Employment in the environment sector has boomed in recent years, and, according to industry experts, existing labour shortages in this sector are expected to increase as regulations to meet Canada's goals regarding climate change come into effect.
The scope of the environment industry is very broad and is a component, to varying degrees, of every industry in Canada.
According to ECO Canada (Environmental Careers Organization), profile of Canadian Environmental Employment, Labour Market Research Study, 2010, there are over 682,000 environmental employees in Canada who spend 50% or more of their time on environmental activities. Over 2,000,000 works spend some of their time on environmental activities. Survey results indicate that 4% of the total employed Canadian labour force is engagedin environmental-related activities for at least 50% of their work time. Environmental skills are used by 12% of all employed workers. The vast majority of environmental employers (91%) have workers in more than one occupational skill category, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of work in the environmental sector. As defined by ECO Canadian National Occupational Standards, the most common occupational skills categories of workers in the environmental sector are:
- environmental health and safety (40% of environmental employees)
- waste management (28%)
- site assessment, remediation, reclamation (20%)
- environmental communication and public awareness (19%)
- environmental education and training (18%)
- water quality (17%)
- environmental policy and legislation (15%)
- energy (including alternative/renewable energy or eco-efficiency) (10%)
The SHSM - Environment enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university or an entry-level position in the workplace.