City of Peterborough taking it one-step further with Skilled Trades

Peterborough’s chipping in with a $1-million contribution toward Fleming College’s $36.6-million Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre.

The province is paying $29 million of the cost of the facility that’s currently being built at the college on Brealey Dr. in the city’s west end.


The 87,000-square-foot facility will accommodate more than 1,000 students for teaching carpentry, plumbing, electrical techniques, computer engineering, welding, wireless networking, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning and other programs.


The city would give $333,333 a year for three years, starting next year. Council endorsed the grant on Monday. It will return to council’s regular session next week.


An agreement between the city and the college would return to council for approval.


In a report, staff mentioned that the municipality could try to acquire the college’s current skilled trades building, the McRae Building, on Bonaccord St. for a reasonable cost as part of the agreement. The building could be used for affordable housing.


Acquiring the McRae Building shouldn’t be an opportunity, it should be a condition of the $1-million grant, Coun. Bill Juby said.


Juby supported the recommended contribution. He was willing to wait for the agreement to return to council to deal with the acquisition of the McRae Building.


“Fleming has been a great partner to the community and a real asset to the community,” Juby said.



The Canadian Government Continues to Support

On April 11th, 2013 in Winnipeg Manitoba, over 475 youth took part in the Skills Manitoba Competition. Across more than 40 trade and technology fields, the youth took part and competed against their peers. At the event was, Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development who graduated the participants and discussed recent federal budget initiatives to support the youth.

“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Dr. Leitch. “Through grants, tax credits and support for training programs, such as apprenticeships, we are encouraging young Canadians to pursue careers in the skilled trades.”

She also highlighted the Government of Canada’s continued support and funding with Skills Manitoba to coordinate annual skills competitions while striving to promote careers to the youth in the skilled trades and technological industries.

“Skills competitions are an exceptional showcase for talented young competitors and will inspire other young people to explore careers in the trades, technologies and service industries,” added Dr. Leitch. “Investing in skills training is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to create the educated, skilled and flexible workforce necessary for a strong economy, now and in the future.”

The Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES) receives approximately $300 million in yearly funding. This funding helps youth with barriers to employment, obtain career information, develop employment skills, find jobs and stay employed. YES also provides focus programs among other opportunities for youth to focus on career development and finding the job of their dreams and finding the jobs they aspire.

Through the years to come, the Economic Action Plan 2013 plans to promote careers in high in-demand areas and will support the youth if connecting with those jobs too. Also, the same investment complements the Government of Canada Apprenticeship Grants, which currently provides up to $4,000 to help apprentices complete their training and launch rewarding careers.

City Profiles: Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster

While the latest forecasts have bordered on pessimistic for the Canadian economy as a whole, the oil sands region of Western Canada, particularly the province of Alberta, is booming. In addition, the Canadian census of 2011 revealed that Alberta is the fastest growing province in Canada, with a population increase of 10.8% compared to the previous census.

Here we profile three of the cities at the heart of Alberta’s economic success.

Grande Prairie
The city of Grande Prairie is the seventh largest in the province of Alberta with a population of just over 55,000 according to the 2011 Census. 456 km northwest of Edmonton, Grande Prairie is emerging as a hub for both northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta, an area known as The Peace Region. It is also believed to be the second fastest growing city in Alberta, with an average increase in annual population growth of over 5%.

Grande Prairie possesses a wealth of renewable and non-renewable resources and its primary industries are agriculture, forestry and oil and gas, all of which require the skilled trades professionals currently in short supply. One of its largest employers is Alberta Health Services – Peace Country Health which employs around 3,400 people.

The climate of Grande Prairie is classified as a northern, humid continental climate, closely resembling a subarctic climate, with very cold winters and summers that range from cool to fairly warm with only a handful of hot days each year. As the name suggests, the city of Grande Prairie lies in the midst of a rolling prairie and parkland forest.

Lloydminster is unusual among Canadian cities as it straddles the provincial border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The 2011 Canadian census revealed that almost two thirds of the population of Lloydminster live in Alberta, where the local government offices are also situated.

Lloydminster’s economy is focused primarily on the oil and gas industry, with agriculture a secondary vital industry sector in the region. The city was ranked as the number two Canadian Entrepreneurial City by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses in 2012 and is poised for significant growth over the next few years. Like many western Canadian cities, skilled trades professionals are in high demand.

Lloydminster is notable also for its population having the youngest median age in all of Canada, with 47.6% of its population under the age of 30. Interestingly, the population on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster is some seven years younger, at around 26 years of age, than that on the Alberta side.

Lloydminster enjoys warm, albeit short, partially wet summers followed by a long cold winter season. Annual rainfall in the city is low.

Fort McMurray
Considered by many to be one of the most important major oil production hubs in Canada, Fort McMurray is not officially a city, having been deemed an urban service area within the Municipality of Wood Buffalo in 1996. It is still referred to by residents, the media and politicians as Fort McMurray, however.

The region is one of the most popular destinations for inter-provincial migration with around half of all domestic migrants in Fort McMurray coming from within Alberta itself. It is also known as the ‘Oil Sands Capital of the World’, responsible for around 25% of Canada’s total energy supply. Forestry and tourism also contribute significantly to the economy, with the region’s natural beauty and the northern lights attracting high numbers of visitors.

With major companies such as Suncor and Shell based in Fort McMurray, there is currently a shortage of skilled trades professionals, which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Typical of the region as a whole, Fort McMurray’s climate is also one of long, cold winters with short, albeit fairly warm summers.
With the unprecedented growth in the oil and gas industry and the ongoing demand for skilled trades professionals in Alberta, all three cities are expected to continue to prosper for many years to come.

Why Is Staff Turnover So High In Western Canada?

Canada’s economy continues to go from strength to strength, fuelled in the main by its booming resources sector. Skilled trades roles form a major part of employment within the industry and employment prospects are extremely positive for those workers in possession of sought after skills.

Ironically, the industry may be a victim of its own success. Staff turnover across the skilled trades sector is extremely high. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, organizations in the oil sands region of Western Canada report significant employee retention challenges.

Figures released in 2012 indicate an 87% rate of staff turnover in downtown Calgary and 30% outside of the area. Moreover, a startling 70% of employees were reported as having been with their employer for less than two years, with one company remarking that they have to hire around 1,300 new employees in order to retain 200.

Retention of staff and investment in people is the key to the success of many companies, but it is not that simple to achieve.

Why is turnover so high?
The buoyant economic climate, combined with the ongoing high demand for skilled trades professionals, means that employees can opt to change jobs on a regular basis, whether for improved benefits, higher salaries, better working conditions or simply because they are bored.

The effect of the skills shortage on staff turnover cannot be under-estimated. In its Top 10 Barriers To Competitiveness in 2013, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce placed the skills shortage at the top of its list for the second consecutive year.

To put this further in perspective and to understand why staff turnover is so high, the following specific shortages in skilled trades roles were highlighted:-

• Agriculture – 90,000 additional workers are required by 2013.
• Construction – 219,000 workers will retire between 2012 to 2020.
• Food Processing – 32,500 workers will retire by 2015.
• Mining – 10,000 additional hires per year are required for the next decade.
• Oil and Gas – a minimum of 15,000 new workers are required by 2015.
• Trucking – a projected growth in the workforce of 199,800 jobs is expected by 2017.
• Supply Chain – a predicted growth of 60,000 jobs on an annual basis.

The situation will only be exacerbated by the imminent retirement of the so-called ‘baby boomer’ generation over the next few years.

In addition, recent research suggests that Canada is now the third largest producer of natural gas in the world behind Russia and the United States, meaning that the demand for skilled trades will continue to rise.

What can be done to resolve the situation?
The Chamber of Commerce recommends the following initiatives:-

• Up-skilling of existing staff.
• The alignment of education with employment, ensuring that employees are trained in high demand skills.
• Training and development of Aboriginal workers.
• Increased immigration; Citizenship and Immigration Canada recently announced that its revised Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) is due to reopen for applications on 4th May 2013.

While immigration is often seen as a viable option, the Chamber of Commerce highlights the fact that the skills of migrant workers are not always aligned to employer needs. This leads to increased staff turnover as disillusioned workers leave the industry. Furthermore, language barriers often impede the success of immigrant workers.

While there is no imminent solution to the issue of staff turnover within Western Canada, employers can benefit from partnering with a staffing vendor specializing in the provision of Canadian skilled trades professionals.

An established and reputable company will possess a proven track record of successful placements and can often act in a consultative role, providing advice on both staff retention and the most effective ways of investing in employees. In addition, a specialist staffing vendor will offer advice on the recruitment of inter-provincial migrants and FIFO skilled trades workers. Both can help to offset and improve staff retention rates in the face of the skills shortage.

Fly in fly out Jobs (FIFO) Advice for Employers

Fly in fly out jobs are a fact of life in the Canadian skilled trades sector. As we have discussed previously, they offer several benefits to employers facing the challenge of a continuing skills shortage, enabling them to manage the seasonal peaks in their recruitment strategy.

Concern is increasing, however, over the effect of long-term FIFO work on skilled trades professionals. In 2012, professor Dr Kathy Parkes of Oxford University in the United Kingdom warned of the significant health risks resulting from employers often mixing day and night shifts within the same work cycle for FIFO professionals.

While FIFO jobs are beneficial to both employers and skilled trades professionals, the negative effects on workers include:-

• Long term effects of ongoing separation from families.
• The long shifts for extended periods can lead to employee ‘burnout’.
• The lack of physical exercise and good nutrition impacts employee health.
• The remote locations where FIFO workers are often required to work can lead to a sense of isolation and have detrimental effects on both their physical and emotional well-being.
While concern is often focused on expat workers, the long-term effects of the FIFO lifestyle are no different for Canada’s inter-provincial workers in the skilled trades sector.
How can employers support their FIFO workers?

Employers can offer support in a number of ways. Familiar recommendations include improved accommodation, better programs covering health and lifestyle and ensuring that all employees have regular access to Skype and internet facilities to stay in touch with their families.

In addition, the UK Health and Safety Executive recommended a roster of 14 days on and 14 days off to minimize any negative psychological effects on FIFO workers in skilled trades positions. Dr Kathy Parkes also suggested placing workers on the same shift for one work cycle and allowing a rest period before changing the shift.

While this focuses predominantly on the FIFO workers on site, the negative effects of the prolonged absence of a loved one on families should also be considered.

Many employers are now recognizing the benefits of specialist companies providing programs to support FIFO workers in the skilled trades sector. The services generally include:-

• Ongoing support on a one-to-one basis for FIFO professionals, together with ongoing liaison with families in their absence.
• Facilitating open discussions to discuss family concerns about the effects of the worker’s absence.
• Advice on planning for the practical changes to family life and the effects on children.
• Facilitating discussion on the prospect of workers remaining in FIFO positions for the long-term and the effect this may have on their families.
• Offering additional support to skilled trades workers who are new to FIFO jobs but who prefer the option of a FIFO role rather than inter-provincial migration.

A further option is for employers to partner with a Canadian staffing vendor specializing in the skilled trades sector. A company with a track record in placing FIFO workers will have hands-on experience with the issues facing both candidates and their families. They will also be best positioned to provide advice on support to FIFO professionals and on the availability of suitable workers.

Attracting Women Into Skilled Trades Jobs

In September 2012, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce warned of the imminent severity of the skills shortage affecting the country, with one third of the Canadian workforce expected to retire in the next five years.  It is recognized that a variety of solutions will need to be applied to overcome the economic consequences of this skills gap.  One vital element which is seen as instrumental in reducing its impact is the attraction of more women into skilled trade jobs.

This echoed a previous report in 2010 by Canada’s Women In Mining association which reported that women found career progression challenging in technical and skilled trades roles.

At the beginning of this year, The Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology highlighted the need to attract more women to trades roles such as machinists, welders, plumbers and electricians.  At the same time, it acknowledged that the biggest obstacles to womens’ entry into the workforce included an array of stereotypical views, together with:-

  • Workplace bullying and regular use of negative language towards women in skilled trades roles.
  • A dearth of women in senior positions.
  • A working environment that is becoming increasingly unsupportive.
  • Unhygienic working conditions.
  • Lack of flexible working arrangements.
  • Lack of women taking up training opportunities in science, technology or skilled trades.
  • FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) jobs with responsibilities and working hours that are particularly unsympathetic to the role of women as primary carers within families.
  • A stark pay gap between men and women in skilled trades roles.


What Can Be Done To Resolve the Situation?

Without doubt it is apparent that employers in the technical and trades industries need to adopt a more flexible approach to not only attract females into the workforce but increase retention rates in skilled trades roles. It is recommended that employers consider:-

  • Increasing pay rates for women.  Up-to-date figures are hard to ascertain but it is estimated that the existing pay gap may be around 30%.
  • Introducing more benefits such as flexible working hours to take into account the demands of supporting a family which traditionally fall onto women.
  • Providing career development incentives through training to provide women with a clear career path and the opportunity to progress into senior roles.
  • More training opportunities.  In recognition of this, earlier this year the oil industry contributed $200,000 towards funds for new scholarships specifically targeted at women in the sector.  This particular scholarship offers young women between the ages of 17 and 22 the opportunity to study a program over thirteen weeks covering resource based industry sectors, such as oil, gas, mining and minerals. It is also widely acknowledged within the mining sector that women are more reliable in positions such as drivers and truck operators as they take more care in their role.

The issues facing the Canadian economy are widely reported yet women offer a huge untapped potential solution to its problems. While steps are being taken, the momentum needs to be increased to attract more women into skilled trades positions and in doing so minimize the detrimental effects of the skills shortage on the Canadian economy.

Is It Time To Focus on Canadian Candidates?


The Canadian skills shortage is widely reported yet the emphasis on resolving the problem is often seen as increasing international migration.  Figures released by Statistics Canada earlier this year echoed this perception.

For example, on 1st April 2012,Canada’s total population stood at 34.75m, an increase of 0.2% during the first quarter of this year.  Over two thirds of this growth was directly attributed to a net increase in international migration. Much of this growth is the result of Canadian companies being encouraged to look overseas to recruit skilled workers to fill the labor gap.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program introduced in July 2011 was recently extended to make it easier for companies to recruit skilled foreign workers. Positions now falling under the umbrella of the program include welders, heavy equipment mechanics, millwrights, industrial mechanics, carpenters, estimators, and ironworkers.  It has been reported that applications can now be processed in as little as thirty minutes.

The government stresses that foreign workers must only be employed if there are no Canadian or permanent residents available to fill the vacancies but reports of 2,000 foreign workers being brought to British Columbia specifically to take up positions in the province have only increased concerns about the misuse of the program.

In these situations, it is understandable that employers may be led to believe that their only option to resolve their own recruitment issues is to look overseas. Furthermore, the majority of recruiters will only reinforce those beliefs, but is it really the first solution for employers?

In the midst of concerns highlighted by the unions in British Columbia over the abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers program, it may be time for employers to turn to the Canadian workforce as their first resource for skilled positions. The advantages of adopting a recruitment strategy focused on Canadian employees are:-


  • The lack of requirement to seek a work permit or apply through the Temporary Foreign Worker program.
  • Language barriers are eliminated (safety concern), which is often not the case when recruiting from parts of the Eurozone and other areas.
  • Project or seasonal positions can be filled through Canadian workers in FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) jobs rather than resorting to the recruitment of immigrants.
  • Pressure on housing and long-term infrastructure is reduced.
  • The training qualifications and career history of a Canadian candidate are more easily verified than those of foreign workers.
  • Monies paid to the Canadian workers remain within Canada’s economy versus being sent abroad.
  • Canada’s economy reported a 0.1% contraction in August 2012. Although this is perceived as only a short-term blip, current economic forecasts are erring on the side of caution. Emphasis should therefore be placed on recruiting Canadian candidates.

One way of guaranteeing that Canadian employees take precedence in the recruitment process is for companies to work with a reputable staffing vendor specializing solely in the recruitment of Canadian candidates.

In doing so, Canadian employers can be confident that they have exhausted all possible avenues before considering the recruitment of overseas workers. It will also minimize the recurrence of controversial situations, such as the concern surrounding the recruitment of foreign workers inBritish Columbia.



Interprovincial Relocation: Tips for Employers

As the landscape of the Canadian economy continues to evolve and become more competitive, the need for organizations to identify, attract and retain top talent has never been more critical.  The increased recruiting sophistication of employers in all industries, coupled with a 21st century understanding of the importance of talent development and retention, has led to more open minded and creative approaches to  employee sourcing. A rising trend among employers in talent scarce markets is to seek potential employees from neighboring provinces. The process of securing employees for permanent, project or seasonal roles who will relocate for work can be extremely difficult and expensive for an employer if not executed carefully. Below are some tips for success when recruiting inter-provincially.


Overcoming Candidate Misconceptions

The majority of candidates being targeted in provinces far removed from their potential employer will not have a clear understanding of what to expect once relocated. Much like our neighbors to the south pass around stories of igloos and dog sleds, many potential candidates will also have misunderstandings about lifestyles in other provinces. Disgruntled people that endured failed relocation attempts (of which there are many), 3rd and 4th hand stories from friends and the internet are all regular sources of misinformation.  It is extremely important for employers to paint, not only a picture of the organization and the position to candidates, but also to address any confusion or misconceptions surrounding lifestyle. For example, Western Canadian Oil Sands positions are often exclusively perceived by Ontario based candidates as “Fort McMurray style Camp jobs”


Employer Expectations of new candidates

In order to separate qualified candidates from unqualified candidates, organizations form a list or breakdown of preferred, or ideal, education, certifications and experience requirements; thereby generating a screening system for each new applicant. When looking to assess candidates from another province, this “profile” of the ideal candidate must be altered slightly. Typically the educational requirements or certifications component remains unchanged, but from the perspective of experience, it must be understood that the preferred industries to draw from in one province may be very small markets in another.  Employers who remain inflexible when considering talent with experience from a variety of industries may be indirectly overlooking exceptional candidates. Employers should consider placing an increased emphasis on a candidate’s core competencies versus looking exclusively at their industry experience.


Streamlined Onboarding Process

Organizations that successfully locate and negotiate a commitment for relocation from talent in other provinces now face a considerable challenge, the onboarding process. Feedback from numerous National and Global organizations in Western Canada has indicated that 85% of their inter-provincial candidate turnover occurs within the first 90 days.  In light of this, employers need to have a methodical onboarding framework in place for any inter-provincial candidates to ensure that this 90 day period is mapped out clearly. What happens when the candidates arrive in their new province? If they have problems, how are they managed? What support systems have been put in place for relocating employees? Has the training calendar been clearly communicated? Has a community tour been organized? Have regular checkpoint meetings been scheduled? Is all of the new employee’s technology available and functioning? Small and seemingly insignificant challenges or issues have an exponentially larger impact on relocated employees and their families during those first 90 days. The “knee-jerk” response most commonly seen as a result of problematic onboarding is the employee returning to their home province.



For a potential employee in another province, relocating, regardless of whether they’re single or bringing their family, is an expensive and potentially risky undertaking.  Dismantling life in one province and then reassembling it in another comes with a great deal of uncertainty.   This uncertainty will keep some candidates from engaging would be employers. Organizations that plan to make this relocation event less financially taxing and a little more risk free for those moving will have greater success. Pre-paid plane tickets, gas cards, bus tickets or train tickets will add a great deal of value to any employer’s compensation/relocation package. For those looking to really stand out from their competitors, a temporary housing arrangement will always signal to top talent that the employer is committed, as does a local vehicle for temporary use and signing bonuses. By offering these types of incentives, the risk and up-front costs associated with relocation are greatly diminished in the eyes of the candidates and there will also be a higher volume of interested parties during the recruitment process.



Local Branding

Many organizations believe they can show up in a city, rent a hotel conference room, spend some advertising dollars on radio, newspaper and web advertising and expect to see top talent walking in the door. This is not the case. Inter-provincial talent recruiting is all about trust. Blasting in and out of town for mass recruits does not cascade any sense of trust and does not build credibility with the top talent employers seek. What an organization has accomplished in another province rings a little less loudly in an area where those great achievements or milestones could not be experienced. A much better approach is to make time and become involved in associations or charitable and community events on a more frequent basis than during trips that are exclusively for recruiting. Building a local brand is a long-term solution, but an essential one if the need is a continued access to talent.


Strategic Partnerships

Any organization’s inter-provincial recruiting initiative can only benefit from a relationship with a staffing vendor that is local to the province from which the employer is trying to source talent. When an organization is aligning itself with a staffing vendor as a strategic partner, there are several critical questions that should be answered, before pricing is even discussed.

Does this vendor specialize? Organizations aligned with specialized or industry focused staffing partners will be better served by the specific expertise and experiences of those vendors than with generalist staffing agencies that attempt to work in all industries.

Does the staffing vendor have a history of successfully, inter-provincially relocating people?  One of the worst places an organization can find itself is working with a staffing vendor that is learning “how to” or “about” inter-provincial relocation. The staffing vendor will be representing the employer in a marketplace where the hiring organization may have little to no exposure (brand) and will be primarily responsible for each of the would be candidates first experiences with the company.

Does the staffing vendor charge the candidate any fees? Employers need be wary of staffing vendors that are charging candidates fees for access to potential employment opportunities for the same branding and candidate experience reasons previously mentioned. Additionally, due to the moral insensitivity and negative media coverage associated with this behaviour, it is in every employer’s best interest to distance themselves from such vendors.


Inter-provincial talent relocation will need to become a standard component of an organization’s recruiting plan for companies that wish to remain strongly positioned within the marketplace. The Canadian “talent crunch” continues to create challenges for businesses and has a larger, real world impact on the-bottom-line with each passing fiscal year. Inter-provincial talent relocation with good planning, solid partnerships and a commitment to a stellar candidate experience is a sustainable, long-term solution that gives employers access to the talented individuals they require to succeed.

What is/will be the impact of the skills shortage on businesses in Canada?

Back in 2008 a report published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce discussed the imminent skills shortages facing the Canadian economy.  It was deemed a critical situation with the potential to negatively impact Canadian productivity and competitiveness on a global scale. Canada is now firmly in the grip of that skills shortage.

At its AGM in September 2012, the President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty, described the skills shortage as the number one issue affecting the competitiveness of Canadian businesses. The following shortfalls were highlighted:-

  • 219,000 workers retiring from 2012 to 2020 in the construction sector.
  • A demand for an additional 200,000 in the trucking sector in the next five years.
  • A need for 81,000 mining workers in the next decade.


In particular, four central areas that the Chamber’s members felt were exacerbating the effects of their skills shortage and impacting on their business were:-

  • Current immigration policy, particularly issues over processing.
  • Concern over how post-secondary institutions will adjust to the changing employment market trends in the skilled trades sector.
  • Issues of low completion rates in apprenticeships where it was felt more employers needed encouragement to participate.
  • EI (employment insurance) reform; it was felt that disincentives for claimants securing employment should be removed.


A further issue related to the skills shortage was the perceived lack of ‘survival skills’ amongst businesses to make the transition to coping with the 21st century workforce. Additionally, the issue of improved Aboriginal education was seen as essential in order to realize the potential of the fastest growing and youngest section of the Canadian population.


Areas for Action

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently called for a global skills strategy, one of its primary objectives being an increased investment in education and skills development.

In support of that, The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) is calling for an ‘Advanced Skills Action Plan’ involving industry, educational institutions and provincial governments. The creation of such a plan would, it believes, ensure productivity and growth; this includes making higher education more efficient and accessible in all industry sectors. Echoing the concerns of the members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce it also suggests that efforts must be made to attract the more marginalized sectors of the labour force such as women and the aboriginal population.

The ACCC is a voluntary member organization that links college capabilities to national industries. It summarizes the challenge for Canadian businesses as one of ‘Jobs Without People, People Without Jobs’ stating that 70% of new positions now require post-secondary credentials.  When immigration is taken into account,Canada’s ‘labour participation rate’ will also drop from 64% to 44% within a generation. 

Corporate advisors Ernst and Young suggest additional solutions to the above which, although specific to the mining and minerals industry, can be applied to other skilled trades:-

  • The early scheduling of labour to enable more effective long term planning.
  • Substituting capital for labour through continuing innovation.
  • Creation of initiatives to optimise productivity and retain competitiveness.


The skills shortage is undoubtedly already affecting Canadian businesses and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The ‘cross government and multi-stakeholder’ approach promulgated by ACCC and echoed by industry voices will assist Canadian businesses in adjusting to the changing economic landscape.


Why Partner With A Staffing Vendor?


It’s official. The Canadian economy is experiencing an unprecedented skills shortage and employers are being forced to look beyond their traditional recruitment methods to attract skilled candidates.

Latest figures predict that around two thirds of Canadian employers are struggling[1] to find skilled workers to fill specific jobs.  For employers who are traditionally used to advertising vacancies and waiting for the applications to flood in this is unchartered territory.

One option open to employers is to partner with a staffing vendor. While some employers may have had a negative experience of working with staffing vendors, a reputable company has the potential to contribute towards the achievement of an employer’s long term business goals and reduce recruitment costs.

Here, we highlight the advantages of partnering with a reputable staffing vendor:-


  • In today’s candidate driven market, a specialized staffing vendor will be well networked within a specific sector. They will understand the issues their clients face and the skillsets of the candidates they need to attract. This insight enables staffing vendors to advise their clients on whether or not their recruitment expectations are realistic and to offer alternative solutions where necessary. The consultants within an experienced staffing vendor’s team will ideally have worked in the client’s industry themselves or have extensive experience of the market sector.


  • Ethical and professional staffing vendors will value their candidates and treat them with respect and honesty. Through gaining the trust of skilled workers they will have access to a talent bank of candidates, whether their clients are seeking permanent or seasonal employees. They understand that candidates are their clients too and understanding their aspirations will contribute significantly towards higher staff retention rates.


  • Specialist staffing vendors will partner with colleges and educational organizations training unskilled workers for specific skills, such as heavy equipment operators, mechanics or welders. This enables them to maintain a potential flow of candidates for employers.


  • Professional staffing vendors will form strategic partnerships with their clients. Understanding an employer’s long term business goals enables staffing vendors to offer relevant advice on the most appropriate methods of recruitment, leading to improved efficiency, cost effectiveness and consequently a stronger bottom line.


  • The most skilled staffing vendors will work on an inter-provincial basis.  They will understand the legislation and relocation issues involved -together with the potential social and personal impact on their candidates – and offer advice to employers accordingly.


  • Staffing vendors can help to reduce employer attrition rates through a post placement policy. Offering a channel of communication for newly placed candidates to ensure their smooth integration into the employer’s workforce will improve retention rates. Any problems during training and the initial months of employment can be dealt with by the staffing vendor.


  • Above all, partnering with a staffing vendor on a long-term basis is a cost effective way of recruiting.


In the midst of the continuing skills shortage a reputable staffing vendor is that vital link in the recruitment chain.

Forming a strategic partnership with an ethical company will provide cost effect solutions to employers facing a potential recruitment chasm in the current economic climate.

[1] Randstad Workmonitor Survey 3rd October 2012