The Labour Market Group’s latest report showed 466 vacancies in the Nipissing area, and MP Anthony Rota says Budget 2017 is all about getting those jobs filled. The 466 vacancies in March jumped by 42 per cent compared to February, and year-over-year it was an increase of almost 10 per cent. Over the past year, the Nipissing District has seen an average of 396 job postings per month. LMG executive director Stacie Fiddler says there are vacancies available in a number of different industries ranging from highly skilled occupations to low skilled occupations and everything in between. Fiddler says there are also many options for those just entering the workforce to gain the transferable skills that are required for jobs of the future.
The demographic and economic trends unfolding in Nipissing point to some challenges and opportunities ahead. The Nipissing District is seeing a greying population, and a declining working age population. That’s expected to continue for years to come based on research from a study released in April by the Northern Policy Institute found. Fiddler says as a small Northern Ontario community, they are already beginning to feel the pressures of an aging population as well as population decline, and local employers are searching for workforce replacement options to meet growing industry demands.
Rota says that’s where the federal government’s commitment to training and innovation will help fill the vacancies in our area. He says they are working to create opportunities for lifelong learning so that the next job is also a better job for people in Nipissing. Rota says in Budget 2017, they released an Innovation and Skills Plan that puts the focus on people and the changing nature of the economy. He says this plan laid out support for jobs retraining, more EI flexibility and better access to lifelong learning.
There were a number of measures announced in the Innovation and Skills Plan including:
- $2.7 billion over six years to boost skills training and employment supports for unemployed and underemployed Canadians.
- $225 million over four years to identify and fill skill gaps to help Canadians be prepared for the new economy.
- $132.4 million over four years to make Employment Insurance more flexible and enable more unemployed workers to pursue training while remaining eligible for benefits.
- $396 million over three years in addition to a $330 million annual allocation, for the Youth Employment Strategy to give younger workers the best possible start in their careers.
Rota says budget 2017 was about jobs, and they are working to equip workers in Canada, and here in Nipissing, with the tools and skills they need to succeed in the economy of the future.
Rota also talked about FedNor working to develop a growth strategy for Northern Ontario. He says the focus is on prosperity and growth, as well as leveraging the region’s unique strengths and competitive advantages in mining, resources and agriculture, and other sectors. Stakeholder consultations will be taking place this spring. Mayor Al McDonald gave kudos to the plan, saying the federal government is addressing some of the most pressing labour market needs here in Northern Ontario through the 2017 federal budget. McDonald says local business is challenged on many fronts to find skilled workers and the 2017 federal budget recognizes this and puts people first.