Job prospects Cook in Ontario

Job opportunities for Cooks (NOC 6322) are good in Ontario over the next 3 years. These job prospects are also applicable to people working as a cook.

Note that these employment prospects were published in December 2019 based on information available at that time. You can read our new special report to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on some occupations in your province or territory. You can also visit the Canadian Online Job Posting Dashboard to find the latest data on the demand and work requirements for this occupation.

Job opportunities in Ontario

Prospects over the next 3 years

The employment outlook will be good for Cooks (NOC 6322) in Ontario for the 2019-2021 period.

The following factors contributed to this outlook:

  • Employment growth will lead to several new positions.
  • Not many positions will become available due to retirements.
  • High employee turnover in this occupation could lead to additional employment opportunities.
  • Due to the seasonal nature of this occupation, employment opportunities tend to be more favourable during the summer months.

Employment in this occupation has remained relatively stable in Ontario over the last decade. Generally, an abundant number of job openings should continue to arise for cooks due to several factors including high levels of tourism spending on food, above average population growth in some communities, and investments in nursing care facilities. Spending on food and beverages in restaurants and bars, and on accommodation services, accounts for about a third of tourist expenditures and has been increasing in recent years. Additionally, the growth in household spending on food purchased from restaurants is outpacing the growth in spending on food purchased in stores. However, factors such as high debt levels and an aging population are expected to subdue discretionary household spending on restaurant meals which may moderate employment opportunities over the outlook period.

Almost three-quarters of cooks work in full service restaurants, where food services are provided to customers who order and are served while seated, and limited-service eating places, where customers order and pay before eating. Changing consumer preferences and business expansions and high turnover in limited-service restaurants will increase opportunities for cooks going forward.

Certain restaurant operators have indicated that increasing food prices have negatively affected their businesses, and that this may hamper their ability to hire additional kitchen staff. The rise in popularity of food delivery apps and a growing demand for ready-to-eat meals may benefit those restaurants choosing to participate. This could lead to greater demand for cooks and other kitchen staff, particularly in the densely populated regions of the province. Conversely, the high commission costs charged by food delivery apps may not be sustainable for all restaurants.

Although this occupation is generally an entry-level position where skilled trade certification is voluntary, individuals who have completed an apprenticeship or other culinary-related program may fare better in the job market, particularly in nursing care facilities. The skill requirements for cooks will also vary depending on the type of operation where they are employed. Cooks in establishments such as full-service restaurants, catering services, hotels and nursing care facilities are usually required to follow recipes and prepare and cook complete meals. In contrast, cooks in limited-service restaurants will likely receive on-the-job training as most of the food is pre-prepared and only assembled by cooks.

Job openings for cooks can be seasonal, with opportunities usually better in the summer months.

This trend is particularly evident in some rural areas where resorts and tourist facilities may only open for parts of the year. Cooks may be required to work various shifts, including evenings, weekends and holidays; therefore, flexibility is an asset in securing employment. A food handler's certificate, while not mandatory for this field, may be required by some employers.

Here are some key facts about Cooks in the Ontario region:

Labour Market Information Survey
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