Electrical Business

November 2, 2023 – A new labour market report finds Canada’s electricity sector will require close to 28,000 new employees by 2028 (equivalent to 25% of the current labour force): 57% to replace retiring employees, and 43% to meet expansion demand.

At a national launch event in Toronto, Electricity Human Resources Canada released its 5-year “Electricity in Demand: Labour Market Insights 2023-2028” report to industry executives, labour representatives, educators and sector stakeholders.

“The report identifies emerging demands for newly trained and specialized workers in the electricity sector’s labour force,” said Michelle Branigan, CEO, EHRC. “It offers recommendations to enable both industry and government to make evidence-based, workforce-related decisions […] to support Canada’s net-zero ambitions.”

As of 2022, just over 110,600 individuals were employed in the electricity sector across a range of occupations. Developing a pool of trained and experienced workers is critical to building long-term, future-readiness of Canada’s electricity supply, says EHRC.

The report’s objectives include:

• Reveal the challenges, opportunities, trends, and key workforce issues confronting Canada’s electricity sector.
• Provide labour market data, intelligence, and projections that enable stakeholders to make evidence-based workforce-related decisions.
• To identify HR solutions that augment the electricity sector’s ability to attract, develop, and retain the talent needed to support its goals and initiatives.

Significant capital investments are anticipated in the Canadian electricity sector to increase its ability to generate clean and affordable power. These investments align with the country’s goal of achieving a net-zero grid and net-zero emissions.

EHRC notes that Canada’s electricity consumption could more than double between 2023 and 2050. This increase will require more power generation to meet demand, “which will necessitate a substantial increase in the electricity sector’s labour force”.

Building on its “Workers in Motion” report (2018), this new EHRC report provides current and updated information, as well as five-year projections of the labour outlook for the Canadian electricity sector to 2028.

Total employment in the sector has, in fact, increased by over 12% in the past five years. Most of this growth is concentrated in the renewable energy space.

That said, EHRC finds that nearly half of the sector’s 34 core occupations will face labour shortages at the economy-wide level.

To varying degrees, Each of the four groups of occupations considered in the analysis will be impacted:

• Managers and supervisors
• Engineers and engineering technologists
• Trades
• Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Besides the issues of attraction and retention, EHRC insists new sector training programs are urgently needed:

• Technological advancements in the sector require updated and new courses and academic programs for workers. However, the development time required can be too long.
• There is considerable scope for increased collaboration and coordination between educators and employers to ensure the provision of in-demand skills and improvement of training programs.

“With a mission is to build a sustainable future powered by our electricity, ideas and people, OPG and its family of companies are leading the development of new clean technologies, refurbishment of existing assets, and electrification initiatives to power the growing demand of a clean economy,” said Cynthia Domjancic, senior vice-president, Human Resources, Ontario Power Generation. “This highly anticipated LMI [labour market intelligence] report will inform hiring and skills development to ensure we meet those expectations.”

The report “Electricity in Demand: Labour Market Insights 2023-2028” was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

Many organizations across the country participated on EHRC’s National LMI Steering Committee:

ATCO Electric, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canadian Renewable Energy Association, Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario, Enercon, Georgian College, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, IBEW, Nova Scotia Power, Ontario Power Generation, Power Workers’ Union, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, SaskPower, TransAlta, University of Waterloo.

Electricity Human Resources Canada is Canada’s trusted provider of national labour market business intelligence, HR programs, and tools for the electricity sector.

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