Where did all the workers go in Ontario?

Ontario is facing labor shortages in many industries, and lobby groups, unions and labor experts are offering ideas on how to resolve the ongoing crisis.

Recommendations include the need for the province to promote skills training and to provide tax credits to businesses for the first year’s wages of cooperative students, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Unions and workplace experts say there are easier ways for employers across the state to find good help.

Experts say there are several reasons why there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill vacancies in Ontario’s classrooms, hospitals, nursing homes, farms, restaurants and other communities that have reopened.

Rafael Gomez, director of the Center for Labor Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto, said many older workers decided to retire early during the pandemic, but their primary caregivers, often women, were pushed out of the workforce and returned. It didn’t come.

“We have learned that if a family has two incomes, people live on one,” Gomez said. He explained that this was especially common when children needed additional educational support due to the effects of COVID-19 and aging, or when a parent fell ill during the pandemic. , I realized that caregiving and full-time work are incompatible.”

Meanwhile, immigration was frozen for two years shortly after Ottawa readjusted the points system it uses to evaluate immigration applications to meet the needs of the Canadian labor market, lacking older workers and in-demand skills. It has become difficult for people to enter the country.

“Bureaucracy is not best suited to agility in changing economic conditions,” Gomez said, adding that in the early days of the pandemic, the research center he led sought to address workers’ perceptions of foreign entitlements. He also noted that he called on states to expedite the shortfalls during the country’s economic recovery.

“It was never done.”

Labor force data show that the ratio of new jobs to vacancies in sectors most vulnerable to labor shortages has been declining for several years before COVID-19.

Statistics Canada data show labor shortages in key sectors have worsened since at least 2016.

Bottlenecks are exacerbated by the reluctance of licensing agencies to flood the industry with workers, Gomez said.

Ontario is suffering from labor shortages in areas such as health, early childhood education, care, agriculture, construction, logistics and computing. Why are there so few job openings in the prefecture?

As baby boomers retire en masse, there are more opportunities across the job market, so younger workers may also be a little more selective, says a federal government funded by Toronto Metropolitan University. said Williams, director of research, evaluation and knowledge mobilization at Outfit. .

“People don’t necessarily want to wash dishes in restaurants,” she said. “Wages and benefits are definitely part of it, but it’s not the only one.

“People also want predictability in their schedules and want to know they can plan childcare.” Workplace safety laws expanded to include mandatory notices of schedules and other protections for contract workers etc., can be codified, she added.

“For too long we have had workplace safety laws, but perhaps our understanding of workplace safety and security [is] have to shift. ”

Data from Statistics Canada show that wages offered by employers are below what workers in the construction, manufacturing, retail trade, food and lodging services sectors are willing to accept.

Wages rose this year in private sector workplaces, especially those with regulated entry points. Public sector health and education workers, who are now negotiating new collective bargaining agreements, are looking to catch up.

The Civil Service Union of Canada is calling for provincial education departments to raise wages of $3 or more per hour for educational assistants, school library workers, janitor and other school workers. The Department is proposing compensation equivalent to about 55 cents an hour.

Nurses’ unions, on the other hand, are involved in arbitration to resolve outstanding issues in collective bargaining agreements. The process will result in him signing a two-year deal next month.

According to CUPE’s health care department, vacancies for registered practicing nurses are now three times higher than they were before the pandemic. These staff are facing increased violence from patients, higher patient loads, and increased risks of mental health trauma and infection.

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

Where did all the workers go in Ontario?

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