Statistics Canada released the labour market data on Friday. Canada's unemployment rate rose to 7.2% in January from 7.1% in December. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.1%.
The labour participation rate remained unchanged at 65.9% in January.
The Bank of Canada monitors closely the labour participation rate.
The number of employed people fell by 5,700 jobs in January, missing expectations for a rise of 5,500 jobs, after a 1,300 increase in November. December's figure was revised down from a 22,800 gain.
The decrease was driven by a drop in part-time work. Full-time employment was up by 5,600 in January, while part-time employment slid by 11,300 jobs.
Employment fell in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and public administration.