Canada Needs a National Workforce Strategy

I’ve been searching the web to see what provinces in Canada have a national workforce strategy. I found that Canadian provinces have been very proactive in putting pen to paper and crafting their strategic approach, ensuring they have the talent and the skills needed to meet their local economy demands. So why is it, then, that we have communities that are struggling to find the talent needed to fill job vacancies, and we have job seekers walking the pavement trying to secure employment?

I’m not writing this blog to get into a discussion on the mismatch between talent and jobs – we know that is a reality and one that needs to be addressed. It’s certainly one that I’ll probably write about in a future blog post. But for this article, I wanted to focus on the lack of a Canadian national workforce development strategy. Probably a little hard to believe in a time when we know from the census data that our population is aging, we have fewer youth, higher retirements and we have finite labour pool from which to draw. In essence each of these provincial strategies is driving a competitive approach to labour attraction and retention. Provinces and communities are in a battle for talent; and as with most battles you have a winner and a loser.

But can Canada afford to have any one of its provinces lose the battle? Should there not be broader-based discussions on how Canada can create a national workforce strategy that will best support the utilization of talent where it is most needed. Without a national strategy that brings some alignment, and at the least gets people talking about common issues, how will Canada compete with such countries as Australia who proudly displays their national workforce strategy?

I don’t claim to have the answers, as I said in the beginning I have more questions. I suggest that we need to get people from all sides of the country talking. Become a part of the conversation!