Tackling Canada’s Skills Shortages Critical for Future Economic Growth and Competitiveness

Hon. Diane FinleyOttawa, ON —The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today spoke at the Canada 2020 Conference on Skilled Trades in the Energy Sector, stressing the country’s skills and labour shortages and the need for increased partnership to tackle this joint challenge.

“As we look ahead and plan forCanada’s long-term prosperity, it is critical that we focus on the skills mismatches that exist in our labour market and work to close those gaps,” said Minister Finley. “To do this, we must all work collaboratively – employers, post-secondary institutions and governments – to ensure that Canadians receive the skills and training needed for the future.”

Since the Harper Government introduced the Economic Action Plan to respond to the global recession, Canada has created more than 900 000 net new jobs, most of which are well‑paying, full-time and in the private sector. However, even though the economy is performing relatively well, there is a risk thatCanada’s future economic growth will be halted by skills and labour shortages, an aging population and low workplace productivity.

“Skills and labour shortages presentCanada’s most significant socio-economic challenge to our success and competitiveness,” continued Minister Finley. “That is why we must find new ways to better connect Canadians with available jobs and ensure that they have the skills that employers need.”

The Harper Government is considering a wide range of options to address skills mismatches and labour shortages. These include:

  • Helping Canadians make more informed career choices, including at earlier stages in their education.
  • Working with partners, including other levels of government and employers, for new skills and training initiatives.
  • Encouraging greater workforce participation of underrepresented groups, including youth and
  • Increasing private-sector involvement in training and skills development.

“Our Government remains focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and of course, their personal financial security,” concluded Minister Finley.

Minister Finley’s speech is available online here.