In May 2023, 15.9 million Canadians or four in five workers were commuting to a location outside their home for work, up from both 2021 (+3.3 million) and 2016 (+457,000), says a report by Statistics Canada.
“This national-level increase in the number of commuters follows a notable drop recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the 2021 Census of Population, the number of commuters was 2.8 million lower in May 2021 than in May 2016. The recent rise in commuting was driven in part by a decline in the proportion of employed Canadians working from home, as well as historically high population growth and marked gains in total employment. While commuting was up across most of the country from May 2021 to May 2023, some regions, including the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto (+857,000; +47.0%), recorded a faster increase than others,” said the federal agency.
“The decline in the number of commuters from May 2016 to May 2021 reflected the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including tighter public health restrictions introduced to curb a new surge in infections in the spring of 2021. In May 2021, nearly one in four (24.3%) employed Canadians were usually working from home. This proportion had declined to 22.4% by May 2022, paralleling the gradual return to in-person work as COVID-19 infections waned and public health restrictions were lifted. By May 2023, the proportion of workers usually working from home had fallen to one in five (20.1%).
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