Given the pressing job vacancy challenges Ontario manufacturers are facing, the province needs to double down on its efforts to bring industry and education institutions together to address skills gaps and better plan training opportunities with Regional Industry Councils, advises CME. PHOTO courtesy Seneca Polytechnic.
Ontario manufacturers continue to face acute workforce needs with 18,900 jobs currently unfilled, over 7,000 confirmed new manufacturing jobs about to open up and significant retirements expected between now and 2028.
Breaking this down by region, the Greater Toronto Area, Kitchener-Waterloo and the Hamilton-Niagara region are facing the largest number of vacancies and are expected to face even more pressure as new manufacturing jobs, especially in the auto and electric vehicle sector, are about to come available, according to data from Statistics Canada and analysis by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
These vacancies underscore the most pressing challenge facing manufacturers today, says CME.
Anticipating the shortages and the fact that many of these new jobs require advanced skills and expertise, CME is calling on the Ontario government to strengthen its approach to training and upskilling in a new report released titled Manufacturing Ontario’s Future.
The report builds on consultations undertaken last year to support the work of Ontario’s Advanced Manufacturing Council and CME’s Manufacturing Canada’s Future report. It recommends that the province:
- Double down on its efforts to bring industry and education institutions together to address skills gaps and better plan training opportunities with Regional Industry Councils;
- Augment the Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit with matching support for employer-led training; and,
- Better align the Provincial Nominee Program with the needs of employers and workers to help replenish an aging workforce.
Exacerbating the jobs vacancies, too, is that a significant proportion of manufacturing employees are baby boomers and nearing the end of their working careers. Based on Ontario’s share of those workers, CME estimates that the province could see as much as 18,500 retirements every year between now and 2034.
Although, the Ontario government is making strides in restoring a welcoming climate for manufacturing investment, the province still has a significant amount of catching up to do to remain competitive against U.S. counterparts.
“More than ever, manufacturing is critical to Ontario’s future,” says Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.
“These recently announced manufacturing investments signal that Ontario is on the path to restoring a welcoming manufacturing climate. However, the reality is that we do not have the trained workforce to fulfill the jobs these investments will deliver.”
Problematic Regions & Sectors
The regions of Toronto (7,545), Kitchener-Waterloo (3,020), and Hamilton-Niagara (2,395) have the highest rates of job vacancies. Not far behind is Windsor-Sarnia (1,600), London (1,050) and Ottawa (980).
A few of these regions will also see a concentration of new manufacturing jobs worsening the situation —such is the case for London (expecting 3,000 new jobs from Volkswagen / Power Co. alone); and Windsor-Sarnia (expecting 2,754 new jobs from Stellantis / NextStar, Bobaek America, Magna and other suppliers servicing the growing EV industry).