Evidence of meeting #29 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was engineering.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Tracey Leesti  Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Marc Lachance  Assistant Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Josée Bégin  Director, Centre for Education Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Michael McCracken  Chair and Chief Operating Officer, Informetrica Limited
  • Marie Carter  Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada
  • Alana Lavoie  Manager, Government Relations, Engineers Canada

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you, everyone. We will commence our meeting.

We have with us representatives from Statistics Canada, which is well represented. I understand we're going to have Tracey Leesti, the director, presenting along with Josée Bégin. And on behalf of Informetrica Limited, Michael C. McCracken will be sharing for a few moments.

After the presentations, each of the members of the various parties will be allowed to ask questions in a five-minute round.

With that, we would invite Statistics Canada to begin their presentation.

Tracey, go ahead.

3:30 p.m.

Tracey Leesti Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Thank you.

Good afternoon. My name is Tracey Leesti, and I'm director of the labour statistics division at Statistics Canada. I'm joined by Josée Bégin, director for the centre for education statistics; Marc Lachance, assistant director, labour statistics division; and Kathryn McMullen, chief of education matters and integrated analysis at Statistics Canada.

We'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak to you today about the data relevant for your studies on labour shortages in high-demand occupations and understanding labour shortages.

While at Statistics Canada we do not generally calculate current or future occupational labour shortages—that work is usually left to external analysts, including provincial and federal governments—we are the primary data provider of key data sources on the Canadian labour market that can be used to assess labour market conditions, as well as observe certain aspects of supply and demand.

Data on employment, unemployment, wages, and job vacancies can be evaluated to assess the existence of, or potential for, a shortage, as well as to corroborate anecdotal reports of employers' difficulties in filling jobs. Data on enrolment and graduation can also identify a potential source for filling unmet demand.

There are a number of data sources available at Statistics Canada. The monthly labour force survey produces timely information about employment, unemployment, labour force participation, wages, as well as demographic information. The monthly survey of employment, payrolls and hours provides detailed industry and earnings information for payroll employees. There's also new data on job vacancies, as well as data on enrolment and graduation.

A picture of the labour market over time allows for an evaluation of changes in demand and supply for a particular occupation. In the first graph you will see that relative to total employment in Canada, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services and in health care and social assistance has shown long-term, steady growth, even during the recession, indicating a likely rise in the demand for these occupations.

As well, in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas, following a decline in the labour market during the recent downturn, this industry has been expanding again, and employment is back to its pre-recession level. This recent growth in employment again signals labour demand within this industry.

The next slide looks at job vacancy. The number of unfilled vacancies provides another potential measure of unmet labour. This measure....

Sorry?

3:30 p.m.

A voice

There's a question.

March 14th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

I apologize; I have just a quick question.

On the first graph, what is the axis label? I just don't see it. Is it tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or...?

3:35 p.m.

Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Tracey Leesti

It's the change in employment over time.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

Thank you very much. But is that as a change of employment in...?

It says “100”, and “120”, and “130”: is that people, or a percentage, or...?

3:35 p.m.

Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Tracey Leesti

It's an index.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

What is the index based on, then? What is the ratio for the index?

I apologize; I'm just trying to figure out what the axis means.

3:35 p.m.

Marc Lachance Assistant Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Basically, the way the number works is that in order to picture the growth, we start with an index. In that graph, we started in January 2000, and that's 100.

So when you go up, it means—

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

But 100 what? Is it 100 people?

3:35 p.m.

A voice

It's just a figure.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

Oh. So you're just using it as a—

3:35 p.m.

Assistant Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Marc Lachance

It's like a percentage.

3:35 p.m.

Director, Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Tracey Leesti

It's like a base number so that you can do comparative analysis across the different occupations.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

Okay, and you're starting at 100.

Thank you.