Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Manufacturers still struggle to find work

June 8, 2010
By Mary Del

The manufacturing sector may be slowly turning the corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to find a job.

According to a recent Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) study, which tracked laid off workers in Toronto, Brampton and Kitchener, Ont., many workers who lost their jobs just prior to the official beginning of the recession are still looking for work.

Written by Sam Vrankulj of McMaster University, the study examined the various challenges of finding new employment and retraining; the impacts on workers health and well being and the role of action centres in providing critical supports.

One of the most telling findings of the survey is how difficult it still is to find employment. Only 24 percent of the participants were working at the time of the survey. Of this group,  approximately 70 percent were employed in part-time, temporary or more precarious forms of work. Just 39 percent found their new jobs in manufacturing while the other 61 percent were working in other sectors.


When workers get adequate income and tuition support they take advantage of retraining opportunities after job loss — without that assistance, however, the financial obstacles are too great. There were 90 percent of study participants who enrolled for upgrading or retraining who identified the level of income support and the cost of tuition as the most important factors enabling that enrollment.

The study concluded that more targeted supports are needed to address the multiple obstacles faced by laid off workers who are older, women, immigrants or who lack strong literacy skills.

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