Canadian job vacancies hit a record high in the second quarter, nearing one million open positions, Statistics Canada data shows.

In a report Tuesday, StatsCan said Canadian employers were looking to fill 997,000 vacancies in the second quarter, up 4.7 per cent from the prior quarter – and 42.3 per cent higher than in the second quarter of 2021.

Vacancies rose in six provinces in the quarter, led higher by Ontario’s 6.6 increase. Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec also saw rising job vacancies.

On an industry level, vacancies remained elevated in health care – little changed from the prior quarter, but up 28.8 per cent year-over-year. Service-sector openings were elevated on a quarter-over-quarter basis, with vacancies in the accommodation and food services sectors up 12.7 per cent from the first quarter.

The rising job vacancy rate comes as wages have failed to keep up with inflation. According to StatsCan, average hourly wages increased 4.1 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter, against the backdrop of an average increase in consumer costs of 7.5 per cent in the quarter.

That disconnect between wage gains and inflation does come amid the Bank of Canada urging employers and employees against letting price pressures unduly influence wage expectations, warning that allowing earnings expectations to become unmoored will lead to a “wage-price spiral” that will fuel inflation.

The central bank says it remains committed to getting inflation back to its target of two per cent, and that higher wages will make such a mission more difficult.