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(TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

BRIAN LEE CROWLEY

Think there’s a skills shortage now? Just wait till the boomers bow out

The future is an uncertain place. That’s why plans that depend on the future being like the present, despite signs of incipient change, are usually doomed to disappoint. Accepting an appointment to the French aristocracy in 1788 probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Then came 1789. Oops.

This idea that the forces shaping the future are never far beneath the surface of the present seemed particularly pertinent this week as federal Human Resources Minister Jason Kenney was in Toronto hosting a conference on whether skills shortages exist in the Canadian economy. The government and many business groups maintain they do, while others, including the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), say they can only find localized examples.