London, ON- The Local Employment Planning Council project (LEPC) has released the London Economic Region Labour Market Participation Study. The study was conducted by the Centre for Organizational Effectiveness, on behalf of the LEPC to look into who is not participating in the London Economic Region (LER) and why.

The study reveals women between the ages of 25-44 are leaving the workforce and not returning because they say it’s just “not worth it,” due to the cost of child care, transportation, loss of benefits and subsidy against income received and the additional stress of juggling work and home. Within the LER, the largest declines in participation are seen among women, particularly women age 25-44, among 45 to 54 year-olds, and among those with high school education or less.

The study also identifies some of the reasons for not participating. The most common themes were a lack of transportation, discrimination, not being able to connect with employers, lack of experience and education, and gaps in employment. However; discouragement may be the end result of the combination of factors.

Click here to download the full report. 


“Consistently, we heard a theme of discouragement from the people we spoke to in focus groups and interviews.  Many talked about lack of past success at finding work and not hearing back from employers despite applying for many, many jobs.  For many, this level of rejection took an emotional toll which led to giving up on trying to find work.”  Maria Sanchez-Keane, Principal Consultant, Centre for Organizational Effectiveness.

“According to the Labour Force Survey data for London, Middlesex, Elgin and Oxford, 93% of those not participating in the labour market are either not available or do not want work.  Yet, when we connected directly with people not participating in the labour force, over 50% stated that they “could have started a job last week if one was available”.  We heard about a variety of other reasons why people aren’t participating.  All of these suggest that re-engaging people will require a multi-pronged approach.”  Gerda Zonruiter, Senior Researcher, Centre for Organizational Effectiveness Inc.

 “Now that we know who is not participating and why, we can look at developing strategies to engage and re-engage those individuals.  As we develop these strategies we will be looking to speak with employers, service providers, and people with lived experiences.” Deb Mountenay, Executive Director, Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board.

Background: Launched by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the Local Employment Planning Council is a pilot project of the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board with assistance from Literacy Link South Central. The LEPC is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.