July 8 2003 - More work needs to be done to attract high-skilled immigrants
to Toronto if the city's potential for growth in producing knowledge-based goods and services
is to be realized. If this does not happen there will be a serious labour shortage by the end of the
decade, according to a new report presented to the Council's
Economic Development and Parks Committee.
"Toronto has a bright future as a global centre of the knowledge-based
economy, but only if all levels of government, educational and training
institutions, business and labour work more closely to improve the labour
force development system," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Chair of the
On the positive side, the report indicates that Toronto has a very
highly educated, highly skilled and culturally diverse labour force that will provide a strong foundation for future
economic growth. In the services sector more than three out of four employees
have post-secondary education. This compares with more than half of Toronto's
Between 2000 and 2010, employment in the Toronto region will increase
by 400,000 to just over 3 million - a 13% increase. Demand for labour will grow for
all skills groups, especially in occupations requiring a university degree, community college or
apprenticeship training, or a high school diploma.
But after 2008 baby boomers will be retiring. This will result in
the loss of a major share of the region's workforce and consequent labour shortages across
all occupations and skill groups by the end of the decade. The report concludes that
immigration will be a major source of new entrants into the labour force.
The report proposes that governments,
educational and training institutions, business and labour unions should work together to
implement necessary changes, including:
* Making the training and skills development system more flexible
and adaptable so that it is better able to respond to economic change.
* More involvement by employers in providing skills upgrading,
and better links between employers, educators and trainers.
* Improving access to training for youth who do not continue on
to college or university.
* Expanding and improving immigrant and migrant resettlement programs
* Reversing federal policies that seek to disperse immigrants away
from Toronto to other places in Canada.
* Creating a more integrated labour force development system in Toronto.
Next steps include consultations to refine and prioritize the
recommendations, and to build partnerships and alliances to implement them. As
well, staff of the City's Economic Development Division are working with the
Lakeshore Community Partnership (formerly the South Etobicoke Regeneration
Project) to undertake a labour force readiness plan for the food industry in
The study was made possible through the generous support of the
Government of Canada's Human Resources Development Canada.