Demographics of Canada’s Future Workforce



Release Date

March 24, 2014


Susan McDaniel reports on her research process to discover whether there will be labour or skills shortages in Canada, and what role immigration might play in Canada’s future. Her findings indicate that there is no evidence of widespread labour shortages on a national scale, but that there are pockets of skill shortages and mismatches in specific industry sectors and in specific geographic areas. McDaniel’s research also identifies large groups of underutilized populations, including youth, highly-skilled immigrants, Aboriginal Peoples, disabled and older workers.

Read the transcript

Susan McDaniel
Canada Research Chair in Global Population and Life Course
University of Lethbridge

Susan McDaniel: But our study looked at the best available research on labour and skills going forward, and our big takeaway is that there is no labour shortage in Canada, and there’s not likely to be one until after 2031. There are no skill shortages in Canada except for sectors and regions and some cyclical shortages, but overall they’re not skill shortages. What there are are skills mismatches.

It’s always difficult to say what impacts your findings will have because there’s always unexpected twists and turns. We found that immigration will of course fill in blanks in the Canadian population and workforce, but the difficulty with immigration is that people come in with high qualifications, and those qualifications are not recognized in the Canadian labour force because it seems that employers want Canadian experience. So we have this irony of highly qualified skilled people coming in and driving cabs and flipping hamburgers and not being accessible in the Canadian skills market.