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Barrie Chamber of Commerce Working to Reduce Ontario's Widening Skills Gap

Monday, April 04, 2016

NEWS

BARRIE: The Barrie Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), has outlined a series of recommendations designed to reduce Ontario's costly skills gap and to improve the labour outcomes of immigrants in the province.

Locally, the Barrie Chamber is working on Train in Technology (TnT), a regional skilled trades awareness campaign, that will run this fall. TnT will highlight the various technology sector jobs available in our region, and the opportunities for area residents.

QUOTES

"Addressing the skills gap has been a key priority of our membership over the past five years," said Rod Jackson, CEO, Barrie Chamber of Commerce. "We recognize that there is a golden opportunity for employers and government to work together to ensure that our province's employers have access to the best and the brightest talent in the world and, similarly, that new market entrants in Ontario have access to opportunities that align with their unique skillsets."

"Local initiatives to address skills shortages in the region are critical," continued Jackson, "Barrie is a thriving city with a diverse business community, but we have employers who need support in finding skilled employees. Our technology sector is gaining in strength, and we want to ensure that this continues."

HIGHLIGHTS FROM REPORT

  • The skills gap costs the Ontario economy up to $24.3 billion in foregone GDP and $3.7 billion in provincial tax revenues annually.
  • A 2016 OCC survey revealed that 39 percent of Ontario employers had difficulty filling a job opening over the last 12 to 18 months because they could not find someone with the right qualifications. This represents a 9 percent increase from our 2014 survey data on the same question.
  • Ontario is attracting fewer economic immigrants. Economic immigrants to Ontario declined by 46 percent from 95,091 in 2001 to 50,948 in 2014 because of structural changes to the immigration selection system.



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