AIA to Parliamentary Budget Office: Canada’s national labour shortage is real

Ottawa, Ontario — April 4, 2014 — The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada is responding to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s (PBO) March 25, 2014 report entitled Labour Market Assessment 2014. AIA does not agree that, “there is little evidence to suggest a national labour shortage exists in Canada,” as reported by the PBO. 
According to AIA, the existing national skills shortage is severely impacting Canada’s automotive aftermarket industry with a growing number of job vacancies and not enough skilled workers to fill them. According to the CARS Council’s 2013 study entitled, “Performance Driven: An update on the Labour Market Opportunities and Challenges for Canada’s Motive Power Repair and Service Sector,” there are just over 11,800 unfilled positions in Canada’s automotive aftermarket, with Canada’s Motive Power Repair and Service Sector (MPRS) accounting for 29 percent of these vacancies. According to the study, 28 percent of employers report having one or more unfilled positions.
The amount of work experience held by automotive aftermarket workers is decreasing, with the percentage of workers with 15 or more years’ experience now significantly smaller than in it was in 2005 (CARS Council 2009). At the same time, more MPRS workers are approaching retirement, with 20 percent of employers saying they are prepared to fill vacancies due to retirement over the next 5 years (CARS Council 2009).
“Labour shortages in the automotive service and repair sector will significantly damage the productivity of the automotive aftermarket industry and the Canadian economy as a whole, making it imperative to accrue more skilled technicians into the workforce,” says Marc Brazeau, AIA President and CEO. He further stated that sector employers anticipate that future labor shortages will have the greatest negative impact on their hiring of service technicians, body and collision damage repair technicians and technician specialists.
Although the PBO Labour Market Assessment did acknowledge that there appear to be regional and sectoral pockets of labour market tightness, such as in Saskatchewan, AIA Canada does not believe that this position adequately reflects the state of labour in the automotive aftermarket on a national basis.

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