With an increasingly older population and a declining birth rate, Ontario and Canada are facing a labour shortage that will quickly affect all sectors of the economy. Simply put, there will not be enough skilled workers to meet the demands of employment.

Additionally, as the workforce continues to age, there will not be a sufficient number of apprentices graduating from the skilled trades to replace the qualified journeypersons exiting the workforce. Right now, Ontario is working under a 3:1 journeyperson to apprentice ratio, which slows the rate of workers achieving certification. As more and more journeypersons retire, it will become much more difficult to maintain this ratio.

Labour Shortage Statistics
The Conference Board of Canada predicts that by 2020, Canada will experience a labour shortage of nearly one million people. Ontario could face a shortfall of 190,000 workers in 2020, rising to 364,000 by 2025 and 564,000 by 2030.

At the same time as our population is aging, the requirements of the labour market are changing. With the emergence of our knowledge economy, the proportion of the labour force requiring some form of education or training beyond high school will increase dramatically. It is estimated that by 2031 we will need 77% of our workforce to have post-secondary credentials (apprenticeship, university, college, industry, professional). Overall, we now stand at about 60%, with our younger population (25 to 34 years of age) at just over 66%. From reports prepared in 2000 by Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin it was discovered that there is a lack of communication between unions/business and the education system. Several employers commented that the schools are not promoting the trades as good, highly skilled, well paying jobs. Concern was expressed that school boards have closed their industrial shops which has prevented students from being exposed to the trades.

The CCC has identified the skills shortage as the no. 1 barrier to Canadian competitiveness and will be greatly focusing their efforts over the coming months on this issue. The CCC has also released the following surveys pertaining to the issue of skilled labour shortage;

Survey  #1: Focuses on issues relative to post-secondary education

Survey #2:  Focuses on issues relative to life-long learning

Survey #3:  Focuses on issues relative to older workers and persons with disabilities

Survey #4: Focuses on issues relative to integration services for immigrants

Survey #5: Improving Canada’s immigration processes

Survey #6: Early childhood education programs

Survey #7: Skilled trades and labour mobility

Survey #8: Domestic skills development and focuses on Aboriginal peoples

Future surveys will focus on a variety of issues related to Canada’s skills challenges. The surveys will remain open until the end of June. For more information on Canada’s skills crisis click here.

Skilled Labour Roundtable
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a roundtable on the skilled labour crisis to here stakeholders concerns and address a plan for the future. We will keep you updated with the results.

Below are some reading materials to get your more familiar with the issues.

For additional resources on the skills crisis please visit the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Knowledge Centre.