Reflecting their concern about the skills challenges facing Canada, the Canadian Labour and Business Centre’s Board of Directors sought funding from Human Resources and Social Development Canada for a Workplace Partners Panel (WPP) initiative that would allow business and labour to take a lead role in examining the skills shortages and demographic issues, identifying their key features, and proposing directions for governments, business and labour to address these. The Viewpoints Survey is a key background piece to this initiative. It examines the perspectives of business, labour, and public sector leaders on these issues.
The level of concern about shortages of skilled labour has increased substantially since the first Viewpoints Survey was conducted in 1996. In that year, less than one-third of managers, and only one in five labour leaders judged the shortage of skilled labour to be a serious problem. Today, well over 50% of private and public sector managers, and nearly two-thirds of private and public sector labour leaders describe it as a "serious problem" for the Canadian economy and labour market. Very few respondents say it is "not a problem."
The issue of skills shortages ranks as the number one issue among Canada’s public sector managers (out of 42 issues). Among private sector managers, it ranks third.
Concerns about the shortage of skilled labour are highest in Alberta and British Columbia. In Alberta, two-thirds of private sector managers judge it as a serious problem. In British Columbia, it is the number one issue.
“The issue of skills shortages ranks as the number one issue among Canada’s public sector managers.”