Posted May 3, 2013

2013 Budget

A promising start, but more needs to done to avoid the "Lost Decade" scenario says HRPA

TORONTO - The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) rated today's provincial budget based on the Association's CanadaWorks 2025 report as a step in the right direction, but noted that more needs to done to address the problem of skills-shortages, apprenticeships and funding to colleges in order to ensure that Ontario is not moving in the direction of the report's "Lost Decade" scenario.

HRPA and Deliotte examined the four fundamental drivers of change: demographic shifts, economic prosperity, technological adoption and sustainability. We then developed alternative future scenarios to set the foundations for a broader public policy debate. In our scenarios - The Lost Decade, Unsustainable Prosperity and The Northern Tiger - we created fulsome pictures of the Canadian workplace and workforce with respect to the labour market, workplace productivity, changes to the employment contract, and the organization of work.

"We support efforts of the government to start addressing the issue of skills shortages in Ontario, but more must done quickly to break the cycle of people without jobs and jobs with people," said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO.

HRPA applauds the government on its commitment to investing in skills and education, like the "30% Off" tuition grant, but reiterates its pre-budget recommendation that the government focus on providing that grant to degrees for jobs that have been identified as being in demand.

HRPA and its members are pleased to see that the government is investing in the Business-Labour Connectivity and Training Fund to promote partnerships between business, labour, educators and youth to solve skills development issues. However, more needs to be done to address the problem. We recommend that Ontario invest in producing its own labour market research to project demand for skills, both in the near and distant futures, and on a rolling basis, amend those projections as the data change.

"The consequences of not developing apprenticeship programs that offer viable, practical training based on the realities of the labour market will be that Ontario will find itself in the worst of CanadaWorks 2025's three scenarios - a lost decade," said Greenhalgh.

HRPA also encourages the federal government to work with the province and its pledge to include Ontario as a full partner with the federal government in immigration selection and settlement. "Again this will assist on Ontario labour market projections, provide specific, targeted support to those programs and disciplines that will be in demand in the future, contributing to Ontario's global competitiveness, increased productivity and lower unemployment. This does not mean spending more money - it means spending money where it will benefit Ontarians the most," added Greenhalgh.

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