Canadian coalition tackles IT labour shortage crisis

     Major Information Technology employers join forces to help develop a
    future generation of IT professionals to meet the competitive demands
                           of the Canadian economy
    TORONTO, Ontario, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - A prominent group of Canadian
organizations has joined in a national effort to address a growing and
increasingly serious shortage of IT professionals. Initiated by Bell Canada,
the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's IT Skills will work collaboratively to
develop insights for securing the future of Canada's IT workforce.
    Comprised of leading Canadian companies that rely on a strong IT
workforce, which includes a concentration in Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT), the coalition partners will focus on addressing the
factors contributing to the IT labour shortage. The goal is to ensure a
healthy national economy built on ongoing growth, productivity and
competitiveness in the global marketplace.
    "If left uncontested, the IT skills gap will create gaps in our economic
performance, gaps in our productivity, and gaps in our ability to compete
globally. It is in everyone's interest to close those gaps as quickly as
possible," said Stéphane Boisvert, President, Bell Enterprise Group and
official spokesperson for the coalition.
    The economic impact of an IT labour shortage has been outlined in a new
Conference Board of Canada study commissioned by Bell Canada. The report,
entitled "Securing our Future," includes startling revelations about the
economic cost of not filling the estimated 90,000 IT positions set to open
across Canada over the next five years.
    "The repercussions to the Canadian economy will be severe if those
positions go unfilled," said Dr. Michael Bloom, Vice President, Organizational
Effectiveness and Learning for the Conference Board of Canada. "Based on an
average annual contribution of $120,000 per IT worker, the economic impact
will be more than $10 billion."
    Research conducted by the Conference Board identified several major
factors that contribute to a growing IT talent gap, including declining
enrolments in IT-related post-secondary programs; demographic shifts such as
population aging and a low fertility rate; under-representation of key
population groups, including women and immigrants; and mismatches between
skills of available workers and the ever-changing requirements of employers.
    Based on the results of the Conference Board study, the national
coalition will be focusing its efforts on three major areas:


    - Raising the profile of IT and IT career choices among young people,
      with a specific goal of increasing enrolments in IT-related programs
    - Generating public awareness of the importance of IT to Canada by
      emphasizing the contribution IT makes to Canada's economic prosperity
      and competitiveness
    - Developing and sustaining Canadian IT know-how

    "Today, there are some 600,000 IT workers in Canada, employed in the most
mission critical, technology intensive sectors of our economy. We're putting
both short and long-term economic growth at risk if we don't take action now,"
added Mr. Boisvert. "The coalition, together with the corporate and public
sectors, can help turn the tide of the professional IT shortage, and reverse
the flow of outsourcing of these important, high-paying jobs beyond our
    Members of the Coalition for Tomorrow's IT Skills include the following
companies, associations and other organizations:

    Bell, Hydro-Québec, Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, CGI, Gaz Métro,
Nortel Networks, Rogers Communications, Canadian National Railway Company
(CN), TD Meloche Monnex, Avaya Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada, BMO Financial
Group, The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada, Air Canada, Loto-Québec,
Canadian Tire Corp. Limited, Ericsson Canada, Métro Inc., Société des alcools
du Québec, LGS / IBM Canada, Exfo, Sapphire Technologies, National Bank of
Canada, Cisco Systems Canada, SNC Lavalin, Bombardier, Ultramar, Pfizer, SAP
Canada, Conference Board of Canada, TechnoCompétences, TechnoMontréal,
Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), Information and
Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Manufacturiers et exportateurs du
Québec (MEQ), Computing Technology Industry Association (Comptia), Canadian
Information Processing Society (CIPS), and the Toronto Board of Trade.

    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 For corporate information on BCE, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Jason Laszlo, Bell Media Relations, (416)
606-4737, 1 888 482-0809,

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