Canada’s skilled worker shortage is expected to be felt even more acutely in the coming years.
Canada has for years been experiencing a shortage of workers in the skilled trades such as carpentry, plumbing and welding. However, experts are warning that a new energy boom, combined with the retirement of the baby-boomer generation in the coming years will result in a massive shortage that could stall economic growth.
One estimate from the Construction Sector Council states that from 2011 to 2019 208,000 skilled trades’ workers will retire. In that same period, approximately 111,000 – just over half that amount – will enter the workforce.
During that same time, two large energy projects are expected to begin. The oil sands project in Alberta is expected to generate approximately 800,000 new jobs with a capital investment of over $250-billion. The other upcoming project is the refurbishment of the aging energy infrastructure across the country.
The growth in the coming years is unprecedented, and career prospects in the trade are excellent at the moment, say Eugene Lang and Christopher Smillie. Lang is co-founder of an Ottawa-based public policy think tank and Smillie is a senior advisor for one of the nation’s largest construction unions.
The two advocates for an urgent planning and execution of a national strategy to address these issues at both the federal and provincial levels of government, saying that immigration, funding, training, and labour mobility will be key factors.
Source: Globe and Mail