Addressing Canada’s Teacher Shortage: ApplyToEducation and interviewstream Webinar Recap

Caroline Chessia | November 10, 2023

How has your hiring process changed in the past 5 years? If your answer is “not much”, and you are struggling to hire teachers, you’re in the right place. Canada is facing a serious teacher shortage, and the school boards that are having the most success hiring enough teachers for their students are the school boards that are innovating in their hiring process. 

As the pool of teacher candidates shrinks, your schools and school boards have to speed up hiring times and create a great candidate experience to be a “destination school”. 

interviewstream and ApplyToEducation just hosted a webinar covering the current state of the teacher shortage in Canada and offering some solutions to help your school board fill more of your open roles quickly. But, before we go through tools to help, let’s get into the factors contributing to the teacher shortage in Canada.


Why is There a Teacher Shortage in Canada?

The teacher shortage in Canada today has two major contributing factors: (1) the increase in retirement rates for teachers- and in Canada as a whole- and (2) the lack of future teachers, aka students,  entering education and teaching programs as a whole. The more teachers that retire earlier, the more open roles there are to fill faster than expected, and, with even the natural increases in the number of students needing to be taught, and a decrease in the number of people trying to become teachers, the gap will continue to widen in the years to come. 

Along with these two country-wide causes for the teacher shortage, there are regional differences that impact how difficult it is to hire teachers for school boards’ open roles. These include housing shortages, cost of living, and class-size concerns. Following is a bit more detail on these challenges impacting the teacher shortage in Canada today.


Statistics on Teacher Retirement in Canada

HR administrators are seeing experienced teachers retiring at a much more rapid rate than ever before. This follows the national trend of Canadians retiring earlier overall. 

  • In 2020, broad Canadian retirement rates increased by 12.5% and in 2021, they increased by 31.8% in 2021 (Reuters). 
  • In the context of the broader Canadian economy, 1 in 5 workers is now 55 or older–at or near expected retirement age. 
  • 28.4% of educators in Canada are 50+ years old. 
  • Educators under the age of 34 only make up 21.4% of all teachers in Canada (Statistics Canada).

These challenges are the first in a set of compounding reasons that are increasing the challenge for school boards to fill their open roles now and for several years to come.


Slowdown in Enrollment in Teacher Education Programs

Over the last several years, the enrollment in teacher education programs has decreased, which means school boards have a smaller pool of potential graduates to hire. 

Let’s use the province of Ontario as an example. In 2010, Ontario had a surplus of teacher graduates. As a result, teacher education programs were capped. This limited incoming students so much so that even as those caps were removed, the gap it had created in teacher graduates widened and continued to widen further during the pandemic. 

In 2019 and 2022, 4,600 teachers graduated from Ontario teacher prep schools (each year). The number of open teaching positions in that region was 5,800. That is a huge gap to fill, especially when you take into account the existing teachers who are also retiring at faster rates than before.  


Regional Differences in Teacher Shortage Numbers in Canada

In addition to the overarching trends above, rural and urban areas have different obstacles for recruiting teachers. 


Contributing Factors to the Canadian Teacher Shortage in Rural Areas

  • Housing shortage. In rural areas, access to housing is an issue. Teachers recruited from other areas of the country struggle to find housing close to their school. With a shortage in housing, existing housing is more expensive, thus increasing the salary needs of the teachers moving into these more rural locations. 
  • Lack of interest in moving to a rural area. Teachers coming from urban areas or other provinces might not be interested in moving to more remote or rural areas, even though the cost of living in more urban areas is even higher than the rural areas where a new teacher historically might find a great place to start their career. 
  • Smaller candidate pools. Traditional recruiting techniques involve recruiting educators near to home. But that doesn’t always come up with the widest pool or applicants or the most qualified candidates- and rural areas have to get creative to make sure that the candidates are both interested and the right fit for their more rural schools. .


Contributing Factors to the Canadian Teacher Shortage in Urban Areas

  • High cost of living. Rent prices in larger cities have skyrocketed in recent years, meaning teachers working in urban centers often have to live farther away from their school board and need even higher salaries than they have in the past. 
  • Class size concerns. Class size is increasing as open roles cannot be filled and as a result, teachers are facing increased workloads. These concerns are exacerbated by stagnating teacher salaries as school boards face budgetary cuts or strong salary guidelines.
  • Increased competition from other school boards. As all school boards are facing these challenges, they are expanding beyond their “own backyard,” thus creating competition for all available teachers, both inside and outside of their direct market.


How to Overcome the Canadian Teacher Shortage

The traditional method for teacher hiring is posting on a job board, recruiting educators in your “backyard” aka local community, and qualifying these candidates through phone screen interviews or in-person interviews. You don’t need to convince this type of candidate why they should work for you because they already know you. 

“School boards are finding that they have to move faster to hire the teachers they’re looking for.”Mark Laurie, CEO ApplyToEducation

With the shrinking teacher candidate pool, there are fewer of these candidates.  School boards have to start innovating to get access to a wider candidate pool, provide them a great candidate experience, and recruit faster than other school boards attempting to hire the same candidates.

The crux of it is: you need to have a streamlined recruitment process in order to recruit the best teachers for your students. It means you need a great hiring tool to track your applicants paired with an interviewing tool that helps you screen candidates faster.


Hiring Tools to Help You Beat the Teacher Shortage

Applicant tracking systems and video interviewing software help school boards hire more efficiently, speed up hiring times, and maintain a great candidate experience through the hiring process. These hiring tools help you modernize your teacher recruitment process, which in turn helps you stand out from other schools still recruiting more traditionally.


Why Use interviewstream to Screen Teachers

interviewstream’s one way video interviews help you screen teachers faster and ultimately decrease your time-to-hire. Candidates submit pre-recorded videos based on the interview questions you have set and HR administrators are free to review them on their own time. Here are benefits other school boards have seen:

  • Decrease time to hire. Invite teacher candidates to a video screening interview and they normally respond in 2 days or less. 
  • Alleviate the burden of administrative tasks. HR admins working in K-12 are overwhelmed. These tools provide you with an extra recruiting arm to use and help to automate tasks (like creating interview questions with AI question assist or sending automated interview reminders).
  • Present a more modern image. Using interviewing tools helps your school board appear more modern and innovative.
  • Get a more complete picture of candidates (and let them get a better picture of you). Gain insights from video interviews that you wouldn’t get from a paper application or a phone screen.
  • Ensure consistency and compliance. All your recruiting and interviewing information is stored in the platform. Ensure consistency across hiring managers by using the same video interview questions.


How to Use interviewstream and ApplyToEducation Together

interviewstream and ApplyToEducation have teamed up to address the Canadian teacher shortage and provide ways for school boards to recruit their top teachers faster and widen their applicant pools. This partnership is a direct result of client conversations focusing on what would help their school boards recruit more effectively. 

The integration of ATE and interviewstream allows HR administrators to set up interviews, send invites, see interview status, and rate candidates all within the ApplyToEducation platform. By having a centralized place for both sets of data, you reduce time-to-hire because you don’t have to go back and forth between the two different hiring tools to schedule and view candidate interviews. Importantly, all your data in both systems resides in Canada, helping to keep your school board compliant with data policies

Check out the integration “live” here:


Ready to Innovate? Join School Boards Using interviewstream and ApplyToEducation Today

We are dedicated to simplifying your interviewing and hiring process so you can reduce time to hire and ultimately hire better teachers, faster. interviewstream and applytoeducation will work with you to set goals specific to your region and recruiting needs. 

Sourcing, scheduling, and screening candidates is a laborious process–let us help you so you can focus your resources on the candidates who will become star teachers at your school board. Get started now by filling out this form to contact us for a demo. If you’re looking for more information, watch our joint webinar here.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.


interviewstream is dedicated to the success of more than 900 clients from K-12 school districts, emerging businesses, midsize companies, large enterprises, colleges, and universities.

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