Positive economic news

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]

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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