The Developing Workforce Problem - Extreme Makeover - Boomer Edition: Living in the past is killing the future

    HALIFAX, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - There may yet be a silver lining to the current
economic turmoil. It buys us time to deal with the increasingly critical
labour shortage.
    In The Developing Workforce Problem: Confronting Canadian Labour
Shortages in the Coming Decades, published today by the Atlantic Institute for
Market Studies (AIMS), Dalhousie University Professor Emeritus Dr. Jim McNiven
says "the coming generalized shortage of available workers will present
challenges to the Canadian economy quite unlike those that characterized the
previous century."
    The current downturn does NOT solve the problem. McNiven says we would
need a sustained recession over some 20 years to cope with the demographic
crunch we have created for ourselves.
    "In the 1970s and 1980s, the Canadian economy was restructured to meet
the challenge of the entry of the huge baby boom generation into the employed
labour force," he explains.
    "With the demographic changes that have taken place since then this
design is no longer working. Indeed, continuing to adhere to it threatens
Canadians' standard of living, and could lead to unrest, outmigration, and
slow-to-nonexistent economic growth coupled with high inflation."
    AIMS Executive Vice President Charles Cirtwill says McNiven's paper comes
at an opportune time because it shows that even a long-term recession will do
little to delay the point in time when there will be too few workers to
support our economy.
    "The message here is simple," says Cirtwill. "Pouring billions into
supposedly 'saving' jobs might make for a good sound bite, but given what this
paper tells us about the shrinking work force and the real labour shortage it
begs the question: saving jobs for whom? We need different answers to these
pressing questions and the coming months will demonstrate if we are up to the
challenge, or not."

    The complete report can be found on the AIMS website at

For further information:

For further information: Jim McNiven, (902) 477-9791; Charles Cirtwill,
AIMS Executive Vice President, (902) 489-7699

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