Is Canada Facing a Labour Shortage?

Is Canada’s economy threatened by a shortage of qualified labour?

Most likely, but according to a recent report by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a definitive answer on the severity of the issue is still to be determined.

The reason for this uncertainty is a lack of follow-through and leadership on recommendations posed by government and business leaders five years ago. The report cites a “desperate need” for Canada to improve its data measuring the labour market in order to effectively address shortages and skills mismatches.

In the face of this ongoing debate, how do you continue to attract top talent to your organization?

Canada Lacks Data Measurement

In 2009 a government advisory panel charged Canada with improving its labour market data management system, specifically regarding shortage. Today, economist and public policy expert Don Drummond, who chaired the panel, notes that many of its most important recommendations have either been only partially implemented or have not begun at all.

  • The 2014 report calls on Ottawa to take the lead. It recommends giving Statistics Canada (Statscan) the responsibility and necessary resources to be the central data gathering system for the country’s labour market information. Currently, too much data is fragmented, at all levels of government.
  • All this comes amid debate about the state of Canada’s labour needs. Policy makers and economists disagree about how big the skills shortage is, where it is, and which specific skills are most needed. The Foreign Temporary Worker Program is highly controversial. A number of programs to step up training programs have met opposition.
  • Budgets have been cut. The 2009 panel proposed that Ottawa invest $49 million to bring labour market information up to date. Instead, Statscan’s budget has been repeatedly cut since that time. Thus, the labour shortage question remains.

Learn from the Best

While the labour debate rages on, how can you continue to attract and hire top talent? Take some notes from Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Their strategic focus is on talent magnetism via the development of more productive, profitable cultures.

  • Foster employee development and leadership engagement. Help people map and follow their career paths. Support classes, executive coaching, mentoring and management training.
  • Inclusion and camaraderie are key to a trust-based culture. Senior leaders at these companies make it a priority to know their employees personally. They routinely participate in onboarding, training, recognitions and celebrations. They continually seek employee input and feedback. And because their ideas matter, employees feel invested in their company and its future.
  • Make culture a strategic imperative. These employers understand that a strong culture attracts the right talent. Employer and employee values align and as a result, they achieve success in retention, profitability and innovation. Their best practices include interview questions that assess cultural fit and simulated work experiences to gain a sense of candidates’ abilities and interpersonal styles.

For additional tips on talent management, as well as continued updates on the national labour picture, read our related posts or contact the team at Employment Professionals Canada today. We look forward to hearing from you!