By Chris Sorensen - Friday, March 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Jobs Report: The biggest threat facing the economy is a massive shortage of qualified workers
On a recent February evening, Karl Eve received an emergency call from a restaurant owner in Canmore, Alta. The busy eatery had suddenly found itself with no hot water, even though the basement hot water tanks appeared to be working fine. A plumber with 10 years’ experience, Eve eventually traced the problem to a malfunctioning dishwasher and got the hot water flowing again—much to the owner’s relief.
It’s the sort of detective work Eve says he loves about his job. He also likes that his plumbing business, which he runs with his wife in nearby Exshaw, provides his family with a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But it was a career he very nearly missed. Never a fan of textbooks, Eve ended up toiling in a southern Ontario gypsum mine after high school. It was only after moving to Alberta years later that he considered a career in the trades. A chance meeting at a church potluck led to a ride-along with a local plumber and, ultimately, an apprenticeship. “I discovered there was a lot to learn, especially when it came to math,” Eve says of his four years of training, which included eight weeks a year in a classroom. “The amount of education was very surprising to me, but in a positive way. I grasped it with both hands, so to speak.”
- College-corporate partnerships
- Green tech: No longer a niche
- After the oil boom
- Colby Cosh on the state and education
Eve’s story is more rare than it should be in Canada. Many consider the trades to be low-paying, go-nowhere jobs, if they consider them at all. But it’s a perception not grounded in reality, as Eve’s healthy hourly rate of $90 to $135 suggests. Nor is it one Canada can afford to maintain. Numerous studies warn Canada is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers over the next few decades as millions of baby boomers hit retirement age and exit the workforce.
By Rosemary Westwood - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM - 0 Comments
Colleges create programs in response to industry demand
Amy Gordon was in the middle of completing her second university degree when she decided to go to college instead. Gordon already had a degree in biology from the University of Alberta, and was studying chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. “I was getting really tired of learning lecture-style theory. I had an itch to get more hands-on and learn more,” says the 29-year-old.
So she left U of C, and is now nearing the end of a two-year diploma program in instrumentation engineering at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton. Gordon has been getting the hands-on training she wanted in labs supported by—and named after—Spartan Controls Ltd. The company has poured about $8-million worth of equipment into the program since 2007, essentially creating labs that replicate what it’s like to work in a refinery, giving students access to training on new technology.
- The future of jobs in Canada
- Green tech: No longer a niche
- After the oil boom
- Colby Cosh on the state and education
Colleges and institutes across the country have long had a cozy relationship with companies and industries, with a goal of fuelling economic growth and funnelling students into vacant jobs. But with the country’s skilled-labour shortage worsening—it’s estimated to reach four million over the next quarter-century—worried companies are coaxing colleges into ever closer and more creative partnerships. In some cases, they’re even helping design new programs.
By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 1:08 PM - 0 Comments
Barack Obama has proposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, and the discussion is spilling over to Canada. There are two things one needs to know about the minimum wage, employment and poverty in Canada:
1. In Canada the link between minimum wage increases and lower employment levels is stronger than in the U.S. The famous Card-Krueger study of events along the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border in 1992 found that an increase in the minimum wage actually led to an increase in employment. Subsequent work has challenged that conclusion, but as far as I can tell, U.S. studies generally find that the link between (small) changes in the minimum wage and changes in employment has been fairly weak.
The Canadian literature on the link between minimum wages and employment looks very different. For one thing, empirical studies that use Canadian data are able to exploit variations in the minimum wage both across time and across provinces (in the U.S., on the other hand, the minimum wage is largely driven by changes at the federal level). Estimates for the effect of minimum wage are generally stronger than those in the U.S., and as Morley Gunderson notes in his 2005 survey of the literature:
While there are substantial differences across the different Canadian studies, the following generalisations emerge:
- The earlier Canadian studies (based on data prior to the 1980s) tended to find adverse employment effects that were in the range of US consensus estimates, and sometimes higher, where a 10% increase in the minimum wage would give rise to a 1-3% reduction in employment.
- Studies based on data to include the 1980s tended to find smaller effects that were at the lower end of the consensus range, and possibly zero, as was often also the case in the US.
- However, some more recent studies using different and more sophisticated methodologies as well as more recent data (e.g., Baker, Benjamin and Stanger 1999, Yeun 2003, Baker 2005, Campolieti, Fang and Gunderson 2005a, b, Campolieti, Gunderson and Riddell, forthcoming) find larger adverse employment effects at the higher end and beyond the consensus range, especially in the longer run. The elasticities typically range from -0.3 to -0.6 for teens (slightly lower for young adults), implying that at 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would lead to a 3 to 6 percent reduction in the employment of teens. The fact that they use different data sets and methodologies suggest that these results are robust.
- Overall it appears that the Canadian studies tend to find adverse employment effects that are at least as large and likely larger than US studies; certainly none find positive employment effects as occasionally occurs in the US.
Using Card-Krueger to support calls for a minimum wage increase in Canada isn’t just cherry-picking: it’s cherry-picking from an entirely different orchard.
By Erica Alini - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
- Unemployment dipped 0.1 per cent to seven per cent in January, the lowest level in four years, but the decline came as more jobless Canadian stopped looking for work.
- Employment decreased by 22,000 jobs in January, in a widely anticipated decline after strong growth in November and December.
- Still, compared to January 2012, employment was up 1.6 per cent, or 286,000 jobs.
- There were fewer jobs in education and manufacturing, whereas employment in construction and public administration saw an uptick — the latter even though public sector employment as a whole fell by 27,000.
- The job losses were concentrated in Ontario, which mostly shed full-time positions, and B.C. Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick registered increases.
What the analysts are saying:
- Labour force participation dipped to 66.6 per cent in January from 66.8 per cent in the previous month, with 57,500 more Canadians abandoning their job searches. That was the largest monthly decline since 1995, noted TD’s Sonya Gulati.
- The employment dip was to be expected after several months in which job growth outpaced GDP, noted CIBC’s Avery Shenfled.
- RBC’s Dawn Desjardins struck a positive note. With headwinds from the global subsiding and interest rates low for the foreseeable future, she wrote, the economy will likely pick up momentum in the second half of the year. Expect unemployment to gradually decline to 6.7 per cent by late 2014.
By Amanda Shendruk - Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Much has been written about the plight of the recent university graduate. She is over-educated, underemployed, and staring down an uncertain job market; the promise of a stable position was the last generation’s reality, not hers.
A newly-released report from the American non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests almost half of all graduates work in jobs for which they are overqualified.
In Canada, the situation doesn’t seem quite as dire, but during the last year for which there are numbers, 2006, about one in four university-educated workers was in a position that didn’t require a degree. As Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis pointed out in “The New Underclass”, this proportion is believed to be even higher now.
But there must be jobs somewhere, right? In 2011, The Canadian Occupational Projection System (administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) developed a detailed, 10-year labour market projections report that focuses on the estimated trends in labour supply and demand between 2011 and 2020.
Broken into occupational groups, the report determines which jobs are projected to have an excess of positions and which will have an excess of workers. The chart below details 20 of the occupations expected to see the greatest worker shortages between now and 2020. Note: They are not the positions where there are the most jobs, but the areas in which the chances of getting a job (due to the number of job openings exceeding the number of job seekers) are greater. Interestingly, only three require university-level education.
While the projections provide hope for some, they also reveal occupations for which the number of job seekers far outweigh the number of positions. To those seeking employment in the following fields (just to name a few): consider becoming a tailor.
- Management in communication.
- Managers in art, culture, recreation and sport.
- Physical science professionals.
- Athletes, coaches, etc.
- Machine operators and related works in pulp and paper production, wood processing, and workers in fabric, fur and leather.
- Machining, metalworking, woodworking and related machine operators.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM - 0 Comments
Does an entire generation of young people have no future? Your thoughts here.
Last week’s cover story, “The New Underclass: Why so many smart, educated, ambitious young people have no future” hit a nerve with readers. Some thought it was dead on, others thought it was exaggerated, arguing that there are jobs out there. Here are some of the best responses sent in by mail, email and through social media:
Thank you for shedding some light on the way our education system has failed Canadian students (“The new underclass”, Society, Jan. 21). When I retired from the skilled trades a few years ago, the average age of tradesmen in Ontario was approaching 58 years of age. Yet still the education system was promoting a university degree as the best path forward. Skilled trades in Canada have been stigmatized by our education system, and it really came to a peak when special needs students came into the public education system and they were channelled into the “technical stream” and called something like “life skills.” That ended any interest normal students might have developed in following the technical stream as a path to the skilled trades.
Dave Bradley, Cargill, Ontario
During my 20-year career as a college professor, I observed the steady obsession by community colleges to become second-rate universities in staffing requirements, course content and political posturing. As well, my exposure to universities’ academic practices allowed me to learn of a fatal flaw in their philosophies of management. As an invited participant in committee processes at university, I was told what the students did with their education upon graduation was not a concern of the university, and that my recommendation of a “needs assessment” for a proposed new degree was not relevant or required. So now today’s students are processed by factory-like institutions that focus mainly on their own marketing-driven management mandarins. We must better define the specific roles, behaviours and outcomes of these publicly funded institutions. A structural and philosophical paridigm shift of the utmost magnitude is in order.
Neil O. Foster, Algonquin Highlands, Ont.
Thank you! You have no idea how great it felt picking up your Jan. 21 issue. Being part of the Generation Y cohort, I seriously almost cried. It finally felt like I had a voice. My generation’s plight will hopefully be heard, thanks to articles like this. It really hurts to be labelled as a bratty, entitled generation when we did everything asked of us. Is wanting the same middle-class lifestyle enjoyed by our parents and grandparents really too much to ask for?
Rishu Khan, Mississauga, Ont.
When I read “The new underclass” I felt very fortunate. I am a third-year agricultural business major, and ever since my first year, I have been working in my field. I’ve had five job offers for this summer in my field. I have no doubts about employment in a position I will enjoy after graduation. Our college graduates 300 agricultural students a year to fill 900 jobs available; employment within a year of graduating is 100 per cent in our field. The sad reality is, most students who grew up within city limits do not see agriculture as a viable option, because when they think agriculture, they think of a farmer breaking his back plowing and wrangling cows. The agricultural industry is very big business throughout the world and one that provides growth for innovative, educated and passionate young people in its field.
Marin MacNamara, Grand Valley, Ont.
Many young people either have no real marketable skill or the skill they do have is not demanded by society. There’s also the fact that so many retired people with excellent benefits and pensions, such as teachers, are taking jobs away from the young, which is most unfair. My husband knew a man who, while holding down a full-time government job, was collecting five good pensions. When my husband applied to the Bentley School of Accounting in Boston many years ago, which was one of the best in the United States, their slogan was, “We will teach you how to make a living, you can get educated on your own time.” Maybe our educational institutions should adopt the same philosophy. At least it would save a lot of people a lot of money.
Dolores Murray, Sarnia, Ont.
Why do so many young people have no future? We have lost a large amount of our manufacturing. No economy can function properly without an adequate level of manufacturing. Every Western country has the same problem and needs the same solution.
Edward J. Farkas, Toronto
As a mother of four, two of whom are in their early 20s and another two in high school, I was disappointed that your story suggested our young people have “no future.” My husband and I graduated in the mid-’80s. He worked as an engineer and I worked in advertising. Between us, we were able to rent a basement apartment. We still lived there when our first daughter was born in 1988. We continued to live in rented accommodation after our second daughter was born; I walked to a laundromat, kids in tow, for years. Those were tough times, but we lived frugally and when the housing market took a dive in the early ’90s we were able to buy one-half of a modest duplex. Many years, later, we were able to buy a detached home in a nice neighbourhood. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. Canadian youth should know that there is a future, regardless of your background or level of education. Work hard, think creatively and be flexible, and you’ll be surprised at the riches life has to offer.
Heather MacDonald, Ottawa
Young people today are a product of parents’ obsession with only a university education. My own son went to community college for one year and then became a heavy duty mechanic apprentice. Now going into his third year of apprenticeship, he earns $65,000 a year before any overtime and he regularly receives unsolicited job offers. I am confident that he will not be a member of your new underclass.
Paul Schroeder, Winnipeg
The opening sentence of this article claims that “Melanie Cullins is no pipe dreamer.” Oh really? This 28-year-old you profile has no job, a husband doing contract work, no benefits or pension, two babies and she still expects to own a home in one of Canada¹s most expensive cities and get a job making the amount she would like to make in a job she would like to have. If this is not a pipe dream, I don’t know what is. If the expectation of the boomers’ children is to all live like this in their twenties, Canada is in real trouble. Later in the issue you point out careers where numerous jobs can be found. It is a shame it takes a magazine article to tell these people what industries the jobs are located in.
Jeff Brisbois, Port Williams, N.S.
The current blame for this problem is shared by all facets of our community: parents who expect their offspring all to be leaders, professionals, and rich but not have to get their hands dirty; educators who attract students with false promises of a bright future while offering underwater basket-weaving courses to expand their institution’s population with no emphasis on what it takes to “earn a living.” We need to require all high school graduates to work for two years prior to further higher education. Teachers should have experienced several facets of commercial life prior to entering the teaching profession. All employers of 10 skilled persons should be required to train one apprentice. Encourage the colleges and universities to teach practical courses that will result in gainful employment, and minimize financial support for students taking non-commercial courses. Explain to parents that there is no shame in living a life of basic rewards for meaningful work. The future of Canadian society as we know it will depend on getting this problem solved.
Brian Riden, Stirling, Ont.
You quote a professor of labour studies from McMaster University, who himself was in university for over 10 years, as saying “the risk of trade jobs is that technical change comes along and wipes out your trade.” All the technology in the world is never going to replace someone who can tape drywall, fix your furnace or climb hydro poles.
Evan Bates, Parry Sound, Ont.
Much of the bad news for today’s youth has been apparent for some time: the high levels of student debt, the underemployment, and the lack of skilled trades workers. What really shocked me, though, was the continuing disparity in earnings between men and women in the same profession (“The million-dollar promise,” Society, Jan. 14). What year is this again? In order to become a civil engineer, a nurse, a lawyer or a pharmacist, women and men follow the same curriculum, write the same exams, and pay the same tuition. It seems to me that tuition for women should be lowered to reflect the wage gap they will face upon entry into the workforce.
Mary Mackay, Ottawa
The story also ignited a debate online, with plenty of comments on Twitter and Facebook.
By Heather Scoffield - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Many companies struggling to find the right employees are overlooking a talented…
OTTAWA – Many companies struggling to find the right employees are overlooking a talented pool of disabled workers, a government-commissioned panel has found.
The group found that there are almost 800,000 people with disabilities who are capable of working in Canada and almost half of them have post-secondary education.
Previous reports have found that even the disabled who have jobs are often dramatically underemployed.
“Canada is facing skills and labour shortages in many sectors, and finding ways to get all Canadians working is key to meeting this challenge,” Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said in a statement as she and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released the report on Wednesday.
The panel of private-sector employers was assembled by the federal government last summer and was asked to figure out how to better match job openings with the skills of workers with disabilities.
Their report says that when companies hire people with disabilities, no special accommodation is required in 57 per cent of cases.
When special arrangements are necessary, the average cost to the company is just $500.
“There is a strong business case to be made for businesses hiring people with disabilities,” said Kenneth Fredeen, general counsel of Deloitte and Touche and chairman of the panel.
The panel spoke with 70 employers and received 130 on-line submissions.
Panel members found that there is a broad willingness to hire workers with disabilities, but that more education and training is needed for companies to figure out how to overcome barriers and put their ideas into practice.
“Tone from the top and the actions of leaders are imperative,” the report said.
Most of the companies contacted had policies and practices to accommodate existing employees with disabilities, but were not making good use of this expertise to hire more, the report added.
Mental health disabilities were found to be particularly problematic. That’s because employees have to admit to such disabilities in order to get special accommodation from employers.
“Many are reluctant to do so if the disability is hidden and/or stigmatized,” the report says. “Several companies commented that colleagues may be less understanding of mental health issues than other more visible disabilities.”
In 2006, about 14.3 per cent of the population, or 4.4 million people, reported a disability of some kind.
Among the working-age population, eight per cent of those aged 25 to 44 had a disability, while 18.3 per cent of those in the 45-to-64 bracket reported being disabled.
Workers with disabilities are dramatically under-represented in private-sector companies governed by the Employment Equity Act, says the most recent annual government report on disability issues. However, they are over-represented in the public service.
Labour force participation among people with disabilities is low, with 59.6 per cent active in the workforce. That’s much lower than the among people without disabilities, where 80.2 per cent of working-age adults are in the workforce.
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM - 0 Comments
Before they assumed the highest office in the country, these eight individuals held an unusual array of jobs:
1. Robert Borden, teenage classics teacher: Canada’s eighth prime minister studied Greek and Latin from a young age. When he was 14, the classics teacher at his private day school, near his home in Nova Scotia, abruptly left
for another posting and Borden was promoted from student to “assistant master” in charge of classical studies.
2. Jean Chrétien, black market chocolatier: While attending school at St. Joseph Seminary in Trois-Rivières, Que., Chrétien earned spending money by peddling illicit chocolate bars to fellow pupils. A friend on the outside bought the bars wholesale, and Chrétien sold them at a steep markup, hiding the goods from the authorities in the lining of his red raincoat. Continue…
By Erica Alini - Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
There are three very important labour market releases out this morning: both Canada and the U.S. published their November employment numbers, and Statistics Canada also released the labour productivity growth figures for the July-September period.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers, plus a list of recommended readings if you want to know more about the context and significance of these economic indicators.
Employment and Unemployment in Canada
All is well in the Canadian labour market—much better than expected, in fact. The economy churned out an impressive 59,000 more jobs in November, well above the consensus expectation of a 7,500 gain. The hiring came mostly from the private sector and in terms of full-time jobs, and employment levels increased or were unchanged across all provinces. The unemployment rate dipped 0.2 percentage points to 7.2 per cent, the lowest level since March and below the consensus forecast of 7.4 per cent unemployment.
By Erica Alini - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM - 0 Comments
The much-anticipated October jobs report, the last major economic release before Nov. 6, is out and it continues to show a U.S. economy slowly edging forward on the path of recovery. At 171,000, the number of jobs added last month beat expectations, which were hovering around a gain of 125,000 payrolls. The politically important unemployment rate, however, edged up a tick, rising to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent in September, likely a sign that discouraged job seekers are looking for work again.
None of this challenges the candidates’ narratives on the state of labour market, which run more or less like this:
By Erica Alini - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7:19 PM - 0 Comments
Both Canada and the U.S. will release October job reports Friday. Here’s what you should look for:
The Labour Department’s Employment Situation report will be by far the bigger news story even in Canada, as Americans digest the last major economic release before the Nov. 6 election. The September release turned out to be pleasant surprise to the Democrats: it showed the unemployment rate had dipped to 7.8 per cent, the lowest it’s been since President Obama took office in January 2009. But many—including, of course, the Republicans—argued that the positive headline number masked a still anemic employment growth. Last month, the U.S. economy added about 114,000 jobs, below the 150,000 level that is traditionally thought to be the minimum needed to keep up with population increases. Still, some economists—including, notably, Paul Krugman—have noted that the smaller employment numbers might be here to stay. With baby boomer retiring, the argument goes, the pool of Americans of prime working age is shrinking (according to Stephen Gordon, the same holds true for Canada, read more here). The question then is: do pre-recession estimates of how many jobs it takes to absorb population growth still hold?
Going back to tomorrow’s release, on Wednesday, economists polled by Reuters were predicting that the economy will have added 125,000 jobs in October—up from September—but that the unemployment rate will have climbed a notch as well, up to 7.9 per cent. The latter number, of course, is the one that really counts in politics, so any uptick from September’s record low would be mildly bad news for the White House. (Several political analysts are arguing, sensibly, that most Americans will cast their vote based on their own perceptions of the country’s economic situation, rather than the latest statistical release. Still, in a close race, everything counts.)
A different jobs report released this morning, however, gave the Obama Administration reason to hope. ADP, a giant payrolls processing company, said that the economy added 158,000 jobs in October. That may foreshadow a better-than-expected number in tomorrow’s Bureau of Labour Statistic’s survey and led some analysts to revise their forecasts up. Several economists interviewed by Reuters, however, cautioned against giving too much weight to the ADP report, noting that the company’s October data are based on a new methodology whose predictive power vis-à-vis the BLS survey is still untested.
Canadian employment has been edging up for the last three months, with 17,565 jobs added in September. CIBC predicts a slight dip in both the headcount figure, with 15,000 jobs added, and the unemployment rate, down to 7.3 per cent from 7.4 the previous month.
The most telling detail will likely be construction employment: in September it was still rising despite clear signs that the residential real estate market is cooling. A sharp drop in housing prices, Capital Economics recently calculated, could shave off as many as 115,000 construction jobs in a sector that currently employs around 890,000 Canadians.
By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM - 0 Comments
The unemployment rate is the best-known number published by the Labour Force Survey, but it is not the necessarily the most informative statistic about the labour market. According to the LFS, employment status is self-reported: you are classified as “unemployed” if you say that you are not employed and are currently looking for work.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach (especially since no-one can think of a better one), but it can lead to misleading impressions of trends in the labour market. One problem is the phenomenon of the “discouraged worker.” If the prospects for finding a job are so poor that an unemployed person simply gives up looking for work, she is considered to be out of the labour force and no longer officially unemployed. The reported unemployment rate will fall, even though labour market conditions have not improved.
There’s also the inverse phenomenon—the “encouraged worker”: when labour market conditions improve, people who had given up on finding work may resume their job search. This is what we saw in September: employment grew by 52,000, but the labour force grew by more than 72,000—likely because the better-looking labour market convinced some of the long-term unemployed to send out resumes once again. The result was that the unemployment rate increased from 7.3 per cent to 7.4 per cent.
One way of avoiding these sorts of complications is to set aside the sometimes blurry distinction between “unemployed” and “not in the labour force” and look at the employment rate: employment as a percentage of the working-age population. When you look at the employment rate, the labour market recovery looks very weak indeed:
By Stephen Gordon - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM - 0 Comments
The Labour Force Survey release for August was typical of LFS releases since the recession ended three years ago: modestly good news, but not enough to put a serious dent in the unemployment rate. When will things get back to normal?
The answer is “things are already back to normal.” Canadian unemployment rates simply don’t fall quickly back to pre-recession levels during a recovery (click on the graphs to open a larger version in a new window):
To understand why unemployment jumps up quickly but declines slowly requires looking at the dynamics of the labour market.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Ahead of the fall sitting, the NDP leader goes to Windsor.
“It was important to come here because this area feels the effects of the policies of the Harper government,” said Mulcair. “The manufacturing sector has been hit particularly hard here … Yet the government puts all its eggs in the resources basket while manufacturing loses hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
“We’re losing the balanced economy that Canada had built up since the Second World War. It’s been destabilized by the choices of the Conservatives.” Long-term, good-paying manufacturing jobs with pensions are being replaced by part-time jobs in the service sector that don’t come with a pension, Mulcair said.
Canada has put “all its economic eggs in the resource basket,” he said, and must include the environmental costs of developments such as the oilsands if it wants to compete internationally. “That’s had an effect of artificially raising the value of the Canadian dollar, which has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturing companies in this area to export. That’s one of the leading causes of the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector,” Mulcair told reporters. “We’re not against the development of the oilsands, that would be foolish. We are saying that we’re against the development that’s going on now because it’s not sustainable.”
“The manufacturing sector has been particularly hard hit for the past five years” in Ontario, Mulcair said while touring Pro-Fab Plastics Ltd. on Bruce Street.
Mulcair tells 570 News it was quite impressive, “it’s very promising and a great way to create jobs for the future, and they’re the best kind of jobs, high tech jobs” ”I think that its a model to be followed across Canada and the region needs to be congratulated for being such a leader in this area.” Mulcair says jobs in Canada tend to be created by small and medium size businesses, and that they are the key to helping the Canadian economy rebound not giving tax breaks to big corporations, like banks and gas companies.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM - 0 Comments
The Immigration Minister seems to be tweeting help wanted ads as he tours Alberta.
July 12. Met w/ landscaping business owners in Calgary. Offering $16 to $18 / hr to push a lawn mower, but can’t recruit nearly enough Cdns to work.
Yesterday. Tenaris is offering $25/hr (w/ bonuses + benefits = $46/hr) for folks w/ Grade 12, for semi-skilled labour, but still not enough applicants.
Today. PCL says their average journeyman wage is ~ $50/hr, (plus benefits), ie $100K year. Great opportunities for construction workers across CDA.
By From the editors - Friday, June 1, 2012 at 12:29 PM - 0 Comments
The system Canada has right now is discriminatory, illogical and counterproductive
Assume for a moment you’ve been given the job of creating from scratch a federal program to help out-of-work Canadians find suitable employment as quickly and efficiently as possible. Would you begin with a system that provides greater benefits to workers who find themselves unemployed more often? Or provides incentives to stay in uncertain occupations forever? Would your ideal system offer identical Canadians vastly different benefits based solely on where they lived? And would you lard the program with inconsistent rules, such as offering benefits to self-employed fishermen, but not self-employed farmers?
Of course not. But this is exactly the sort of discriminatory, illogical and counterproductive system Canada has right now.
Last week Human Resources Minister Diane Finley unveiled a series of reforms to Canada’s much-criticized Employment Insurance program. While the changes don’t go nearly far enough to fix the entirety of EI’s problems, at least they mark renewed emphasis on the core task: getting people back to work.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 6:03 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister has a special gift for making his government’s policies sound altogether banal, utterly and profoundly unremarkable.
“We will continue to do our best to try and put some resources into helping people find jobs,” Mr. Harper said this afternoon, under questioning about his government’s proposed changes to employment insurance. “At the same time, for those who still cannot find work in their seasonal industries and seasonal parts of the economy where people have difficulty finding work, there will, of course, be employment insurance as a safety net for those people.”
But if Diane Finley’s smile did not assuage the opposition parties, what chance do Mr. Harper’s words? From the other side of the House, there is worry that seasonal workers will be particularly impacted. There is fretting that the unemployed will be compelled to take lower paying jobs. There is fear that those without work will be deprived of EI benefits. There are concerns that the Harper government didn’t consult with the premiers. There is even dismissal of the Conservative plan for more and better emails. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Ted Opitz, he who may or may not end up being the duly elected MP for Etobicoke Centre, had just finished doing his partisan duty, standing up to deliver the day’s harangue of the official opposition (“Ill-informed! Foolish! Dangerous!”) and Thomas Mulcair thought he spotted a segue.
“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Mulcair offered in English before proceeding en francais, “let us talk about unemployment insurance, something that will become important for the member very soon.”
There were groans and grumbles from the government side, the Conservatives in attendance apparently finding this to be poor form. Profoundly saddened, John Baird stood and shed a single tear. “Mr. Speaker, what is most interesting is when this gentleman became Leader of the Official Opposition he said he would bring a new civility and raise the tone of debate,” the Foreign Affairs Minister sighed. “I guess not two months after his election, they have thrown that to the side.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 3:18 PM - 0 Comments
Pat Martin is concerned about clause 441 of the budget bill.
One of the measures is so sneaky, says NDP MP Pat Martin, nobody seemed to notice the line buried deep in the 452-page Bill C-38 that simply states, “The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed,” giving no explanation. With those 10 words, Ottawa intends to wipe out a 1985 law compelling contractors bidding on federal contracts to pay “fair wages” and overtime.
“I would have missed it and I’m from that industry. It was number 68 of 70 bills that they changed,” said Martin, a former journeyman carpenter and construction worker. Martin notes that unlike most measures in the budget bill, there was no prior discussion of the measure or even a signal such a change was contemplated. ”It’s a solution without a problem. The only conclusion I can come up with is that it’s a war on labour and the left. It’s what the Americans did with the right-to-work states and the end result is $8 or $9 an hour is now the average wage in places like North Carolina.”
The act is not referenced by name in the budget plan tabled by the Finance Minister in March. In an interview with As It Happens this week, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt was asked about repealing the legislation and dismissed the act as “unnecessary red tape.” Merit Canada has praised the move.
Mr. Martin addressed the change at length in the House here.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May recalls her own experience.
Ms. May said that from 1975 to 1980, she received what was then called unemployment insurance during the off-season while working as a waitress and cook at her family’s restaurant and gift shop business in Cape Breton, she says. Labelling regular users of EI, such as herself, as lazy or abusing the system is unfair, she said.
“I paid into employment insurance. When I needed it, I used it. When I didn’t, I didn’t. I raise my personal experience because I don’t think anyone should be ashamed that seasonal businesses in this country that are big, or small, have benefitted from a legal system of insurance that pays for itself.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, the Harper government announced $12 million in funding for Dr. Oetker to help the German food processing company set up a frozen pizza factory in London, Ont. The Canadian Restaurant and Food Association, while also noting the effects of the supply management system, is displeased.
We create jobs and play a key role in the economy in every community across Canada. We do this without handouts or special assistance from government. Our members are deeply troubled that your government is using tax dollars, paid by our members, as a direct subsidy to their competitors who threaten their market share and ongoing businesses viability. This is on top of the $7-million subsidy this same pizza manufacturer received from the Government of Ontario last year.
Your government’s announcement today may be good news for this foreign-based multinational, but it is precisely the opposite for CRFA members. They are asking why is your government so ready to give multi-million-dollar taxpayer handouts to their competitors, while a “Made in Canada” policy penalizes them.
The Conservatives say the new plant will create over 300 jobs. (When the Ontario government made its announcement, the math was a bit different.) For 300 jobs, a $12-million investment works out to $40,000 per job.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM - 0 Comments
New EI changes are like ‘E-Harmony’ for job seekers and employers: matching Cdns looking for work with available jobs, data, support.
During this morning’s news conference, Diane Finley was asked specifically about the ramifications for seasonal workers.
Reporter: How does this impact on seasonal workers … if you take a fish plant worker, for example, works six months for the season. Then there’s a job at McDonald’s available. It’s deemed similar in terms of working around the kitchen. What do they do? They work six months at the fish plant, go to McDonald’s, say to the employer I’m here for six months and then I’m back? So how does this impact seasonal workers?
Diane Finley: Well, this is going to impact everyone because what we want to do is make sure that the McDonald’s of the world aren’t having to bring in temporary foreign workers to do jobs that Canadians who are on EI have the skills to do. It’s about taking advantage of the labour and skills that we have in this country, putting them to productive use and doing it in such a way that the employers are better off but the employee and his or her family is always better off. And that’s why we’ve made other changes leading up to this announcement to make sure that the worker is always better off taking work that’s available than not. And also it means that that money is here in Canada and not going to outside workers unless absolutely necessary.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM - 0 Comments
Diane Finley entered the room smiling. The Human Resources Minister is seemingly a firm believer that—as the lyric goes—when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. Or at least that the whole world is less likely to hear what you’re saying as threatening. Furrowing of the brow is to be avoided. Bright eyes are the order of the day.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce improvements to employment insurance to make it work better for Canadians,” she said with a smile.
“Today,” she added a bit later, “I’m pleased to provide details on our plan.”
The centrepiece of this plan: more e-mails.
Canadians, it would seem, are apparently at a loss. Some are unaware of where to find work. Others do not realize that their skills match job openings in other industries. But soon, through the wonders of modern communication, the unemployed will be more deeply and frequently enlightened.
“Currently, Canadians receiving EI benefits are only sent three job alerts every two weeks. These alerts come from the job bank, which only has about 20% of the jobs that are available. And we believe that this must change. As I said, we must help Canadians who want to work get back to work,” Ms. Finley explained. “As part of our announcement, we will be sending job alerts twice a day to Canadians receiving EI. And the job alerts will come from many sources, including the job bank, but also from private sector sources.”
Some significant portion of the $21 million set aside for improving the EI system will be spent on these emails. Though presumably these new expenditures will be easily covered by the billions saved from consolidating the government’s computer systems. Perhaps the consolidated computer systems will even make sending these emails that much easier. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Diane Finley has just now explained how the government plans to reform employment insurance. The official news release and backgrounder is here.
Early reviews are in from the Globe.
The Conservative government unveiled a sweeping overhaul of Canada’s Employment Insurance system, creating three new tiers of job hunters that will most directly affect repeat users of the program. The new rules will mean less generous terms for frequent users of EI, while giving Canadians who rarely use the program more leeway to look for jobs in their field.
Unemployed Canadians will face tougher requirements to hang on to their Employment Insurance benefits under a new crackdown by the Conservative government. The intent of the changes is to push unemployed Canadians off the insurance rolls and into the workforce, even if it means they must accept lower-paying jobs or work they might not want.
And the CBC.
The longer and more frequently someone is claiming employment insurance, the broader their job search will have to be and the lower the wages they must be willing to accept, according to proposed regulations outlined this morning.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM - 0 Comments
Ashfield said people will no longer be able to turn down job opportunities within an hour’s drive if they expect to collect benefits. “It’s not to force people to go to Alberta, it’s not to force people to, you know, drive for four hours, or move away from their home community. That’s not the intent at all,” Ashfield said.
Setting a clear geographical rule of a one hour’s drive would bring clarity to one of the most debated and subjective section of the current EI rules. However Conservative officials told the Globe and Mail that the minister was only speaking in general terms to make the point that Canadians on EI will not be expected to move.
John Ivison still seems to think an hour commute will be the rule.