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CKCA's position on labour shortage

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CKCA by Sandra Wood
CMP, Executive Director, CKCA
CKCA has been working on many projects this year and one that holds great importance is advocacy. It is clear that our industry sector, like many others, must become more vocal about what we need and why. To do nothing, is not an option at a time where we have unprecedented changes 
in employment.  
At CKCA’s recent National Forum in Calgary we heard a presentation from Michael Poynton, Business Centre Manager of the Business Development Corporation (BDC) who spoke about future-proofing your business. Resilience in business is an essential quality that anyone who wants a sustainable long term business must strive to achieve. BDC, now in its 38th year,  monitors small business in Canada and provides a variety of resources. Why? Because Canada is made up of small and midsized businesses and these are the “engine” of the Canadian economy making up some 99.7 per cent of all Canadian companies that account for 52 per cent of the GDP in the business sector.
According to BDC and Statistics Canada, Canada’s labour force growth will be close to 0 by 2020. Labour shortages will become increasingly acute and that’s certainly what the majority of kitchen cabinet manufacturers are experiencing. This chart shows what’s happening and depending on where your business is, you’ll want to make a note of this!
According to BDC and Statistics Canada immigration will sustain Canada’s workforce growth and will account for 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth by 2032. With this comes challenges as well, one that was recently mentioned by a manufacturer was the need for translation services. Communicating office policies and directives can be a challenge to those who do not speak English. Some companies are using Google Translate or other such tools, some companies select specific staff to learn English so they can become the translators in the company. No matter what you are doing, it takes resources and companies need to consider this as they map out the future sustainability and growth of their business. If you want a copy of Michael Poynton’s full presentation just email 
and we are happy to send 
that to you!
While there is much to do to address the challenges that lie ahead, one thing is for certain, we must speak up, but we must also have clarity around what we are asking for. So as part of CKCA’s advocacy initiative we 
have prepared a position statement on this topic as a starting point. Along with 
this will be more materials that we will put into the hands of our members and industry partners. We all 
have the same issues, so we need to be asking for the same thing. Together our voice gets louder!
We’re in an election year and depending on the outcomes there is a possibility we will have a new government. What will we say to that new government? Our message should be clear and consistent. So take what we present here and use it as a starting point to have conversations with your local, provincial and federal government representatives.  We need to move the dial on this issue and get the right support for our industry.
It starts with taking the first step.

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