By Anthony Capkun
July 27, 2013 – The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) says that, given the prominence of the discussion of the Canada Job Grant at the Council of the Federation meetings in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., this week, it is encouraged by the focus on the issue of investing in skills training for Canadians.
“CEA is supportive of action on this important challenge,” said Jim Burpee, CEA president and CEO. “Because human resources challenges in the electricity sector are especially acute, we urge the federal government and the premiers to find a way forward that ensures the availability of skilled trades professionals for the electricity sector.”
The urgency to address a skilled labour shortage in Canada’s electricity sector is compounded by the following:
• 40% of the current workforce in the electricity sector, or 45,000 employees, are set to retire between 2011 and 2016 (Source: Electricity Human Resources Canada).
• The need for additional workers to undertake the renewal of Canada’s electricity infrastructure, estimated by the Conference Board of Canada to require 156,000 jobs each year over the next 20 years.
• The need for the next generation of electricity sector workers to possess new skill sets to support the integration of new and innovative technologies.
“We are supportive of programs that have enough flexibility in design and in the definitions of what constitutes training to ensure electricity-sector apprentices and participating utilities can benefit,” added Burpee. “Ours is a highly-regulated industry and the prominent role of provincial regulators in workforce planning must inform discussions with provinces.”