It is a positive reflection of our economic stability and business sector confidence that Canada has been able to recover more than 765,000 net new jobs (90% full-time and nearly 80% private sector) since July 2009.
According to the most recent statistics from Statistics Canada, as of May 2012, the average weekly wage in Canada is $894.61 up 2.5 percentage points over the same time last year.
And just this month, CIBC World Markets Economics released its ‘Canadian Employment Quality Index’ report declaring “the good news is that the Canadian economy created 155,000 new jobs in the first six months of 2012. The even better news is that these jobs were of high quality.”
The report also noted that full-time jobs grew ten times faster than part-time jobs, accounting for 97% of all jobs created during the period – with strong growth for “full-time paid employees in high-paying sectors” like petroleum and coal manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, heavy & civil engineering construction and transportation equipment manufacturing.
Canadian businesses, especially the small and medium sized employers who traditionally represent the backbone of the economy, can take some pride in what is being achieved.
Not only has their confidence in the economy had a positive effect on the job market, their input, through ongoing consultation, has alerted the federal government to challenges that need to be addressed.
Labour shortages are one such challenge.
Recently, the President of the Hotel Association of Canada put out an SOS stating that the lodging industry is facing a severe labour shortage. It is a concern that is shared here in the Okanagan. Local employers know all too well that without the necessary workforce to fill the jobs, key sectors like tourism and agriculture face a real threat to their productivity and viability.
That is why the federal government has taken a number of measures to help.
The federal government has made improvements to the EI program to better match skills with available employment, helping both those looking for work and those who need to fill job vacancies.
We have also made improvements to our Temporary Foreign Worker program and the new Accelerated Labour Market Opinion to ensure these programs are more responsive to the needs of employers, a measure which has been commended by the Hotel Association of Canada.
Skilled labour shortages are also the reason the government is focusing on youth employment and skills, including aboriginal youth, one of the fastest growing populations in Canada.
In this regard, Canada ranks second only to Germany in our successes but more can be done to address the challenges that our youth often face when transitioning from school to work. Ensuring that their talent is cultivated most effectively is vital including addressing the mismatch that currently exists in Canada between skill sets and job requirements.
None of the challenges we face when it comes to employment are one-dimensional. Through targeted measures such as extending the hiring credit for small business or eliminating barriers to participation in the work-force by providing new support to Canadians with disabilities who want to be part of the workforce, the federal government will continue to support employers and employees.
Concerns will continue to be addressed and criticism is expected. But if together we contribute constructively to the challenge of creating employment, Canadians, particularly Canadian employers will continue to have confidence in the economy. The long term prosperity of Canada is a goal we all share and I encourage everyone to work together to achieve it.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and can be reached at 250 470-5075 or [email protected]