HRDC setting up automotive sector council

Automotive manufacturing accounts for two per cent of Canada's GDP, council will examine HR issues in the automotive sector

The federal government is pumping $420,000 into creating a new human resource sector council for the automotive manufacturing sector.

Jane Stewart, the Minister of Human Resources Development, said the automotive sector is key to the country, both as a source of revenue and as a major employer.

“To sustain employment growth in this key sector we must address skills shortages and other labour market issues affecting the industry,” said Stewart. “Establishing this new human resource sector council will help achieve this goal.”

What is a sector council?

The newly formed Automotive Manufacturing Sector Council will be one of 26 national sector councils that brings together representatives from business, labour, education and government to identify industry-wide HR challenges and to implement long-term planning and skills development strategies for its sector.

There are currently 26 national sector councils covering about 25 per cent of the labour market, according to HRDC.

Description of the project

This is the first sector council set up by the federal government since the 2001 federal budget, which doubled the sector council budget to $60 million over five years to strengthen existing councils and to help create new sector councils with the goal of increasing labour market coverage.

It will take about a year for the automotive sector council to be set up, during which time an interim board of directors will be established. It will:

•work towards its incorporation;

•establish governance and a board of directors; and

•prepare strategic and action plans.

The automotive sector

The automotive industry includes three sectors:

•manufacturing (includes the assemblers and the parts suppliers)’

•new and used vehicle retailing; and

•the “aftermarket” (comprises the distribution of replacement parts, accessories and service equipment and the repair and service of the vehicle.)

The automotive manufacturing sector represents two per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product and employs 209,000 workers, or 1.4 per cent of the Canadian employed labour force.

According to HRDC, the availability of highly qualified workers is one of the most pressing issues facing the industry. Companies are having a hard time finding employees with the technical, business, problem-solving and communication skills they need.

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