News briefs

A dental gap; Skills shortage top of mind; Ontario adds med school spots; A call to enforce B.C.’s late-shift rules; Infrastructure gets attention

A dental gap
Saskatoon — Seems like a week doesn’t go by without another occupation joining the labour shortage list. The University of Saskatchewan has added dentists to the province’s tally. The university’s college of dentistry warns graduates are leaving the province at the same time practising dentists are retiring — 30 per cent are older than 55.

Skills shortage top of mind
Ottawa — Sixty per cent of 1,169 business and labour leaders polled by the Canadian Labour and Business Centre said the skills shortage is a serious problem for the economy. Less than 10 per cent said it’s not a problem. In British Columbia, those polled ranked it as the number one issue and Albertans put it as the number two issue facing business.

Ontario adds med school spots
Toronto — With estimates that as many as one million Ontarians don’t have a family doctor, the province is putting more cash into medical schools. The government will give $20.8 million to add 104 med school spaces by 2011.

A call to enforce B.C.’s late-shift rules
Vancouver — Too many British Columbia employers, especially gas stations, aren’t abiding by the province’s requirements to have policies for working alone at night, the B.C. Federation of Labour charges. In an informal survey this month, only one of 12 gas stations were checking in with late-night staff as required, and it’s time the Workers’ Compensation Board cracked down on employers, said federation president Jim Sinclair. The issue has received national attention following the murder of Brigitte Serre, the teen killed while working her first midnight shift alone at a Montreal gas bar in January.

Infrastructure gets attention
Ottawa — After three decades of deterioration, the average age of the elements of Canada’s infrastructure — bridges, roads, sewer and water systems — finally went down thanks to government investment, Statistics Canada reported. However, it’s important that infrastructure investment continues because while the situation has stabilized, the vast bulk of public infrastructure is halfway through its useful life, noted TD bank chief economist Don Drummond.

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