Policy Initiatives

Expanding the Skilled Labour Pool


Labour and skills shortages are the most pressing challenges facing manufacturers today. CME is working to expand the labour pool; improve education programs; and lower the cost of on-the-job training.

Why It Matters

Access to an abundant, high-quality workforce is critical to manufacturing success. It boosts output, productivity and profitability. It also drives innovation and is vital to taking the fullest advantage of new technologies and production methods.

The Challenges

  • Canadian manufacturers have a difficult time finding the workers they need. The challenges they face include:
  • The manufacturing workforce is older and aging more rapidly than the Canadian population as a whole
  • Not enough students are graduating with the skills that businesses are looking for
  • Differences in provincial standards prevent the free movement of skilled trades workers across the country
  • Government programs limit the kinds of training eligible for support
  • On-the-job training is critical but removes much-needed production capacity off the shop floor
  • Canada’s system of work-integrated learning programs is underdeveloped compared to other countries
  • Not having workers with the right skills prevents them from using new technology and equipment to their fullest potential.

These and other issues are preventing manufacturers from maximizing their potential and operating as effectively as possible.

How CME is Helping

CME is committed to addressing workforce shortages in manufacturing. Our National Policy team is working to:

  • Improve government supports for on-the-job training;
  • Expand Canada’s system of work-integrated learning programs;
  • Increase the number of women and other under-represented groups in the labour pool; and
  • Improve linkages between businesses and post-secondary institutions.

To get involved with CME or to provide comments on our position, please contact CME Senior Vice President Mathew Wilson at Mathew.Wilson@cme-mec.ca.

Graph Does your company face immediate labour and/or skills shortages today? Five years from now? Graph What are the most pressing challenges facing your company today?