Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Solving Canada's "skills shortage"

This "issue" is a popular one these days. Canada has a shortage of skilled workers. Therefore there is nothing to be done other than import skilled labour in the tens of thousands. There is no other option.


I was writing about the impending skills shortage twenty-five years ago, as were plenty of others. The solution then as now has always been obvious; train Canadians in those skills.

So what have the various governments of Canada done about training Canadians for those jobs? Right next to nothing.

When the problem is of such import and the solution is so obvious, there is but one conclusion to be drawn from the fact that those various governments, both Liberal and Conservative, have done nothing.

They don't want to and they don't intend to. They are more than content to "solve" the problem by allowing the wholesale importation of "temporary foreign workers"

Looking at the problem from the government's point of view, this absolves them of the responsibility to initiate comprehensive and meaningful job-training programs.

They can save money and drive down wages by doing nothing. The former makes them look good and the latter pleases their corporate constituency.

In the meantime, they do a grave disservice to that minority of good corporate citizens like Ledcor who have developed meaningful apprenticeship programs. They do a grave disservice to the 1.5 million unemployed Canadians who would benefit from genuine job training. They do a grave disservice to the fabric of Canadian society as a whole.

Instead of floating out imaginary solutions like the "Job Action Plan" our government needs to get serious. Make a commitment to training Canadians for the jobs that Canada needs.


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