Japan, the United States, Germany and Sweden are other countries that face the problem of skilled worker shortage, the report highlighted.
With no changes in the immigration polices and the aging Canadian work force, the situation in Canada is sure to get worse, Hays chief executive Alistair Cox, said.
“Sadly … there is a lot of friction in the system, which will make [the jobs mismatch] worse as the economy improves,” Mr. Cox said. “Jobs are being created, but we simply don’t have enough skills in the right place at the right time.”
“Canada is starting to show some worrying trends that there is a gap between the skills available versus what industries are looking for,” he said.
While on one hand the educational institutions have failed to produce to right skilled workers to address the country’s future job requirement, on the other hand immigration rules are also being “tuned to mass and unskilled migration issues, as opposed to highly skilled migration,” Mr. Cox said.
Cox recommended a more flexible immigration system as an answer to the problem. He said that countries should effectively differentiate between highly skilled workers, and lower- and middle-level skills.
He further added that countries should tend to work with business to develop targets. “[Immigration policy] has to be designed and developed by government in conjunction with what business wants. That link-age [needs to be] an absolutely iron bond,” he said.
Cox appreciated Australia’s flexible points system that encouraged immigration targeted to specific professional job sectors. However, the country has recently tightened immigration rules, he pointed.
Immigration Canada making changes
While it’s not official, but Canada is working on some changes in its immigration system that are expected to come into effect from late 2014.
The new system will be called the Expression of Interest (EOI). The process will require to person seeking immigration to file in a simplified application.
From that pool of applications, the most promising candidates, based on the immigration department’s selection criteria, will be short listed.
These short-listed candidates will then be invited to submit a full application, including documentation to prove their claimed qualifications.
|Veronica538 at work as truckdriver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
LANGLEY -The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) has developed a new skills assessment tool called IDRIVE and is looking for 25 recent immigrants with professional truck-driving experience to participate in a pilot test to be scheduled in November or December 2013.
BCTA is working with BC motor carriers to find ways to address a shortage of professional drivers that could run as high as 33,000 across Canada by 2020,according to a Conference Board of Canada study.”Immigrants to Canada are a valuable source of labour for the industry but may need help representing their skills to employers here,” says Louise Yako,BCTA President & CEO. “And BC employers need to know how driving experience from outside Canada rates in BC, where regulations, equipment, and geography may be quite different.”To assist, BCTA has partnered with the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table to develop a truck driver skill and experience assessment tool with input from motor carriers.
IDRIVE stands for “Immigrant Driver Readiness – Industry Validation and Engagement,” and it reviews the professiona lexperience of drivers who are new to Canada, to provide them with a verified report on their readiness for employmentin BC. IDRIVE tests industry knowledge, essential skills, employability characteristics (including customer service skills) and driving skills.
IDRIVE is made possible by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC.Funding is provided by the Governmentof Canada and the Province of BritishColumbia.”We are pleased to support the BCTA’s immigrant driver readiness tool that will help employers understand and benefit from the experience and skills of BC’s immigrant labour pool,” says Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC.IDRIVE is now ready for a pilot test, and BCTA invites 25 immigrant drivers to participate, to make sure that both drivers and trucking industry employers can depend on its results.
Assessments can take place throughout the province depending on where drivers are located.Participants must not be employed currentlyin the trucking industry, but must live in BC and have a BC Class 1 commercial driver’s licence – or be willing to obtain one within the timeframe of the pilot project, which includes a road test.They must have at least one year of professional driving experience, here or in another country, read and write basic English, and be eligible to work in Canada, among a few other requirements.In return, participants receive a copy of their IDRIVE assessment, and BCTA will work to connect them with motorcarriers interested in the pilot and looking for drivers to hire
|Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)|
|English: Saint Joseph’s College on the north campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald
The report said Alberta, which faces the most severe skills shortage in Canada, launched a pilot project last year that brought nearly 1,000 highly-skilled U.S. workers into the province.
“Alberta has been at the forefront of a strategy to recruit U.S. workers, particularly for resource projects, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also increasingly facing labour shortages,” said the conference board’s Global Commerce Centre.
The study said: there is no simple mechanism to bring in U.S. workers; resource projects require different approaches to workforce planning because they involve short, intense bursts of activity in geographically dispersed regions; and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a band-aid for skills shortages, but it is not a panacea or a long-term solution.
“With 50,000 unfilled vacancies and more than double that number expected within a decade, the labour and skills shortage has a direct impact on Alberta’s ability to develop its resource and energy sector. That is not just a regional problem, it affects our national economic prospects as well,” said Laura Dawson, author of Skills in Motion: U.S. Workers May Hold the Key to Canada’s Skills Shortage.
“Alberta has been a real role model in finding innovative ways to solve or to mitigate the short-term labour crunch. I think that there is no doubt that in certain regions and certain sectors of Canada there is a skills shortage.”
Education and training programs to grow those skills is a good idea but that takes time, she added.
“In the meantime, Alberta has this short-term demand and workers from the United States are particularly well-suited for filling demand in certain sectors,” said Dawson. “I’m impressed with the fact that both the government of Alberta as well as the employers and the unions have actually pulled together to find some innovative solutions. I think Alberta’s much further ahead than other provinces in tackling this issue.”
The report said many Alberta employers consider U.S. workers to be ideal to fill Canadian vacancies because they have comparable training and experience. They also understand the language and work culture, can enter Canada without a visa, and live nearby.
But the report said there is no simple mechanism for Canada to bring in U.S. workers in skilled trades. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement does not allow mutual recognition between Canada and U.S. for regulated trades and professions.
The Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot was launched in 2012, and has already allowed nearly 1,000 highly-skilled U.S. workers to enter the province, said the conference board report. It allows employers to hire foreign workers certified in certain occupations without needing a Labour Market Opinion from the federal government.
“Alberta’s Department of Apprenticeship and Industry Training has stepped in to provide its own evaluation of workers’ foreign credentials and experience. The province has launched a recruitment campaign in the United States. Alberta employers are also targeting Canadian and American veterans of the armed forces,” it said.
Geraldine Anderson, spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the industry is generally supportive of this initiative.
She said the industry believes in hiring Canadians first and building that workforce.
“However, there is a shortage of skilled labour in the industry and this is an important tool to sort of fill a gap in the labour market.”
Alberta deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk said the Alberta response to the skilled labour shortage is a practical one for the situation.
“We know in Alberta right now that our government and our employers are doing what they possibly can to hire local, Canadian workers because it simply makes sense. It’s cheaper to do so and it’s more practical to do so and frankly most importantly it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“But the fact is that at a time right now where we have about 4.6 per cent unemployment rate and we have 70,000 temporary foreign workers, that speaks to the fact that there’s simply a shortage of labour and it will continue to grow. We expect that we will have a shortage of somewhere around 120,000 workers within the next 10 years.”
He said that for the last 10 years or so the province has on an ongoing basis about 70,000 to 75,000 temporary workers.
Lukaszuk said the Alberta response makes sense and it allows employers to get workers here faster “because they need these workers now. Not in six months or nine months.”
According to the Alberta government, total work permits issued under the Occupation-Specific Pilot program between July 2012 and August 2013 were: Steamfitter-pipefitter, 721 (320 from U.S.); Welder, 967 (U.S. 177); Ironworker, 453 (U.S. 355); Carpenter, 154 (U.S. 12); Estimator, 81 (U.S. 22); and Heavy-duty equipment mechanic, 92 (U.S. 8).
|Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|English: Alberta Province within Canada. Español: Provincia de Alberta en Canadá. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|