Evidence of meeting #63 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was changes.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Claude Poirier  President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees
  • Tyler Sommers  Coordinator, Democracy Watch
  • Terrance Oakey  President, Merit Canada
  • Bob Linton  Director, Government and Political Affairs, United Food and Commerical Workers Union

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

You were rounding up.

12:45 p.m.

President, Professional Serving Canadians Coalition, Canadian Association of Professional Employees

Claude Poirier

Yes, I was rounding up by 400.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

I'm trying to understand your organization's predictions because they change so frequently. I'm having a hard time keeping track. Let me be very straightforward with you.

Before the tabling of the budget, your organization released a report that predicted that the budget would eliminate 116,000 jobs. Then following the tabling of budget 2012, you admitted that you were wrong and lowered the number by half to about 60,000. Now, here today you say 29,600 jobs and then you also round that up and say 30,000 families.

Your numbers, frankly sir, leave me without much confidence in what you have to say. I'm making a comment, not asking a question, but you can see how most Canadians are looking at what you're saying with some confusion. I'll leave it at that.

Nevertheless, I would like to turn my attention to Mr. Oakey. Mr. Oakey, you come from the construction industry, and I would like you to tell us very briefly about the shortages of skilled tradespeople and general skill shortages in your industry. Then I'd like you to comment about how you think the changes to EI and immigration might help address your shortages.

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

Terrance Oakey

Sure. I'd be happy to do that.

Our industry faces an acute labour shortage, especially in Alberta, but it will soon be spreading to other places in the country. We fully support changes to the temporary foreign worker program that Minister Kenney announced. We also support changes to the immigration system.

Temporary foreign workers for our industry are the most expensive form of labour that we can source, so we use them as a last resort. That being said, though, we will have a 300,000 person shortage by the end of decade, so something must be done.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Sorry, did you say you will be 300,000 persons short by the end of the decade?

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

That's what you're expecting?

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

Terrance Oakey

Yes. The Construction Sector Council of Canada has put out a report saying that roughly 300,000 skilled tradespeople in addition to what we already have will be needed by the end of the decade.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

So these measures in Bill C-38 will help, in your opinion, to fill those 300,000 some jobs.

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

And will the EI changes as well be helpful?

12:45 p.m.

President, Merit Canada

Terrance Oakey

Yes. We haven't commented specifically on the EI changes. I haven't had a chance to look at the details on them, but anything that encourages people to fill a job that is available is something we would support, because we have such an acute labour shortage in construction. I can't speak for the other industries that are here.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Okay. Do I have...?

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have 30 seconds.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Is there anything else you would like to say, Mr. Oakey? Is there anything else about this bill that you would like to highlight for us today, given that I only have 20 seconds left?