Canada does not have nationally coordinated labour training regime. Why does this matter? Just take a look at what is going on in Alberta. There the oil patch is gearing up for record labour shortages and the federal government is pumping out temporary foreign worker permits and individual corporations are opening training centers in Mexico. The estimated labour “shortage” in Alberta ranges from 75 to 130 thousand. The highest estimate therefore is less than 1/10 of a percent of currently unemployed Canadians. Moreover the estimated demand is around 1/5 of unemployed Canadian workers who qualify for unemployment insurance.
Clearly something beyond labour supply is going on here. I can think of only two reasons a deluge of temporary worker permits is being contemplated in the context of nearly 1.5 million unemployed Canadian workers: semi skilled and skilled foreign workers are both cheaper and more pliant than Canadian workers. Oil companies simply do not want to pay the cost of retraining central and eastern Canadian workers nor make the remuneration attractive enough to convince unemployed workers to move to Northern Alberta. What is more the federal government has no appetite for robust national labour training and mobility regime. The result is that the most expedient path is the issuing of temporary foreign worker permits.