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Vancouver ranked top city for youth to work in Canada by Youthful Cities 2021 Urban Work Index

Index evaluates 27 cities based on factors including job availability, cost of living, public health, sustainability measures, and equity & inclusion practices

TORONTO, May 11, 2021 -  Today, Youthful Cities announced the results of its 2021 Urban Work Index, providing insight into how Canada’s urban centres rank for youth. Presented by RBC Future Launch, the Index ranks 27 Canadian cities’ performance across 76 urban work indicators spanning 11 distinct topics: City Economy, Climate Change, Cost of Living, Digital Access, Education & Training, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Equity & Inclusion, Good Youth Jobs, Income Generation, Public Health, and Public Transportation.

Since its inaugural release in 2019, the Index has evolved based on feedback from youth from coast to coast to coast. It now captures how a city’s attributes can help young people fulfill their professional and personal ambitions, including economic factors. New urban work indicators include a city’s level of climate education, anti-discrimination scales, and the likeliness of local economy to automate.

Cities were ranked using publicly-available data and had the potential to score up to a possible 956 points. Vancouver (using data from 14 of the largest municipalities which make up Metro Vancouver) was found to be the top-ranked city in the country, scoring 623.66 points. Through the ranking, larger cities were generally rated to be better places to work overall. However, each city saw ratings that reflected unique areas of strength and opportunities for growth. The cities ranked as follows:

  1. Vancouver (623.66)
  2. Hamilton (541.23)
  3. Edmonton (538.96)
  4. Victoria (538.38)
  5. Montreal (532.22)
  6. Calgary (530.47)
  7. Ottawa/Gatineau (530.40)
  8. Toronto (525.91)
  9. Quebec City (503.92)


  1. Mississauga (501.05)
  2. Halifax (496.42)
  3. Kelowna (494.48)
  4. Winnipeg (486.21)
  5. Kitchener-Waterloo (485.48)
  6. Sudbury (481.03)
  7. Saskatoon (479.36)
  8. Lethbridge (474.13)
  9. Brampton (468.84)
  1. Laval (466.55)
  2. Yellowknife (461.87)
  3. Oshawa (460.16)
  4. Regina (458.57)
  5. Charlottetown (446.22)
  6. St. John’s (434.91)
  7. London (434.16)
  8. Moncton (411.74)
  9. Fredericton (395.27)

The primary source of data for the Index is the Youthful Cities Pivot Hub. Launched in March 2020, it is the culmination of the Pivot 2020, a COVID-19 youth employment project, funded by the Government of Canada and led by Youthful Cities, Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, and the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity. More than 1,200 young people from 27 Canadian cities were employed as urban researchers in the fall of 2020 to collect public data on the included cities – and concurrently conduct surveys and interviews with over 3,000 youth (aged 15-29) to inform the measurement of topics and indicators. In addition, Youthful Cities and RBC’s Thought Leadership team partnered to structure the new topics and indicators – resulting in 15,769 total points of data contributing to the 2021 Urban Work Index rankings.

“The ambition of RBC Future Launch is to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Mark Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “We are proud to support the Urban Work Index, expanding and continuing our partnership with Youthful Cities. The Index is a helpful tool and we are confident more young people will gain the insights needed to make informed decisions on where they choose to live and work, based on themes they have highlighted as important. These findings also help to validate the community investments RBC is already making and begin to inform us on where more support is needed.”

“COVID-19 has made the future of work as a young adult seem even more precarious than usual,” said Robert Barnard, Co-Founder of Youthful Cities. “As governments and corporations are getting ready for post-COVID recovery, there is a great opportunity to create a blueprint for more inclusive and accessible work in our great Canadian cities. We hope the 2021 Urban Work Index will inform and inspire that dialogue to start now.”

New this year, youth can use an online widget to gain a customized view of which Canadian city could be the best place for them to work. Based on personalized inputs and preferences (mapped against the 11 topics detailed within the Index), the widget will help users ‘find their city’ by providing a tailored recommendation. Young people can then post the result on social media to share insights and inform their peers.

The Youthful Cities 2021 Urban Work Index is now available to view online.

About RBC

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About Youthful Cities

Since 2012, Youthful Cities has designed programs that build a unique base of urban knowledge while engaging youth (15-29 years) to design and develop innovative solutions to their cities' critical issues. Our urban Indexes ignite an important dialogue about the importance of youth to the future of cities.

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For more information, please contact:
Josh Humeniuk, Corporate Communications, RBC, 416-567-5607
Robert Barnard, Youthful Cities, 416-953-9956
Cole Crawford, Stellick Marketing Communications, 416-953-8577