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Fill gaps in jobs data to boost hiring and help students plan their careers, report says

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Date: June 14, 2016

Related Issues Jobs and Skills

Fill gaps in jobs data to boost hiring and help students plan their careers, report says

Unemployed Canadians would have more success finding work if governments did a better job collecting and sharing reliable, comprehensible information about the state of the labour market, a new report finds.

The report, Labour Market Information: An Essential Part of Canada’s Skills Agenda, is being published today in advance of a meeting of provincial, territorial and federal labour ministers on June 22. It was written by former TD Bank Group Chief Economist Don Drummond and Cliff Halliwell, former director general of policy research at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

In their paper, Drummond and Halliwell call for greater collaboration among government, the business community and post-secondary institutions to improve labour market information. They point out that while Canadian governments collect a wealth of data about the job market, the information is riddled with gaps.

Often the information collected in one jurisdiction or sector of the economy cannot be reliably compared to data collected in other areas – or in different time periods – because of differences in the way information is collected, measured and defined, they say.

These gaps make it difficult for governments to track unemployment trends and determine whether, or where, there are shortages of skilled workers. Information gaps and inconsistent data also complicate international comparisons of Canada’s performance on issues such as the employment earnings of post-secondary graduates, or the effectiveness of government training programs.

The report lays out 22 recommendations, based on four key priorities:

  • Governments, employers and post-secondary institutions should coordinate their efforts to gather labour market information, using common survey questions and definitions that permit comparisons across jurisdictions;
  • The federal government should establish and promote a comprehensive, national database of labour market information that is available to all Canadians;
  • Post-secondary institutions and governments should work together to collect better information about the kinds of jobs that students obtain after graduation and their earnings ;
  • Schools and employers should increase work-integrated learning opportunities for students, including co-op placements, internships, and mentorship programs.

“Accurate and timely data about the labour market is essential to good decision-making,” said The Honourable John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council. “Improved labour market information can help students make smarter choices about their careers. It can also help companies plan ahead, and guide policy makers in deciding where to allocate public resources.”

Copies of the report are available on the Business Council’s website.

About the Business Council of Canada

Founded in 1976, the Business Council of Canada is the senior voice of Canada’s business community, representing 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country. Member companies employ 1.4 million Canadians, account for more than half the value of the Toronto Stock Exchange, contribute the largest share of federal corporate taxes, and are responsible for most of Canada’s exports, corporate philanthropy, and private-sector investments in research and development. Through supply chain partnerships, service contracts and mentoring programs, Business Council members support many hundreds of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs in communities of all sizes across Canada.

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