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Job seekers look at postings at a Toronto job fair in March, 2009. (Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
Job seekers look at postings at a Toronto job fair in March, 2009. (Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

Ottawa moves to avert 'skills crisis' Add to ...

The federal government is launching a website it says will help Canadians identify which sectors of the economy are currently hiring and where job growth is likely to occur in future years.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley told a news conference Wednesday the aim is to let students and older job seekers know what kinds of skills they will need to address the demands of a changing economy.

Even during the height of the recession, Ms. Finley said, there were many industries that suffered from a labour shortage because they could not find workers with the required skill sets.

"This is becoming a skills crisis, we want to avert that," she said. "So we are trying something new. We are going to work really closely with the private sector on this because they are the ones that are driving the demand. they are the ones that can see it coming."

The minister said the new Working in Canada website will let Canadians know what jobs will be required in the long term so students who are planning their education can look ahead and plan their careers.

For instance, when nursing is selected, the website advises that "over the period of 2009-2018, job openings are expected to total 161,705. It is expected that 116,455 job seekers will be available to fill these job openings." That suggests a shortage of nurses is looming and nurses will be in demand.

And because there will be a regional perspective to the site, Ms. Finley said, students and workers will be able to tell what parts of the country are most in need of those skills which will help people to relocated to places where they are needed.

The need for certain types of labour must be recognized ahead of time, she said, and the resources must be in place to address the demand. Even now, she said, there are significant shortages in many key industries including health care, information technology and skilled trades.

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