Canadian Manufacturing

Immigration reform part of the solution to Ontario’s widening skills gap: report

Ontario CoC report shows gap has widened by nine per cent in 2016 survey


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TORONTO—Nearly two-fifths of Ontario employers had trouble finding a candidate with the right qualifications to fill an open position over the past year and a half, according to a new Ontario Chamber of Commerce report, and the business organization is calling for immigration reform as a way to combat the growing problem.

“Addressing the skills gap has been a key priority of our membership over the past five years,” Allan O’Dette, president and CEO of the OCC, said. “We recognize that there is a golden opportunity for employers and government to work together to ensure that our province’s employers have access to the best and the brightest talent in the world and, similarly, that new market entrants in Ontario have access to opportunities that align with their unique skillsets.”

An issue that can damage a company’s competitiveness and the overall effectiveness of the economy, 39 per cent of Ontario employers said they had a tough time filling a position this year, a nine per cent increase from two years ago.

To address the “worsening” problem, the OCC says the Government of Canada needs to take action.

“Ontario possesses an unlimited amount of innovative potential, and if our talent pool is engaged effectively, we can lead the world in employment and economic growth,” Karl Baldauf, vice-president of Policy and Government Relations at the OCC, said.

The business organization identified three priority areas it says will improve the labour market for employers and for immigrants seeking work. The OCC said the Canadian government should work harder to attract and retain international students, address barriers to opportunity within the selection system and improve how settlement services integrates new arrivals into the labour market.

The report, and detailed investigation into the potential solutions, can be found here.


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