80,000 jobs were lost in Ontario in August – the sharpest province-wide drop in employment in nearly a decade.

According to Statistics Canada’s monthly employment survey, such high numbers were last seen in the wake of the global recession, in January, 2009, when 95,700 jobs were cut.

The Toronto Star explains that the issue “seems largely due to seasonal fluctuation”.

When news broke of August’s job numbers, Premier Doug Ford’s government quickly pointed fingers at the previous administration.

Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade in a statement blamed the Wynne Liberals’ “scandal, waste and mismanagement.” He also noted that the PC government is taking aim at “unnecessary red tape and regulatory burdens” that they believe were factors in the declining work opportunities.

“The recent slump has amplified a trend (we have) been tracking,” notes Trevor Poplar, co-founder of 50000Foot.com, an employment website for independent consultants.

“This is one of the reasons why we sought to help our community of consultants find opportunities. What we know is that nearly two million Canadians work independently, and in two years, nearly half of workers in Canada could be freelance. This is definitely changing the employment landscape. As such, we’re seeing a lot of people taking to sites, like ours, to find work.”

Despite the job losses, Ontario is nearly tied with British Columbia as having the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, hovering at around six per cent, notes CTV News. While Toronto’s rate is at 6.2, and Barrie’s at 6.7, many mid-sized cities are faring better: Brantford (5.0), Guelph (4.1), and London (5.2).

As a whole, the country is seeing a four-decade low of unemployment, with just under six per cent of the population out of work.

Suzen Fromstein, author of Suits and Ladders, a book on how employees can hold onto their jobs, cautions that the axe can come at any time.

“Even when we love our current position, it is important to be prepared to be restructured. So, keep your resume updated, and get comfortable with change,” says the author and speaker.

She also adds how important it is to constantly meet new people, to widen job possibilities. “Even if you are employed, regardless of how busy you are, network with someone you don’t know well, or at all, for at least two hours per week.”