On February 11, 2014, Finance Canada released its 54-page “Jobs Report” alongside the Federal Budget. In that report, the Canadian Government claimed that Canada’s job vacancy rate had been “increasing steadily since 2009.” However, this claim was challenged by economists, who noted that Statistics Canada’s own figures proved it was declining.

As reported by the media, the problem related to the Canadian Government’s use of data provided by a company known as Wanted Analytics, which uses software to send Web spiders across all known online job sites in order to create a database of available jobs. The Conference Board of Canada, which also uses Wanted Analytics, recently concluded that job postings from Kijiji were overly volatile and removed them as a source of job data for its own Help Wanted Index.

Officials with the Parliamentary Budget Office have also stated that the Kijiji website is so unreliable as a job site that it can single-handedly explain Finance Canada’s claims. With the removal of Kijiji from the search, the steep rise in the job vacancy rate essentially disappears.

Some employers still use Kijiji and Craigslist in order to comply with the advertising requirement, which applies to Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) applications. However, the recent media attention surrounding the Jobs Report strongly suggests that such websites should not be considered reliable sources for recruitment.

During the past few months, immigration practitioners have reported that some LMO applications, which relied on Kijiji or Craigslist for recruitment, have been denied by Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”). However, this rejection of Kijiji and Craigslist as a recruitment source is not being applied consistently and no formal guidance has been published by ESDC yet.

Even in the absence of formal guidance, employers that wish to advertise jobs in connection with the filing of an LMO application should avoid the use of free websites such Kijiji or Craigslist. They should instead consider established employment websites such as canadastop100.com, vault.com, workopolis.com, or monster.ca; all of these websites are specifically listed on the ESDC website as examples of acceptable sources for recruitment.