Canada added 9,300 jobs in December, 163,000 for 2018 as a whole


Canada’s jobless rate held steady at 5.6 per cent in December as the economy added 9,300 jobs, but about the same number of people were looking for work.

Most of the jobs were part time, Statistics Canada reported Friday. As 28,300 new part-time jobs were added, 18,900 full-time jobs were lost. 

The numbers were slightly lower than the gain of about 10,000 jobs that economists had been expecting for the month. The jobless rate, meanwhile, remained at the lowest level on record — 5.6 per cent.

A record-low jobless rate may seem like an encouraging sign, but that figure belies some troubling trends below the surface, one economist says.

« The headline unemployment rate may have defied expectations to remain at a record-low 5.6 per cent, but the way we got there was less encouraging, » Brian DePratto of TD Bank said. « Not only were the job gains entirely in part-time work, they were also driven by self-employment as both private firms and the public sector shed jobs. »

He also said that despite the economy creating new jobs, wages aren’t increasing much, as pay packets grew on average by just 1.5 per cent last year — less than the current inflation rate. « While many measures would suggest the we have a tight labour market, the signal from wages says otherwise. »

Across the country, there were job gains in Newfoundland and Labrador, while the job market shrank in Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Everywhere else, job market held steady.

December’s figure means that for 2018 as a whole, Canada’s economy added 163,000 jobs, which represents 0.9 per cent growth. That’s lower than the pace of growth seen in 2017 (when the job market expanded 2.3 per cent) and 2016 (when it grew by 1.2 per cent).


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The 16 Best Things We Added to Our Pantry This Year


Is there anything less inspiring than the idea of a “pantry staple”? Think about it: By its very nature, they’re the most ordinary, quotidian, unspecial stuff you could possibly keep around. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year, in an attempt to keep things exciting in our kitchens, we added some new tricks to our fridges and cupboards. We’re talking flavor bombs like an umami-rich fish salt and a smoky-hot spice, toasty sesame seeds to amp up dressings and salads, and nutty, toothsome wheat berries to give your usual go-to grains a rest. Sure they’ll be a whole new crop of things to fall for in the new year, but we’re still psyched about these goodies.

red boat salt

I love Red Boat’s fish salt, which is made from just anchovies and sea salt. It’s saved me more than once when I’ve run out of the tinned stuff. Add a pinch to Caesar dressing or fish stew, mix it to make anchovy-salted butter, or stir it into olive oil and make croutons. —Amanda Shapiro, senior editor, Healthyish

Buy it: Red Boat Fish Salt, $15 on Amazon

jacobsen salt co

About six months ago I finally got around to buying flaky sea salt, namely Jacobsen sea salt, for cooking at home (I already had a stash at the office). Once I finally got it, I never looked back. I showed my roommate the ways of the flaky sea salt too, and now we both use it on everything from eggs to roasted veg to meats. —Emily Schultz, social media manager

Buy It: Jacobsen Hand-Harvested Pure Flake Sea Salt, $30 on Amazon

eden gomasio

Does anyone toast their own sesame seeds? I doubt it, and untoasted sesame seeds are mostly a waste of time. Toasting brings out the flavor, and yet most nuts and seeds in supermarkets aren’t optimally toasted, including the ones that claim they are. The one exception is toasted sesame seeds, sometimes labelled gomasio, which I started keeping on hand this year. They are cheap and crazy flavorful and so nicely toasted—they don’t have any of the charred spots I get when I do them in a skillet on the stovetop, totally pissed I’m toasting seeds on Tuesday night. It’s easy to sprinkle them with abandon on salads and vegetables, or blend them into dressings. —Chris Morocco, senior food editor

Buy It: Eden Foods Toasted Seasoned Sesame Seeds, $3 at VitaCost

red mill wheat berries

Wheat berries became my grain of choice this year. I love how nutty and chewy they are—cook ‘em like pasta and they stay especially al dente. I’m convinced they turn what might otherwise be a sad whatever’s-left-in-my-fridge salad into a meal actually worth looking forward to. —Sasha Levine, senior editor

Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries, $9 on Amazon

black urfa chili

Photo by Max Falkowitz

The spices now available to us home cooks are better than ever. New companies selling single-origin, direct-trade spices are popping up left and right, and I want to try them all. But the one I obsessed over in 2018 was Black Urfa Chili from Burlap & Barrel. I’ve been sprinkling it on every snack I make—from eggs to hummus to cucumbers doused in rice vinegar—and cooking with it too, adding it to braises and sauces. If you know Aleppo-style pepper, Black Urfa will seem similar, but it’s smokier and sweeter, and the burn lingers longer. I’m in love. —Anna Stockwell, senior food editor

Buy It: Black Urfa Chili, $9 at Burlap & Barrel

pantry 1

I use black tahini in place of regular tahini when I want a more intense sesame punch. It’s woodsier, smokier, mustier, and a little more bitter, and great in hummus, baba ghanouj, or sesame noodles. I also use it in baking when I need black sesame paste to fill babka or brioche, or when I want black sesame frangipane for a tart. Marumoto Neri is my splurge Japanese brand with a cleaner, toastier flavor that isn’t as earthy and muddy as my go-to everyday black tahini, Kevala. —Sarah Jampel, contributing editor

Buy It: Marumoto Neri Black Tahini, $27 on Amazon

kitchen garden chili sauce

I spend so much impulse ca$h at R&D Foods, a gourmet wonderland in Brooklyn. The last thing I bought was Farm to People’s sriracha, which is mostly chiles and vinegar so instead of being gloppy like ketchup from corn syrup, it’s close to liquid. And VERY spicy. The chile flavor is bright and nearly fruity. I can’t eat eggs without it. —Alex Beggs, senior staff writer

Buy It: Kitchen Garden Farm Organic Habanero Sriracha, $17 on Amazon

soybean paste

I was adopted from Korea, but didn’t start really cooking the cuisine until this year. Doenjang was one of my first purchases to make a hearty and flavorful soybean stew (doenjang jjigae). Made from fermented soybeans, it’s umami-rich and salty with sweet undertones. It’s great mixed into broth for a quick soup, added to sauteed or roasted vegetables, or stirred into batter for a green onion pajeon (pancake). It also works in marinades and braises, like bossam pork wraps (for that I follow Maangchi’s lead). I am not picky about brands when I buy it in Asian grocery stores, but you can get a 1 lb. tub on Amazon that will last a year in the fridge. —Alyse Whitney, associate editor

Buy It: CJ Haechandle Jaeraesik Doenjang Soybean Paste, $11 on Amazon

black garlic

Photo by Christabel

I was gifted this black garlic by my friend Mitch last time I was in San Antonio, and it is truly the best. It’s the best-quality garlic, grown in Texas and fermented until it gets all sweet and soft and funk-ified. I put this garlic on eggs. I spread it on toast. I put it on pizza. I mix it into pasta sauces. I add it to soups and stir-fries. I munch the cloves whole, I kid you not. It was like eating umami. This garlic did no wrong by me in 2018. —Priya Krishna, contributing writer

Buy It:Texas Gold Black Garlic, $9 at


I got this Middle Eastern spice trio from Spicewalla as a gift, and oh ’twas a good one. There’s spicy-smoky harissa, tart-tannic za’atar, and an Ethiopian-inspired berbere that defies description. I like to rub them onto barbecued meats, sprinkle them onto scrambled eggs or out-of-season avocado toast, and mix them into olive oil for drizzling flatbread. I’m also really into the fact that these spices are small-batch and ethically sourced by one of my favorite chefs, Meherwan Irani. —Hilary Cadigan, associate editor

Buy It: Spicewalla Middle Eastern Spice Collection, $13 on Spicewalla

mother in laws kimchi

I feel like I’m the last person at BA who made sure that they always have a jar of kimchi in their fridge. What was I thinking?! As everyone else already knew, it’s now my go-to for adding instant punch to a meal, from crispy chicken cutlets to basic white rice. —Adam Rapoport, editor in chief

Buy It: Mother in Law’s Kimchi, $10 at LuckyVitamin

red mill corn grits

I have never thought of polenta as a weeknight recipe until our oven polenta with crispy mushrooms recipe! You don’t have to stir it until it’s done, so it’s one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal. I now keep polenta on hand at all times, and this recipe has become my go-to when I have no idea what to make for dinner. —Kate Fenoglio, associate production manager

Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Polenta, $3 at Thrive Market

aleppo turkish chili pepper

Social media guru Rachel Karten gifted me some aleppo pepper last holiday and it didn’t last long—it went on Caprese salad, Brussels sprouts, sautéed green beans, eggs, literally everything. I love how toasty it tastes. —Erika Owen, associate audience development director

Buy It: Zamouri Spices Aleppo Pepper, $8 on Amazon

chat masala

I spirited a box of chaat masala out of the office after Priya Krishna sang its praises in an article. It’s a heady mix of dried mango powder, black salt, cumin, chili powder, and coriander, and it adds a blast of umami funk to anything you sprinkle it on. Priya suggests adding it to almond butter toast, but I’ve taken to liberally dusting roasted eggplant with it (à la Gunpowder), which gets all wonderfully crispy and savory. Priya describes it as the only acceptable type of store-bought Indian spice blend you should have in your kitchen, and man do I feel lucky to have it in mine. —Aliza Abarbanel, editorial assistant, Healthyish

Buy It: Badshah Chaat Masala, $5 on Amazon

country miso paste

The only thing I like about jet lag is that I’m up when no one else is. Which means while most San Francisco residents are still hitting snooze at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, I’m already running around the Ferry Building farmers’ market and snatching up all the good stuff. My favorite find this year has been the Aedan Country Miso, so intensely nutty and earthy that it puts the mass-produced stuff to shame. (It’s made with two types of koji, rice, and barley, which is why you see oats riddled throughout!) Mashed into chicken meatballs or even eaten raw with crudités, this miso is as versatile as The Rock—it just goes with everything! —Elyse Inamine, digital restaurant editor

Buy It: Aedan Country Miso, $12 at Good Eggs, or check for local retailers and farmers’ markets near you here.


Photo by Max Falkowitz

For Burlap & Barrel’s tart and vivacious sumac, the berries are cured in salt and ground up. It’s giving my go-to dish of roasted chickpeas and herbs an invigorating citrus-like finish (and a deep red-violet hue that you couldn’t dream up). —Tommy Werner, assistant video producer

Buy It: Burlap & Barrel’s Cured Sumac, $10 on Burlap & Barrel


All products featured on are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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Unemployment reaches 40-year low with 94,100 new jobs added in November


A blast of 94,100 new jobs last month has knocked the country’s unemployment rate down to 5.6 per cent — its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data more than 40 years ago.

The overall number marked the labour force survey’s largest monthly increase since March 2012, when there was a gain of 94,000 jobs, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The November employment surge was fuelled by the addition of 89,900 full-time positions. For employee work, the private sector added 78,600 positions in November, while the public sector gained 8,300 jobs.

Last month’s increase pushed the jobless rate down from October’s reading of 5.8 per cent, which had been the previous low mark since comparable data first became available in 1976. The old statistical approach — prior to 1976 — registered an unemployment rate reading of 5.4 per cent in 1974.

But Friday’s report also contained disappointing details.

Weak wage growth

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees continued its decline in November to 1.46 per cent — to deliver its weakest reading since July 2017.

Experts have been expecting wage growth to rise thanks to the tightened labour market, but it has dropped every month since its May peak of 3.9 per cent. It now sits well below inflation.

The Bank of Canada keeps a close watch on wages ahead of its interest-rate decisions. On Wednesday, the central bank held its benchmark rate at 1.75 per cent. But in explaining its decision, it highlighted other economic negatives, such as weaker-than-expected business investment and the sharp drop in oil prices.

Statistics Canada’s report Friday also said that, compared to 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.2 per cent following a net increase of 218,800 jobs. The addition of 227,400 full-time positions offset a small decrease in part-time work.

The November jobs report showed the goods-producing sector added 26,900 jobs, following a notable gain of 14,800 construction positions. The services sector generated 67,200 jobs last month with help from the addition of 26,000 positions in professional, scientific and technical services.

By region, employment rose in six provinces and was led by gains in Quebec and Alberta.


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Janes chicken strips added to recall list over salmonella concerns



A week after the Janes brand chicken burgers were put on a recall list for possible salmonella contamination by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the company’s chicken strips have been added.

Consumers can throw product out or return to store for refund

Sofina Foods Inc. has recalled Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Burgers due to possible salmonella contamination. (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

A week after Janes brand chicken burgers were put on a food recall list by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the company’s chicken strips have been added. 

The agency issued the recall Friday because of a possible salmonella contamination. They say consumers should not eat the recalled product. 

Pub Style Chicken Strips come in an 800-gram package with a best-before date of May 11, 2019.

The recalled products, which were sold across the country, should be discarded or returned to the store where they were purchased.


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