National coalition sounds skills warning



    Coalition of leading business, education, health, and labour
    representatives wants issue debated in federal election

    OTTAWA, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Key sectors of Canada's economy are
struggling because of an acute shortage of skills, and the situation threatens
Canada's global competitiveness. This was the warning issued today by a
coalition of leading business, education, health, and labour representatives,
who see this as a national crisis requiring a national strategy.
    "The shortage of skilled workers is crippling our country's economy,"
said Paul Charette, Chairman of the Canadian Construction Association, and
coalition chair. "In the construction sector alone, close to 260,000 new
workers are needed over the next eight years. We expect all party leaders to
tell Canadians how they plan to address this crisis."
    The Investing in Skills coalition was officially launched today to bring
the growing skills deficit to the attention of Canadians as they prepare to
vote in next month's federal election.
    The coalition, which includes national organizations such as the Canadian
Construction Association (CCA), Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the
Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance), the Canadian Labour
Congress (CLC), the Canadian Healthcare Association (CHA), and the Tourism
Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), wants the issue debated by all party
leaders.
    According to the coalition, the skills crisis affects all sectors of the
Canadian economy and is becoming an accepted part of life for many small and
medium-size businesses, leading to companies choosing to operate with fewer
employees and ignore growth opportunities.
    The coalition says that while erasing the skills deficit will not happen
overnight and will require a number of specific policy responses ranging from
immigration to employment insurance to added investments in apprenticeship and
post-secondary education, the scope, complexity and urgency of the issue
require political will on a national scale.
    "As our country braces for more economic uncertainty, we can choose to
invest in a skilled workforce that can compete with the best the world has to
offer, or we can continue to turn our back to the problem and force employers
to fight among themselves for an ever-more scarce resource," said Jayson
Myers, President of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. "In part, this
election will be about making that choice."

    
    Members of the Investing in Skills Coalition

    1.  Association of Canadian Community Colleges
    2.  Association of Canadian Engineering Companies
    3.  Association of Equipment Manufacturers
    4.  Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance)
    5.  Canadian Construction Association
    6.  Canadian GeoExchange Coalition
    7.  Canadian Healthcare Association
    8.  Canadian Labour Congress
    9.  Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
    10. Canadian Solar Industries Association
    11. Cement Association of Canada
    12. Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
    13. Certified Management Accountants
    14. Hotel Association of Canada
    15. Railway Association of Canada
    16. Retail Council of Canada
    17. Tourism Industry Association of Canada


    BACKGROUNDER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                 Quick Facts on the Skills Shortage in Canada

    - In a 2008 survey, the Bank of Canada found that over 40% of firms
      surveyed were reporting that labour shortages were restricting their
      ability to meet demands.
      (Summer 2008 Business Outlook Survey, Bank of Canada)
    - In a recent 2008 survey of 640 CEOs by Canadian Manufacturers &
      Exporters, 41% said shortages of skilled workers are an important
      challenge for their business, while an additional 30% said this issue
      has become critical and is a constraint on growth.
    - The construction sector will need approximately 260,000 new workers
      over the next eight years.
      (Construction Sector Council, 2008 National Summary, Construction
      Looking Forward)
    - The Railway Association of Canada predicts the railway sector will need
      to hire 11,000 workers in the next four years (33% of its total current
      workforce) to fill technical positions.
    - A 2007 Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey of its
      members found that over 300,000 jobs were unfilled for at least four
      months in 2007.
      (Your Business Outlook Survey 2007, CFIB)
    - A 2006 Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey found
      that because hiring skilled workers was so difficult, 38% of its
      members had chosen to function with fewer employees and ignore new
      business opportunities.
      (Immigration and Small Business: Ideas to Better Respond to Canada's
      Skills and Labour Shortage, CFIB 2006)
    - The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) predicts
      unprecedented labour shortages in the tourism sector with a forecast of
      348,000 unfilled jobs by 2025.
      (The Future of Canada's Tourism Sector: Long on Prospects...Short on
      People, CTHRC 2008)
    - The Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) Council predicts it
      will face annual shortages of between 4,290 and 7,380 skilled workers
      from 2005 to 2009 and between 4,450 and 8,050 skilled workers between
      2010 and 2014.
      (The Road Ahead, CARS 2005)
    - The Mining Industry Human Resources (MIHR) Council predicts a need for
      10,000 people per year or 100,000 people over the next 10 years.
      (Mining Labour Market Transition Project, MIHR 2007)
    - Growth in manufacturing will require up to 62,000 skilled workers in
      aircraft maintenance alone by 2016.
      (National Aerospace and Defence Strategic Framework 2003-2025)


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    LETTER TO PARTY LEADERS ON CANADA'S SKILLS SHORTAGE

    OTTAWA, Sept. 23 - The following is the text of a letter sent today by
    the Investing in Skills coalition to the leaders of the Conservative,
    Liberal, New Democratic, Bloc Quebecois and Green parties on the skills
    deficit that threatens Canada's global competitiveness.

    To Federal Party Leaders:

    Canada faces many challenges that should be discussed and debated during
    the election campaign; one of the most pressing is the skills crisis that
    threatens our country's global competitiveness.

    Our coalition, representing business, education, health, and labour
    organizations, has come together to sound the alarm about this growing
    skills deficit.

    The shortage of skilled workers is an issue with far-reaching
    consequences, but it has been flying below the radar and could escape
    detection until it does real and lasting damage to our economy. We have
    come together to prevent that from happening.

    Even today, jobs go unfilled and business growth stalls while people who
    want to work remain unemployed. The construction sector alone will need
    260,000 new workers over the next eight years.

    Despite important investments in recent years, Canada's education and
    training infrastructure is still insufficient to meet the growing needs
    of a globally competitive economy.

    We recognize that education and training is often viewed as falling
    strictly under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, but this is a
    national crisis requiring national commitment and a national strategy.

    Addressing the skills shortage will require a multifaceted, multi-year
    approach that includes policies ranging from immigration to employment
    insurance to added investments in apprenticeship and post-secondary
    education, the scope, complexity and urgency of the issue require
    political will on a national scale.

    As Canada braces for more economic uncertainty, we can either invest in
    developing a skilled workforce that can compete with the best in the
    world, or we can turn our back to the problem, forcing employers to
    scramble for an ever-shrinking pool of qualified people.

    Business and labour are doing their part to help address these shortages,
    but their efforts will not be enough unless governments (provincial and
    territorial as well as federal) make this issue a priority.

    We look forward to hearing your solutions for erasing this skills
    deficit.



    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Paul Charette                           James Knight
    Chairman                                President & CEO
    Canadian Construction Association &     Association of Canadian Community
    Chair of the Investing in Skills        Colleges
    coalition


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Jayson Myers                            Ken Georgetti
    President                               President
    Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters      Canadian Labour Congress


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Randy Williams                          John Reid
    President & CEO                         President & CEO
    Tourism Industry Association of Canada  Canadian Advanced Technology
                                            Alliance (CATAAlliance)


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Denis Tanguay                           Jeff Morrison
    President & CEO                         President & Chief Operating
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition          Officer
                                            Association of Canadian
                                            Engineering Companies


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    T. Howard Mains                         Anthony P. Pollard
    Canadian Public Policy Advisor          President
    Association of Equipment Manufacturers  Hotel Association of Canada


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Pamela C. Fralick                       Elizabeth McDonald
    President & CEO                         Executive Director
    Canadian Healthcare Association         Canadian Solar Industries
                                            Association


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Pierre Boucher                          Anthony Ariganello
    President & CEO                         President & CEO
    Cement Association of Canada            Certified General Accountants
                                            Association of Canada


    (signed)                                (signed)
    --------------------------------        --------------------------------
    Cliff Mackay                            Diane J. Brisebois
    President & CEO                         President & CEO
    Railway Association of Canada           Retail Council of Canada


    (signed)
    --------------------------------
    Steve Vieweg
    President & CEO
    Certified Management Accountants
    




For further information:

For further information: Massimo Bergamini, InterChange Public Affairs,
(613) 230-0183 or cell (613) 290-5317

Organization Profile

INVESTING IN SKILLS COALITION

More on this organization

ASSOCIATION OF CANADIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGES (ACCC)

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