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Harper government to tackle skills shortage


March 1, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The Harper government is looking for ways to encourage collaboration between employers, post-secondary institutions and governments to help fill the skills gap.

Speaking at the Canada 2020 Conference on Skilled Trades in the Energy Sector on Feb. 28, Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development,
stressed the country’s skills and labour shortages and the need for increased partnership to tackle this joint challenge.

“As we look ahead and plan for Canada’s long-term prosperity, it is critical that we focus on the skills mismatches that exist in our labour market and work to close those gaps,” said Finley in a speech. “To do this, we must all work collaboratively – employers, post-secondary institutions and governments – to ensure that Canadians receive the skills and training needed for the future.”

According to a government release, Canada has created more than 900 000 net new jobs, most of which are well‑paying, full-time and in the private sector. However, even though the economy is performing relatively well, there is a risk that Canada’s future economic growth will be halted by skills and labour shortages, an aging population and low workplace productivity.

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“Skills and labour shortages present Canada’s most significant socio-economic challenge to our success and competitiveness,” Finley said. “That is why we must find new ways to better connect Canadians with available jobs and ensure that they have the skills that employers need.”

The government said it is considering a wide range of options to address skills mismatches and labour shortages, including:

• Helping Canadians make more informed career choices, including at earlier stages in their education.
• Working with partners, including other levels of government and employers, for new skills and training initiatives.
• Encouraging greater workforce participation of underrepresented groups, including youth and
• Increasing private-sector involvement in training and skills development.