for work

Edmonton takes the top spot on a national index as the best place in Canada for young people to work, a social enterprise group says.

Index looks at education options, entrepreneur support, career potential, affordability

The YouthfulCities index looked at four main areas in determining the health of job markets in 21 municipalities for people aged 15 to 29. (City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre)

Edmonton takes the top spot on a national index as the best place in Canada for young people to work, a social enterprise group says.

YouthfulCities, which is based in Toronto, dissected data from the past six months and compiled an urban work index, published Monday.

Four areas were looked at in determining the health of the job market for people aged 15 to 29: education, entrepreneurship, career-oriented employment and affordability, said Robert Barnard, co-founder of YouthfulCities.

YouthfulCities studied 21 Canadian cities to compiled an urban work index.

Edmonton earned 714 points of a possible 1,310 in the index. 

"It was reasonably good in all areas," Barnard told CBC News.

He said Edmonton ranked high for affordability.

"Once you've got the job, it's an affordable place to live," Barnard said. 

"It's good at many things and it's not very bad at anything, so that's also good for youth that are looking for a broad spectrum of employment."

Edmonton was one of the top cities at creating jobs, Barnard said. 

Montreal ranked second and Ottawa third on the index. Winnipeg took last place among the 21 cities but, according to Barnard, that city ranked higher than Edmonton when it comes to access to education.

Not surprisingly, the overall ranking was welcome news to Mayor Don Iveson.

"It shows the various strengths we have when it comes to educational opportunities in the city, entrepreneurial support in the city," Iveson said.

Iveson noted that Edmonton is one of the youngest cities in the country.

"Young people are coming here and staying here because they see great quality of life, affordability, great education and great jobs."

Barnard said his organization lobbies to get more young people working and challenges cities to help lower the youth unemployment rate.

"If we want to become a really competitive country, we have to get that youth unemployment rate down below six per cent."

YouthfulCities was formed in 2013. This is the first year the organization has published an urban work index. The full 2019 index is below:

  1. Edmonton (713.86)
  2. Montreal (708.13)
  3. Ottawa (697.91)
  4. Sudbury (681.52)
  5. Kitchener/Waterloo (665.63)
  6. Hamilton (655.40)
  7. Quebec City (645.90)
  8. Mississauga (641.81)
  9. Victoria (635.37)
  10. Toronto (622.60)
  11. St. John's (620.34)
  12. Moncton (614.50)
  13. Calgary (600.69)
  14. Kelowna (583.77)
  15. Vancouver (571.00)
  16. Oshawa/Durham (560.77)
  17. Yellowknife (555.35)
  18. Charlottetown (541.73)
  19. Saskatoon (540.73)
  20. Halifax (535.75)
  21. Winnipeg (488.55)



Natasha Riebe


Natasha Riebe landed at CBC News in Edmonton after radio, TV and print journalism gigs in Halifax, Seoul, Yellowknife and on Vancouver Island. Please send tips in confidence to natasha.riebe@cbc.ca.


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