Comparative study on hours worked in Québec, the United States, and elsewhere in Canada in 2017

Fewer hours worked per job in Québec...

Montréal, January 8, 2019. – In 2017, weekly hours worked per job averaged 35.1 hours in Québec, compared to 38.7 hours in the United States, 36.0 hours in Ontario, and 37.5 hours in Alberta. The difference is smaller compared with British Columbia (35.5 hours). This was revealed in a study on hours worked in Québec, the United States, and elsewhere in Canada published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

These differences are also observed when comparing ranges of hours of work. About 70% of U.S. workers have a 40-hour or more workweek, while this is the case for only 40% of Québec workers.

These gaps reflect different institutional contexts, particularly with regard to working time standards (annual leave, statutory holidays, parental leave, etc.), which are more advantageous for Québec than U.S. workers.

…but employment rates are higher in Québec than in the United States, due in part to a greater proportion of women in the labour market

In contrast, the employment rate—i.e. the proportion of the population employed—is higher in Québec than in the United States. In 2017, the employment rate among the population 15 and over was 60.9% in Québec versus 60.1% in the United States (16 and over). Among women, the employment rate is nearly 3 percentage points higher in Québec than in the United States (57.4% for Québec women versus 54.6% for U.S. women). This gap exceeds 10 percentage points among women with children under the age of 18.

Hours worked per capita – A more nuanced picture

Hours worked per capita is an indicator that takes into account both employment rates and hours worked. This indicator is lower for Québec (19.4) than the United States (22.4) for the population 15 and over. However, the number of weekly hours worked per capita is generally higher among Québec women with children under 18 compared with U.S. women in the same situation.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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