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Half of all Canadian manufacturers face labour shortages today: new CME report

Published by Stephanie Brooks on December 21, 2012

Almost 50 per cent of Canadian manufacturers polled in a recent industry survey indicate they face immediate labour shortages, according to a new report released today from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

Based on the skills and labour results of the Management Issues Survey (MIS) released earlier this year by CME, BDO and Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), companies representing a broad cross-section of industry across Canada say attracting and retaining labour is one of their top three concerns, after only competition from other companies and the strength of the Canadian dollar.

“In an era of aging demographics in Canada, the availability of quality skills and labour is a critical issue to companies’ success and ability to invest in our economy,” says CME President & CEO, Jayson Myers.

The shortages represent a wide variety of occupations with most areas appear set to worsen in the next five years. Occupations like sales and marketing, skilled production, general management and engineering were not only found to be the areas in which companies are most concerned about shortages, but also the jobs most integral to companies’ success over the next five years.

“These shortages are already having a significant impact on manufacturing in Canada, including constraining growth and investment, with many companies reporting they are having to move or forego production,” says Myers.

Over the next five years, these challenges are expected to worsen, he adds, and nearly a third of companies will be forced to consider relocation in order to grow.

“Our governments must work aggressively with industry and labour on a national action plan that addresses this most pressing issue – with specific focus on the immigration and education systems – if we are going to capitalize on the optimism for growth and investment in products, processes and people that Canadian industry has.”

The full report is available here, and the results of the MIS are available for download at


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