Quebec poised to enter an era of serious labour shortages



    OTTAWA, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Quebec could face a shortfall of
292,000 workers by 2025, rising to 363,000 by 2030, according to a
Conference Board analysis released today, From Baby Boom to Labour Crunch:
Quebec's Impending Labour Shortage.
    "Tight labour markets are no longer an exclusively Western Canadian
concern. Quebec is already facing a lack of workers with specific trade
skills, and more generalized labour shortages could be felt in the broader
economy as early as 2010," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director,
Provincial Outlook.
    Given current demographic trends, the overall labour force participation
rate most likely peaked in 2007 and will gradually subside over the long term.
By 2030, the labour shortage will amount to 8.5 per cent of Quebec's total
labour force; in comparison, Ontario's labour shortfall is forecast to be
6.2 per cent.
    Labour will provide virtually no contribution to long-term production
gains in Quebec after 2020. As a result, the growth in Quebec's potential
output-the maximum output that an economy can achieve without triggering
inflation pressures-is projected to slip to 1.5 per cent by 2030.
    In practice, a large worker shortfall is not sustainable, and markets
will respond to it.  A severe workforce shortage would prompt a swift increase
in real wage rates, and firms would increasingly substitute capital equipment
for labour.
    There is no simple solution to Quebec's impending labour shortfall, but
two strategic approaches are proposed. One approach would target improving
labour productivity, through enhanced training programs, increased access to
education, and fiscal support for investment in new technologies.
    A second approach involves increasing the labour force itself-by
attracting more skilled immigrants, streamlining foreign accreditation
recognition, promoting higher fertility rates, and encouraging labour market
participation among underemployed groups (such as Aboriginal peoples, mature
workers and women). A combination of these approaches will likely be required.




For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090,
ext. 448, corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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