Workforce shortages in the IT sector: Bell establishes coalition to ensure the next generation of IT resources



    MONTREAL, Quebec, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Canada today announced the
creation of a coalition to ensure the development of a future generation of
information technology (IT) experts able to meet the needs of Canadian
companies. The news was disclosed during a business luncheon of the Board of
Trade of Metropolitan Montreal by guest speaker Stéphane Boisvert, President -
Enterprise for Bell.
    The Canadian Coalition for tomorrow's IT skills will strive to
consolidate and ensure the long-term sustainability of IT know-how in Canada,
given the rapidly emerging shortage of professional workers in this sector.
This major national coalition will be comprised of prominent Canadian
organizations active in the IT sector or for which information technology is
critical to their operations.
    Numerous companies have already confirmed their participation in the
coalition. These include Hydro-Québec, Desjardins Group, CGI, Gaz Métro,
Nortel Networks, Rogers Communications, Canadian National Railway Co., TD
Meloche Monnex, Avaya Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada, BMO Financial Group,
Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada, Air Canada, Loto-Québec, Canadian
Tire Corp. Ltd, Metro Inc., Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec and the
Société des alcools du Québec.
    Mr. Boisvert made the announcement in the company of the coalition's
founding members, as well as Dr. Michael Bloom of the Conference Board of
Canada, who has drawn up a comprehensive profile of the country's IT sector.
    "Bell has taken the initiative of bringing together the major players in
the Canadian economy to face this important challenge as a group," said
Mr Boisvert. "Our goal is to stop the current erosion of technological talent
and infuse Canada's IT sector with a new vitality."
    The preliminary report from the Conference Board of Canada confirms that
Canadian businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit qualified
IT workers.
    "This phenomenon is in part due to demographic factors such as an aging
population, a low birthrate and the departure or retirement of baby boomers.
However, the primary - and most worrisome - reason is a drop in enrolments in
IT programs in universities across Canada, and particularly in Quebec and the
Maritimes." Dr. Bloom is Executive Director, Strategic Projects and
Initiatives and Director, Education and Learning for the Conference Board of
Canada.
    Adds Mr. Boisvert: "Neglecting to take the necessary steps to
significantly grow the pool of IT workers in Canada will have repercussions.
Considering that each vacant IT position represents an average cost to the
Canadian economy of $119,000 a year, the Conference Board of Canada determined
that failing to fill the 89,000 or so IT jobs that will become available over
the next three to five years would represent losses in excess of $10 billion -
and this is a conservative estimate."

    About Bell

    Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers with
solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services,
wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice
over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology
(ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief
Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Bell is
proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Communications
Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bell is
wholly owned by BCE Inc. For information on Bell's products and services,
please visit www.bell.ca. For corporate information on BCE, please visit
www.bce.ca.




For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries: Pierre Leclerc, Bell Media
Relations, (514) 391-2007, 1-877-391-2007, pierre.leclerc@bell.ca


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