Upskilling, immigration, education should be priorities to confront skills shortage

Aboriginal Peoples also key: Report
||Last Updated: 10/02/2012

When it comes to confronting Canada’s skills and labour shortages, there are four key priorities, according to a Canadian Chamber of Commerce report.

Upskilling, immigration, education and Aboriginal Peoples should be the focus, said Canada's Skills Crisis: What We Heard, based on roundtable discussions in 14 locations across the country as part of a Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness initiative.

2012 has been the tipping point for Canadian business confronting skills and labour shortages, according to the organization, and a crisis that had been hidden by the recession is now fully apparent.

As it moves from the consultation phase to action, the Canadian Chamber identified four key priorities:

Upskilling: Upgrading the skills of the existing labour force and better employing under-utilized groups.

•Immigration: Ensuring immigration policy is aligned with local labour markets and employers' needs.

•Education: Improving the connections between educators and employers to balance supply with demand for skilled trades and highly skilled occupations.

•Aboriginal peoples: Focusing on education and workforce development, especially in the West and the territories where the economic and social opportunities and risks are greatest for this population.

"Getting a handle on the issues and suggestions which emerged from our consultations isn't easy. One size does not fit all," said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "However, three issues were raised wherever we met: upgrading the skills of existing Canadian workers, improving connections between educators and employers, and getting the right approach to immigration. We also heard a great deal about the need to do much better in fully realizing the potential of Aboriginal Canadians."

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