Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Feds take new approach to address skills shortages


July 12, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The federal government is launching a new website to co-ordinate the information that job seekers need to find the employers who are hiring.

The website — www.workingincanada.gc.ca — was created to address the skilled trades shortage, and the belief that Canada’s economic recovery is threatened by a lack of information among employers and workers for the skills needed in the workforce. Working in Canada will host critical information so that Canadians have a clearer picture of who in Canada is hiring and the skills that are needed.

“Better information will help Canadians find jobs and make the right learning and career choices,” said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. “Canadians need colleges and universities, business, labour and governments to all work together to ensure that our workforce develops a broad and diverse set of skills to be highly productive and to allow them to adapt to new technologies, innovations and new challenges.”

Right now, there are significant shortages in many key industries, including health care, IT and skilled trades, but as more industries take part in this new information sharing strategy, the list of employers seeking skilled workers will continue to grow.

Industry groups are applauding this new approach.

“Many of our members have told us that skills and training top their list of priorities. Having the right people is critical to their competitiveness and to their very survival. Canada has a skills shortage problem well on its way to becoming a crisis. We don’t want to face a future where employers can’t fill positions because there aren’t enough qualified workers,” stated Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We welcome any initiative by the government to address skills-related challenges and opportunities. Meeting these challenges and improving the competitiveness of our nation is vital for both our businesses and Canadian workers.”

“As Canada’s largest employer, Retail Council of Canada welcomes this collaborative approach that will respond productively to the labour market needs of our industry,” said Anne Kothawala, RCC’s senior vice-president of public affairs. “Our members are already noticing labour shortages in certain parts of the country, and this new program would allow for a more responsive system that can help put people and retail jobs together.”

“Canada’s Open Shop construction industry welcomes [this] announcement by the Government of Canada to generate key market intelligence to address skills shortages across a number of sectors, including the construction industry,” said Merit Canada president Terrance Oakey. “Merit Canada will work with the federal government to help build a process that meets the needs of the construction industry from coast to coast.”

“We see this as an opportunity to ensure that the needs of small business and their employees are included in decisions regarding skills and labour shortages,” said Dan Kelly, senior vice-president of legislative affairs and communications with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “This data can be very helpful in various government initiatives and policies, such as immigration and training. As a survey-intensive organization focused on small business, we look forward to being able to contribute to the government’s new approach to gathering labour market information.”

Check out the Working in Canada website at www.workingincanada.gc.ca.