Workers hold a level of bargaining power not seen in a generation as labour shortages are creating pressure on wages, working conditions, and benefits. Many employers and employees alike have not encountered a labour market shift like this. Employers will need to continue to be flexible in negotiations in order to fill vacancies.
For the last 40 odd years, employers held the market over employees as inflation rates soared during the 1970s and 1980s and industries found cheaper alternatives through offshoring, especially after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Because of these shifts, workers struggled to find jobs and wages were suppressed as employers held most of the bargaining power. As a result, companies found it easier to hire and retain. That is not the case, however, in today’s working environment.
According to Statistics Canada’s December Labour Survey, more Canadians are working or actively seeking work. The rate of workers aged 15 or older has been rising year-over-year by about 3%, the unemployment rate dropping by 0.1% to 5%, and employment increasing by 0.5%. Regardless of these statistics, more than one third of Canadian employers are expected to face labour shortage issues in the next few months to years due largely to the rapidly aging working-age population.
As our aging workforce begins to retire, job vacancies in our country are at an all-time high. Despite the trends in our neighbouring country to the south, Canada’s workforce has not seen the same ‘Great Resignation’ trend. More than 1 in 5 workers in Canada are between 55-64 and from 2016 to 2021, the number of those 65 and older increased 18.3% to 7 million according to another Statistics Canada report. Our labour market shortage isn’t caused by the ‘Great Resignation,’ but rather by the ‘Great Retirement’.
Employers and industries that are struggling to fill vacancies will need to adapt their reopening and rehiring plan to offer more lucrative and competitive wages and benefits. The early pandemic shifted the mindset of workers as mass layoffs and hiring freezes caused many to reevaluate their work and worth. Now, according to this article from Ranstad, these are the top items employees are seeking in the post pandemic world:
Luckily for employers, there are still tons of options and assistance for hiring and training staff in our increasingly post-pandemic economy and employment agencies across Peterborough and the Kawarthas are eager to help fill voids.
Pharmacists can now help treat some common ailments, saving you a trip to your doctor’s office. The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce helped make this happen.
The province announced a new healthcare initiative, expanding the role pharmacists play in patient care. The growing portfolio of pharmacists is something the Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying towards for some time.
In 2008, the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber developed a Policy Resolution titled “Addressing Access Bottlenecks to Primary Health Care.” While the document suggested several strategies, the first outcome was the Provincial Government approving Pharmacists to administer flu shots in 2012. Now, Ontario pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications and offer prescriptions for common illnesses and conditions.
Last month, they began prescribing the COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid.
Pharmacists can now offer prescriptions for:
• hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
• oral thrush (candidal stomatitis)
• pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral)
• dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact)
• menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
• acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD))
• cold sores (herpes labialis)
• insect bites and hives
• tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease)
• sprains and strains (musculoskeletal)
• urinary tract infections (UTIs)
A recent study from the University of Waterloo stated, “more than one-third (34.8%) of avoidable visits could potentially be managed by a pharmacist.”
The Peterborough Examiner reported in 2021 that 11,000 people in Peterborough were without a family doctor and an additional 22 doctors were expected to retire over the next few years.
This expanded role could cut down on clinic and emergency room visits. With an alternative health care option for those in need with smaller ailments, this could cause offer some relief to the medical industry.
However, because of the time needed to deliver this service, some of the smaller independent pharmacies in Ontario with limited staff might find this challenging. Patient assessments take time, and are not something all locations are equipped to deal with. With growing responsibilities and a world-wide drug shortage on the tail end of the pandemic, many pharmacists have reported staff shortages and burnout. To address this, each location can decide on how they will implement this service. Either a delayed start, or on an ailment-by-ailment basis.
This service is free for Ontarians with a health card.
For the full news release from the Premier’s office, visit https://bit.ly/ONrelease
Demand for critical minerals is expected to increase by 400% to 600% by 2040, according to the report titled Enhancing Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains commissioned by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Critical Minerals Council.
Critical minerals — like aluminum, lithium, and nickel — will underpin our push for net zero emissions. They are an essential part of building electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, and many everyday products.
Canada is positioned as a leader in mining both in terms of innovation and access to resources. As demand is set to dramatically increase, the report prompts that Canada needs to act quickly and decisively to address barriers standing in the way of capitalizing on this opportunity. Our county has the potential to increase mining, production and processing of minerals to meet global demand.
The CCC’s Critical Minerals Council is made up of members representing upstream and downstream corporations, academic institutions, and Indigenous associations.
The report notes the foundation for any growth in critical mineral supply chains in Canada is a commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, which includes meaningful and early engagement with Indigenous governments and organizations from project conception to development and oversight.
The report contains 14 recommendations, which include:
• Incentivize consumers to recycle end-of-life products with critical mineral content
• Increase the scale and awareness of exploration grants
• Accelerate clean energy projects
• Provide targeted infrastructure investment
• Support focused research and development
Read the full list of recommendations in the report: Enhancing Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains.
There are valid criticisms of the mining industry, including its impact on climate change. However, demand is increasing. As a nation, we need to work with Indigenous and climate stakeholders to be leaders in environmentally and socially responsible mining practices.
Producing critical mineral domestically allows the industry to provide product for global demand under the environmental, labour, and economic scrutiny we set up, rather than relying on producers like China.
Increasing our recycling capacity and opportunities will play a big role in moving forward, but our move to net-zero emissions and global demand for electronics will require a significant amount of mining.
According to the report, electric vehicles require a far greater quantity and breadth of critical minerals than conventional fossil fuel-burning vehicles. According to the International Energy Authority, it takes about 200 kg of critical minerals to produce a typical electric vehicle. These include lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, rare earth elements, copper, and manganese. China currently dominates the lithium-ion battery market, producing about 75% of global anode and cathode production.
Alternative energy productions also require large amounts of critical minerals. Solar panels require a large array to produce absorbent and conduction layers and module frames. Wind turbines require large amounts of copper, rare earth elements, and aluminum for cables, electrical components, coils and permanent magnets.
Our government recently introduced the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy, which largely aligns with the report from the CCC. The future of our plans to aggressively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and meet the targets we have set relies on our government working with industry to responsibly and sustainably increase our mining and improve our critical mineral supply chain to become global leaders in this sector.
Investing in workforce resources
The single biggest hurdle for many businesses is rebuilding their workforce, especially in service sectors like tourism, retail, food service, and hospitality.
Rebuilding our local economy will take years and a series of calculated investments from the private sector. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report, Q3 2022, 39% of respondents identified recruiting skilled employees as an obstacle to business over the next three months, 37% listed a shortage of labour force, and 31% identified retaining skilled employees.
Access to thorough, accurate and no-cost labour information and expertise will help businesses adapt, influencing our economic growth.
Our local Workforce Planning Boards are an indispensable partner in rebuilding our workforce. Locally, the Workforce Development Board has been providing workforce resources for 26 years. They bring direct experience in identifying and addressing labour market and workforce development trends, opportunities and priorities within their catchment areas. Local businesses regularly use resources like the Local Jobs Hub and Labour Market Information Help Desk. The annual Local Labour Market Planning Report provides crucial summaries of key data and qualitative feedback gathered through consultation and collaboration with industry, businesses, training and employment service providers.
Right now, businesses are looking for data and expert advice on providing competitive compensation, investing in career ladders to retain staff, and labour market information regarding planned growth — all of which is available for free from the Workforce Development Board.
Our local Workforce Development Board is one of a number of Workforce Planning Boards across Ontario — all of which are facing the same challenges. In order to provide local labour market information, service coordination and public education, Workforce Planning Boards need more sustainable funding. Operating on one-year contracts on budgets that have decreased over the years has made it difficult to recruit and retain talent to provide these services.
Together with Chambers of Commerce and other business-focused organizations, we issued a letter of support to Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development requesting:
• An increase in funding for each Workforce Planning Board by a minimum of $120,000 per fiscal year
• An increase in the length of funding agreements with Workforce Planning Boards to three years
Additionally, the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce will be submitting a policy resolution on this subject to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to potentially become part of their advocacy efforts.
Workforce challenges are one of the biggest barriers to economic growth in Ontario. It is essential that businesses, non-profits and charities have access to as many workforce resources and tools as possible. After years of funding cuts and precarious one-year funding agreements, now is the time to re-invest in our Workforce Planning Boards with increased funding and three-year contracts.