Briefing Note on the Niagara Self-Employment Jobs in Sectors at Risk from the COVID-19 Coronavirus – April 22, 2020

Posted in News, COVID-19

Briefing Note on the Niagara Self-Employment Jobs in Sectors at Risk from the COVID-19 Coronavirus – April 22, 2020

Part of NWPB’s efforts to provide updates on COVID-19’s impact is to provide briefing notes on known and potential impacts in Niagara. In this briefing note we are focusing on jobs for individuals that are self-employed in sectors that are most likely to be impacted by policies and protocols emerging from both the provincial and federal governments to prevent the spread of the virus.

Niagara housed approximately 32,403 self-employed jobs throughout 2019. Given the current trend in business and service shutdowns, NWPB has identified five sectors that are likely to face continuing disruption due to the COVID-19 virus: retail trade; accommodation and food service; arts, entertainment and recreation; educational services; information and cultural services. These industries represent an estimated 6,347 self-employment jobs, or 19.6% of total self-employment in Niagara. Comparing the relative magnitude of these jobs to what is seen at the provincial level shows that Niagara is fairly comparable to provincial trends. Locally we see slightly higher percentages for accommodation and food services.

Industry - Niagara region 2019 Jobs Percentage of Self-Employment
Retail trade 2,363 7.3%
Accommodation & food services 1,697 5.2%
Arts, entertainment & recreation 1,346 4.2%
Educational services 863 2.7%
Information & cultural industries 79 0.2%
Subtotal 6,347 19.6%
Total self-employment 32,403 100.0%

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.1 dataset. Self-employed



Industry - Ontario 2019 Jobs Percentage of Self-Employment
Retail trade 78,729 7.0%
Accommodation & food services 41,371 3.7%
Arts, entertainment & recreation 45,497 4.0%
Educational services 35,686 3.2%
Information & cultural industries 12,663 1.1%
Subtotal 213,946 19.0%
Total self-employment 1,123,703 100.0%

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.1 dataset. Self-employed



These data represent a maximum potential for self-employment impact within these sectors. It does not follow that all people working in these sectors will see employment disruption due to COVID-19. These data should be used to understand the potential scope this pandemic presents to the local and provincial self-employment. Although data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey do not specify indicators related to self-employment, the most recent data update indicated that there have been significant employment decreases in accommodation and food services. Retail trade also has seen employment decreases, but the extent of this impact likely depends on the type of retail in which individuals are employed.

For context on the top local industries in self-employment, we see that construction and professional, scientific and technical services house the most jobs within self-employment in Niagara. Insight on the top sectors within self-employment in Niagara is also important as the situation and policies surrounding COVID-19 evolves.

Top Industries - Niagara region 2019 Jobs Percentage of Self-Employment
Construction 5,534 17.1%
Professional, scientific & technical services 5,024 15.5%
Health care & social assistance 3,114 9.6%
Other services (except public administration) 2,885 8.9%
Retail trade 2,363 7.3%
Subtotal 18,920 58.4%
Total self-employed 32,403 100.0%

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.1 dataset. Self-employed


Given the nature of mandatory business shutdowns in Ontario, it is likely that there will be some impact on Niagara’s self-employed individuals working in construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Individuals employed on construction projects that are vital to health care, for example, are unlikely to experience work interruptions. Individuals working in residential construction are, given Ontario’s current state of emergency, more likely to experience work shutdowns.

Self-employed individuals working in professional, scientific, and technical services are similarly going to be impacted based on the nature of their work. Certain medical services providers (e.g. urgent care provided by health professionals such as dentists, optometrists, and physical therapists) are deemed essential and not subject to mandatory closures. Legal and financial services are also deemed essential. However, the professional, scientific, and technical industry grouping includes a range of work beyond these sectors. As such, it is likely there will be work disruption due to COVID-19.

NWPB is continuing to provide report on employment impacts from COVID-19. Please visit our website for ongoing updates throughout this time.


What to do in Uncertain Times


The coming months are likely to prove challenging for all Niagara residents. Individuals experiencing employment disruptions can access resources and support from Niagara’s Employment Ontario service providers. Contact information for a service provider near you can be found through this link.

For all other inquiries please contact Vivian Kinnaird.



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