Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Harper Myth Shattered

The Harper government has set blue collar Canada on a race to the bottom.  It is virulent in seeking to suppress unionism and collective bargaining and has been repeatedly found all too willing to permit droves of guest workers to be imported to fill jobs that should go to Canadian workers.

When it comes to allowing employers to bring in low-wage guest workers the justification given is that there's a labour shortage in Canada.   This is then leveraged into a scheme that not only fills the mysterious gap with foreign workers but allows the employer to pay them below-market wages.

A new report from TD bank economists claims this business about widespread labour shortages is baloney, a myth.

A new report from the TD Bank attempts to debunk what its authors call the myth of widespread skills mismatches in Canada and of a looming labour shortage as the workforce ages.

The findings run counter to the general discourse on the subject over the past few years, which has tended to highlight shortages in trades and in Western Canada, along with warnings of overall labour shortages as the baby boom generation moves into retirement.

...the bank's report, authored by TD's deputy chief economist Derek Burleton and three other bank economists, says whatever skills shortages exist are isolated and likely no greater than a decade ago.

"Evidence of economy-wide shortages is hard to find," said Burleton. "Yes, across regions and occupations, skills mismatches (exist) because you are never going to get a perfect match.

"The story on the wage data remains curious, as wage gains out West have not increased to the extent that one might have thought given the signs of tightness," the economists wrote.

Nor do they buy into dire predictions of massive labour shortages down the road as the aging workforce moves into retirement, noting that older Canadians are working longer and that other market adjustments are likely to occur.

 Why haven't wage gains in the West reflected the tight labour market?  Ask the boys from Beijing.

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