Monday, June 24th, 2013

New Report: Skills Gap Costs Ontario $24 Billion Annually

Skilled Trades

People are working in jobs that don’t make full use of their training.

The Conference Board of Canada released a new report suggesting that a marked skills gap is costing Ontario upwards of $24 billion in economic activity every year. The report surveyed more than 1,500 Ontario employers and found that the manufacturing, health and finance sectors seem most affected the gap between the skills workers have and the skills that employers need.

“It’s something we can’t afford to let slide any longer,” said report co-author Daniel Munro. “It’s damaging to the economy, it’s damaging to individuals and it’s damaging to businesses.”

Mismatched skills – or people working in jobs that don’t make full use of their training – are cited as another reason for the province’s economic losses. According to the report, mismatched skills alone costs Ontario an annual $4.1 billion in foregone GDP and $627 million in provincial tax revenues.

“This is money that could go to pay for some substantial economic and social programs for Ontarians,” Munro said.

The Ontario minister of training, colleges and universities, Brad Duguid, spoke at a conference last week where the report was issued, but has not yet reviewed it. However, Duguid did issue a statement at the conference stressing that the provincial government “need[s] to work with our partners in education and in the private sector to ensure that businesses are able to find workers with the specific skills and experience they require.”

The Conference Board of Canada plans to launch a research centre this fall that will focus on skills and post-secondary education where it can research these issues across Canada over the next five years.

Linda Galeazzi
Author: Linda Galeazzi
Linda Galeazzi has been an online writer and proof reader for several years.
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