Canadian Manufacturing

EMC discusses talent shortage issues at special tri-lateral forum in Dallas, Tx.

by CM Staff   

Human Resources Manufacturing Operations Regulation Research & Development Risk & Compliance Infrastructure Public Sector Economy employment Industry 4.0 labour shortage Manufacturing talent shortage trade

During the past 3 years, the top issue affecting Canadian manufacturers has been skills and labour shortages.

Photo L-R: Moderator Sergio Alcocer, President, COMEXI, Tom Harris, Executive Vice President, Hillwood (USA), Emilio Cadena, President and CEO, Grupo Prodensa (Mexico) and Jean-Pierre Giroux, President, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (Canada).

DALLAS — North American trade is generating many job opportunities, particularly in advanced manufacturing and logistics, where technical skills are in high demand, however growing skills gaps and labour shortages throughout the continent are creating significant barriers that are challenging continued growth.

In order to ensure manufacturers have a vibrant workforce and future workers capable of meeting competitive demands of a continually changing North American market, a special forum was hosted this week at The George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, by USMCA and North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), bringing together delegates from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

At the invitation of Global Affairs Canada, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) President Jean-Pierre Giroux, represented Canadian industry this week, at a special tri-lateral forum to discuss issues at the forefront of the competitive landscape and workforce development for North American manufacturers. The forum took place in conjunction with the first meeting of the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA/CUSMA/T-MEC) Competitiveness Committee.

“EMC is pleased to represent Canadian manufacturers at this international forum, and the opportunity to engage our American and Mexican colleagues in solution-based discussions,” said Jean-Pierre (JP) Giroux, President, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), Canada’s largest manufacturing consortium. “Workforce shortages are a North American-wide issue which affects every region, every community. EMC is seeking to build industry-driven resources and solutions that will help manufacturers address future People, Plant and Process challenges.”


Skills and Labour Shortages a Top Issue in US, Canada and Mexico

During the past 3 years, the top issue affecting Canadian manufacturers has been skills and labour shortages. Not just the absence of skills, but also an alarming absence of available workers with any skill set. This shortage of industry workers with appropriate skills, a prevalent lack of awareness and poor attitudes towards working in manufacturing also presents a significant disadvantage for the sector.

  • Skills and labour shortages are significant for industry sectors in all three countries. Unfortunately, the needed talent is not the same in every region and traditional local labour market sources for workforce growth are not sufficient to fill the vacancies, nor resolve skills gaps.
  • Skills certification, and the establishment of internationally recognized operational standards are also topics occupying business leaders’ minds.
  • Manufacturers are faced with unprecedented challenges associated with the accelerating pace of technological change, especially with respect to advanced manufacturing, digitization, automation, robotics, AI and other technologies.

Unfortunately, this pace of change is rapidly increasing, while the pace of human capability is not keeping up. A call for talent management strategies based on industry needbetter labour market intelligence and improved standards for upskilling/reskilling certification training is needed for manufacturers to succeed, according to EMC.

Complicating matters, restricted travel and closed borders have also removed a significant source for employers to recruit new Canadians. Developing a new collaborative and equitable tri-lateral strategy for Canada, US and Mexico is one such initiative that is trying to work around this. There is interest in American and Mexican workers to pursue opportunities in Canada, similar to how European Union residents can work throughout the region, and Canadians can travel/work throughout the Commonwealth.

Canada’s goal for the USMCA/CUSMA/T-MEC is to allow Canadian manufacturers greater access to American and Mexican consumer markets.


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