McGuinty government praised for addressing workforce shortage issues

    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is being praised today
by business, labour and education leaders for the commitment in its economic
statement to provide skills training to greater numbers of people.
    "Despite the perfect storm of challenges facing the sector, manufacturers
continue to be hard pressed to find people with the right skills to meet the
demand," said Ian Howcroft, vice-president, Ontario division, of Canadian
Manufacturers and Exporters. "Ontario's future success will largely depend on
addressing the skills crisis."
    "The government recognizes the skills shortage is a priority and Ontario
must address it in a meaningful way," said Barbara Taylor, chair of the
Ontario colleges' committee of presidents. "We are pleased to see the McGuinty
government's commitment to a strong and prosperous Ontario."
    The manufacturers and exporters and the colleges are just two of the
sectors in Ontario's Workforce Shortage Coalition, which represents 100,000
employers and millions of employees throughout the province. Ontario's
Workforce Shortage Coalition has been calling for a comprehensive strategy to
address the skills shortage.
    The workforce shortage in Ontario is primarily due to demographics. The
baby boomer generation is retiring, and Ontario has slowing population growth.
Even with strong immigration levels, there is expected to be a significant
shortage of qualified employees. For example, there are at least 20,000
positions in the food services industry that could be filled immediately.
    By 2025, Ontario faces a shortage of more than 360,000 skilled employees.
This could escalate to a shortage of more than 560,000 skilled employees by
2030. Everything from construction work to tourism, energy production, and
home care services could be hurt by a skills shortage.
    "Many Ontario environment companies are already hurting because they
can't find skilled workers, and other sectors are in the same situation," said
Alex Gill, executive director of the Ontario Environment Industry Association.
"Our coalition members are glad the government is taking the first steps to do
something about it."
    "Producing the skilled workforce to sustain our economy is an urgent
priority and the government is to be congratulated for the commitments in its
economic statement," said Len Crispino, president and CEO of the Ontario
Chamber of Commerce.
    "We look forward to working with the province to address the workforce
shortage challenge," said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of Retail
Council of Canada. "The new economy demands immediate action. Working
together, we are confident Ontario can meet this challenge."

    Ontario's Workforce Shortage Coalition includes the Automotive Parts
Manufacturers' Association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Canadian
Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the College Student Alliance,
Colleges Ontario, CON(*)NECT, the Council of Ontario Construction Associations,
the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and
Technologists, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Mining
Association, the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association, the Power
Workers' Union, Retail Council of Canada, Skills-Canada Ontario, Ontario
Environment Industry Association, Ontario General Contractors Association,
Greater Toronto Hotel Association, Toronto Financial Services Alliance,
Alliance of Ontario Food Processors, and the Ontario Tourism Council.

For further information:

For further information: Darrell Neufeld, Senior Communications Officer,
Colleges Ontario, (416) 596-0744, ext. 242,

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