Opinion

Cannan: Feds stick to economic plan yielding positive results

It is a positive reflection of our economic stability and business sector confidence that Canada has been able to recover more than 765,000 net new jobs (90 per cent full-time and nearly 80 per cent private sector) since July 2009.

Yet, a few local letter writers continue to denounce the government’s efforts to support job creation, taking aim at the government’s economic action plan and improvements to the EI and Temporary Foreign Worker programs, even going so far as to suggest that these measures are undermining good, well-paying jobs in this country.

However, the evidence is to the contrary.

As of April 2012, the average weekly wage is up at $896.63.

And just this month, CIBC World Markets Economics released its Canadian Employment Quality Index report declaring “the good news is that the Canadian economy created 155,000 new jobs in the first six months of 2012. The even better news is that these jobs were of high quality.”

The report also noted that full-time jobs grew 10 times faster than part-time jobs, accounting for 97 per cent of all jobs created during the period—with strong growth for “full-time paid employees in high-paying sectors” like petroleum and coal manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, heavy and civil engineering construction and transportation equipment manufacturing.

These results run counter to those who continue to suggest that the government’s economic and job creation plan is not working.

In fact, Canadians can take some pride in what we have achieved: The government’s efforts to create a stable economy and a strong job creation plan are the direct result of ongoing consultation with local businesses and Chambers of Commerce, the backbone of our local economies.

By working with the business sector and listening to their concerns, the federal government has been able to put in place an economic plan that gives employers the confidence to keep hiring.

Through consultation, the federal government has also been alerted to ongoing challenges that need to be addressed.

Recently the president of the Hotel Association of Canada put out an SOS stating that the lodging industry is facing a severe labour shortage.

As I have heard locally we can relate to this challenge all too well.

Without the necessary workforce to fill the jobs, key sectors like our tourism and agriculture sectors face a real threat to their productivity and viability.

That is why the federal government has taken a number of measures to help.

The federal government has made improvements to the EI program to better match skills with available employment, helping both those looking for work and those who need to fill job vacancies.

We have also made improvements to our Temporary Foreign Worker program and the new Accelerated Labour Market Opinion to ensure these programs are more responsive to the needs of employers, a measure which has been commended by the Hotel Association of Canada.

Skilled labour shortages are also the reason the government is focusing on youth employment and skills, including aboriginal youth, one of the fastest growing populations in Canada.

Canada has much to be proud of when it comes to our efforts for youth employment; in fact, we rank second only to Germany in our successes.

But we also recognize that more work must be done to address the challenges that our youth often face when transitioning from school to work —and ensuring that their talent is cultivated most effectively.

That includes addressing the mismatch that currently exists in Canada between skill sets and job requirements.

As the challenges our economy faces are not small or one-dimensional, neither is our plan.

The government will continue to take measures such as extending the hiring credit for small business to help local businesses hire more workers or eliminating barriers to participation in the work-force by providing new support to Canadians with disabilities who want to be part of the workforce.

While there may be political points to be scored by trying to find fault in the way the government approaches these challenges, the results speak for themselves.

Canada continues to benefit from a strong economic and job creation plan.

The long term prosperity of Canada is a goal we all share and I encourage everyone to work together to achieve it.

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