Entries in jobs (3)

Wednesday
Jul222015

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Federal Election 2015

With most of the candidates in place for the Peterborough-Kawartha, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and Northumberland-Peterborough South ridings, it’s time to start breaking down the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) 2015 Federal election platform called “A Canada That Wins”.  

In his presentation at the March Peterborough Chamber Annual General Meeting, Hendrik Brakel Senior Director, Economic, Financial & Tax Policy at the CCC spoke to much of what is in the official platform.  As with the provincial election and to an extent the municipal elections in 2014, jobs are quickly becoming a main focus of this campaign. The following is a segment called “5 Minutes for Business:  The Top 3 Issues in the Federal Election – Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs” penned by Brakel.   

"Jobs are always a top issue in a federal election, but with this shaky economy, it’s fast becoming the number one priority. Opposition parties have made much of the recent bad news: in the first quarter, Canada’s GDP shrank by 0.6%, exports tumbled 5.6% and corporate profits fell by 14% as the drop in oil prices slammed the Canadian economy.

And yet the Canadian labour market has held up well, adding an average of 20,000 jobs per month since the beginning of 2015. In fact, Canada added a rip-roaring 59,000 jobs in May. What gives? Where are these jobs coming from in the midst of economic despair?

Our regional differences are as stark as ever. Energyrich provinces once drove job creation while the manufacturing sector of Central Canada lagged behind. Now lower oil prices and a weaker Loonie have flipped the numbers. Still, the outlook is very mixed.

There are now 25,000 fewer jobs in the Alberta oil patch, but there is good reason to believe that the worst is behind us. Firstly, oil prices have stabilized around the $60 range and are headed slightly higher. The market no longer fears a drop to $20 as Citibank had predicted. Secondly, oil sands projects require huge upfront investments, but once those are made, they can go on producing for years with relatively low costs. And they need to keep operating continuously: most can’t be shut down without damaging the equipment. Thirdly, new investments are on-track with 10 new oil sands projects scheduled to start this year and 7 set for 2016 with total capacity over 300,000 barrels per day, according to Oil Sands Review. These are probably safe because once they’re partially paid for, “you don’t stop a project mid-cap-ex”. Some exploration and drilling activity has been scaled back, but job losses should ease.

In manufacturing, the outlook is much improved and the parties have all pledged support for the sector, which is certainly welcome. The challenge is that manufacturers are increasing production by investing in capital and new technologies: they’re becoming more efficient and more competitive. As a result, we’ll see an impressive resurgence in manufacturing and exports, but it may not translate into big job gains.

The political parties are missing the big picture by focusing so much on jobs in manufacturing and natural resources because together they account for just 11% of the labour force. The overwhelming majority (78%) of Canadian employment is in the service sector and recently it’s been the fastest growing part of our economy.

Services are a poorly understood grab bag of different occupations. It’s sometimes perceived as low-paying because it includes retail and restaurants, but there are also scientists, engineers, lawyers and financiers.

Over the past year, Canada’s fastest job growth is in sectors like business and support services (up 4.5% compared to last year), education (up 4.1%), finance and insurance (up 3.5%) and professional, scientific and technical (up 1.7%), while retail has barely budged (0.3%). And the gains in high-end services employment are spread right across the country.

With the election just around the corner, we would love to hear a politician say: “we need highly specialized skills to compete and succeed in the service economy. That’s why we must invest in Canadian education and training to make it the best in the world.”

Our Peterborough Chamber members and members of the public interested in the economy have the opportunity to make their voices heard at a meeting held by the Peterborough-Kawartha federal liberal candidate, Maryam Monsef.  The meeting is Friday, July 24, 2015 from 8-10am at the Holiday Inn.  Liberal MP Ralph Goodale will also be in attendance.  

Also running in the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding are Mike Skinner for the Conservatives and Dave Nickle for the NDP. In Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock running for MP are Jamie Schmale as the Conservative candidate, David Marquis for the Liberals, Mike Perry for the NDP, and William MacCallum for the Green Party. In Northumberland-Peterborough South Adam Moulton is running for the Conservatives, Kim Rudd for the Liberals, Russ Christianson for the NDP, and Patricia Sinott for the Green Party.

For more election information you can check out the Peterborough Chamber’s 2015 Federal Election Hub on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fedelection2015ptbo

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce does not endorse any one candidate, but we encourage and support all candidates, which is the reason for the page. The Chamber works with all elected representatives municipal, provincial and federal. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 

Thursday
Oct022014

Canada and Ontario governments announce new job grant

Rapid Policy Update from the OCC:

What do businesses need to know?

The governments of Canada and Ontario have jointly announced the roll-out of the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, a new employer-driven skills training program.

The Job Grant will provide businesses with up to $15,000 per person to cover training costs for workers or unemployed Ontarians in needs of skills upgrading.

In order to participate in the program, employers will be required to contribute on average, one-third or up to $5,000 of the total costs of training. Small businesses will benefit from flexible arrangements, such as the potential to count wages as part of their employer contribution.

Eligible training under the Job Grant can be provided in a classroom, on-site at a workplace, or online, as long as it is provided by an eligible third-party trainer, such as a community college, career college, trade union centre, and/or private trainer.

As part of the Job Grant, the ministry is also calling for ‘expressions of interest’ for two new, employer-driven skills training pilots:

  • The Customized Training pilot will assist in the development and delivery of firm-specific training solutions that meet employers’ workforce needs.
  • UpSkill will support essential and technical skills training tailored to specific sectors for potentially vulnerable workers in low and medium-skilled occupations.

To apply for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant and learn more about the training pilots, visit the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities website.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce played an instrumental role in shaping the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. In partnership with Essential Skills Ontario, the OCC recently released the report, Moving Forward Together: An Employer Perspective on the Design of Skills Training Programs in Ontario. This report presented the business perspective on employer-driven training and provided recommendations to government on how to ensure new programs are a success.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Thursday
Sep112014

Training the workforce: the employer's role

 

It’s not a stretch to say that job creation and employment are issues on the minds of the Peterborough business community. Both will most likely highlight the upcoming municipal election campaign. The role of government is to create the environment or framework within which a business can succeed and grow. Employers are also part of the equation. They are not only the beneficiaries of any government programs; they need to use them. 

Part of employment and job creation revolves around employee training. If you are able to train and improve the knowledge of current employees, thereby making them more productive, the chances are greatly increased that your business will need to expand its human capital to meet demand. In Peterborough, Economic Development officials have said that any new job growth will come from companies with five employees or less. This statement lends even more importance to effective employee training programs that employers can easily tap into. 

A new report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) and co-released with the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce encourages that training programs funded by the federal government and designed and implemented by the province in the form of the Canada Job Grant must adhere to the following five principles: 

  1. Strike a balance between program integrity and emloyer usability 
  2. Facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in the provider market 
  3. Encourage flexibility with respect to how training is delivered 
  4. Encourage sector-based approaches to training 
  5. Drive awareness of training programs within the business community 

The OCC policy group held consultations in eight Ontario communities and met with small and medium enterprises, multi-national firms, industry associations, human resource professionals, training service providers and post-secondary institutions (Report, September 2014). The OCC also used data collected from the membership survey completed earlier this year. 

Since the announcement of the Canada Job Grant program in the 2013 federal budget, a lot has happened. The report from the OCC and ESO details the parameters the Government of Ontario will follow in rolling out upcoming programs: 

 

  • Available to businesses and non-profit organizations to train workers and unemployed Ontarians in need of skills upgrading 
  • Up to $10,000 provided from government for training costs per person, including tuition and training materials 
  • Requirements for employers to contribute one-third of total training costs, up to $5,000 (with some flexibility for small employers) 
  • Eligible training is limited to short-duration training provided by a third party trainer 

 

Ontario and many other jurisdictions are in the midst of change, as many sectors of the economy are branching out and taking on challenges to remain competitive. “Employer investments in training lead to gains for the economy. 

Employers who actively invest in the skills of their employees utilize these skills to increase productivity and market-share.” (Report, September 2014). The report also quotes the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which suggests that “even if 10 percent more employers could be persuaded to take this ‘high road’, the Ontario economy would move to a significantly higher skill equilibrium.” 

To support the six recommendations, the report “The Future of Training in Ontario” offers ten actionable suggestions: 

  1. Minimize administrative burdens on employers 
  2. Develop one access point for all government-funded workforce, training and employment services 
  3. Provide flexibility in employer financial contributions 
  4. Reserve funding for small to medium employers and first-time program participations 
  5. Encourage competition and consolidation in the service provider market 
  6. Enable third parties to play a brokerage role 
  7. Where no third party training provider is available, allow employers to train in-house 
  8. Build on existing partnerships between employers and training providers 
  9. Promote a consortia approach to training; allow employers with similar human capital needs to pool resources 
  10. Execute an employer engagement and marketing strategy in collaboration with employer organizations 

The document recognizes employers will need to develop an employee training strategy and that such a strategy has a certain amount of risk, such as losing employees to competitors once the training is complete. Esri Canada, a company that specializes in geographic information system solutions, has had a training program for employees since 2009. A representative told the OCC in 2013 that the company is willing to take the risk of training people and it’s paying off. That being said it’s crucial that any government programs make it easy for businesses to access them and put them to work. 

What does this all mean for employers in Peterborough? It means there will be increased options for training. It means employers will be investing in their workforce, their human capital, just as they invest in their tangible assets. In various roundtables with government officials, again and again, there is a plea from employers to make these type of programs no-brainers. Many employers would take advantage of them if they were easy to use, navigate and complete in a timely manner. 

Employer involvement in training of employees is just one way of pushing the Ontario economy forward, of pushing the greater Peterborough area economy forward and we must keep our options open. 

The full report can be found on the OCC website occ.ca and on the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce website peterboroughchamber.ca 

Comment on this article through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.