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April 15, 2013 / mike54martin

The Jobs Of Today and Tomorrow

your career

The Conference Board of Canada reports that moving into 2013 skilled trades will continue to be a place where there are many more jobs than people to fill them, and this is true not just in resource rich areas in the West but into Ontario and some further east as well. Other jobs in high demand include engineering, accounting, finance and some specialized jobs in information technology. But none of that is news. That has been the same story for the last ten years.

So why can’t Canada create the trained bodies to meet these continuing needs. Why in fact are we importing tens of thousands of temporary foreign workers to meet the short term needs of employers while we all know recent high school and university graduates that are unemployed or underemployed? Why are medical school graduates and engineers from other countries now living in Canada and driving taxis instead of joining the labour market at their full level of expertise?

There are no easy or short term answers to these problems but unless we start working on these today, with a sense of urgency, not only will these problems continue, but they will rapidly grow worse. Governments have a role to play and some of them have started. But creating a couple of hundred apprentice training programs will not meet the needs of tens of thousands of skilled electricians and pipe fitters or welders. We don’t have the time to waste, nor should we be prepared to underutilize our youth and qualified immigrants.

I think it’s time for Canadian business to step up to the plate and instead of asking for more temporary foreign workers to commit some of their own resources for a massive training and retraining plan. To take our current workforce and transform into a labour pool that can meet our needs, today and tomorrow. And governments at all levels should help finance this scheme. For every job created they should provide incentives. For every worker retrained they should provide a tax break.

If we want the jobs of today and tomorrow in Canada we need to build a new partnership between unions and employers and governments to make this a  reality. This scenario is so close to our grasp that you can taste it. But it will not come to fruition unless we make it so. So what are we waiting for? Let’s put all of Canada back to work.

This post first appeared on my blog at

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People.

He is also the author of the Sgt. Windflower mystery series

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