Skills shortage to leave Ontarians jobless by 2021: report

By QMI Agency

A shortage of skills and lack of education will mean that more than 700,000 people in Ontario will be unemployable by 2021, according to Seneca College President emeritus Rick Miner.

That figure would add to the 5% of people who are traditionally unemployed, boosting the total of jobless to 1.1 million, he said in a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto.

"If current trends continue, hundreds of thousands of people will lack the necessary skills to find any work," Miner said presenting a report. "The unemployment crisis in Ontario will be far more severe than the current recession."

Although Miner’s study focused on Ontario, a similar trend has been noted in separate studies Canada-wide. A lack of skills coupled with the retirement of the baby-boomer generation may mean the country will have to rely on immigration to fill the available jobs, reports have found.

"The reality is that immigration could account for virtually all labour force growth in Canada within the next decade," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said recently.

Miner say immigration alone won't be enough to fill in the employment gaps and that more education is needed.

The study said it can be conservatively estimated that at least 75% of workers in Ontario will need postsecondary education and/or training by 2021 if they are to be employable in Ontario's new innovation economy.

However, if current trends continue, only about 64% is actually expected to have acquired postsecondary credentials by that point.

Miner said Ontario must begin taking action now to address this challenge.

"We need to make significant changes," he said. "If we don't, the result will be an economy that can't compete globally and a society that can't provide opportunities for people to find employment."

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