Evidence of meeting #34 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 technology.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

5:20 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills

David Ticoll

It needs to be jointly done by a number of layers of government and a number of layers of industry. If you look at what we've done, we've already built what might be a nucleus for that, because we are a multi-stakeholder partnership, and in fact Morgan and Karna represent two of our partners. So you need to extend that even further, and government plays a role in our partnership as well, both as a funder and in some cases also as a member, because government is a major employer of IT people as well. So we have government members as members who are out there sending representatives into schools.

So yes, you need to form an initial steering committee of all those participants. They certainly do need to be prepared to put sponsorship or funding into it or whatever. Industry might call it sponsorship. I don't think you'd want to use that term in government. You'd probably call it contribution agreement or something like that. You'd need to have clear metrics, objectives, tight management, and all those other things you need to do in an initiative of this nature, but it also needs to be visionary.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Has that coordinated approach begun yet?

5:20 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills

David Ticoll

No. As I say, what we've done is a nucleus of that but it's a kind of start-up version of it as opposed to a top-down organized version of it, which we believe needs to be the next step.

By the way, this idea wasn't our idea. It was that of another industry person who was involved with a piece of Industry Canada research that will be announced tomorrow.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Thank you.

April 23rd, 2012 / 5:20 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Thanks to BlackBerry we can share our time in an equal way. Thank you, Mr. Elliott.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

That was the BlackBerry beeping.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Yes, but since it's a BlackBerry, I know you'll agree it's not a problem.

Just a quick point in English and then I'll switch back to French, please.

You didn't have time in your conversation with Mr. Butt. You were about to say that there's a process that, two years ago, took three weeks, usually, and it's slowing down. You didn't have time to explain. Could you tell us what it was?

5:20 p.m.

Director, Government Relations, Research in Motion

Morgan Elliott

To be honest with you, I don't know why it has slowed down.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

LMOs?

5:20 p.m.

Director, Government Relations, Research in Motion

Morgan Elliott

Yes. Labour market opinions, where we need to get someone in, a temporary foreign worker, relatively quickly to work on a project. In fact, we've tried to keep on most of the LMOs we've hired and have them become Canadian citizens afterwards because of their high scholastic talent. A while ago it used to take three to four weeks to get an application processed and now we're looking at 16 to 18 weeks.

5:20 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Sixteen weeks? Do you have any clue why it has tripled like that?

5:20 p.m.

Director, Government Relations, Research in Motion

5:20 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Okay, thank you.

I am going to continue in French.

For all sorts of reasons, Research in Motion has had some difficulties over the past year. I even heard some people say that the main problem is that the product is too good, and people keep it too long—it is that good.

But let's go back to today's topic. Is the difficulty of finding qualified personnel a part of current problems? If so, to what extent does that contribute to Research in Motion's current problems?

5:20 p.m.

Director, Government Relations, Research in Motion

Morgan Elliott

You make a very good point. It's one of the problems we're having. We're finding that people aren't upgrading their devices quite quickly enough. They're holding on to them for too long. It's a good problem and it's a bad problem, as well.

We've definitely had some challenges in the past. It just goes to show the highly competitive nature of the tech industry in the current climate.

The smart phone industry is very similar to politics in that you can't believe all the news you read every day. Not necessarily all the stories are true.

We've had some problems in the U.S. By the way, the U.S. is only a small portion of the world's smart phone industry, but unfortunately it has about 80% of the public opinion globally in terms of where the industry is going.

There are places, such as Indonesia, where later on this year probably we'll have 10 million subscribers. In India we're growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, over 60% of our sales are overseas.

The problems we have haven't been a barrier whatsoever in terms of attracting talent. We're in the same predicament that a number of companies in the Waterloo region are facing. We currently have over 3,000 tech jobs that we're trying to fill. That plays a factor in terms of what's going to happen. Am I still going to have a job? That's human nature. We haven't found that it has been an issue in terms of attracting talent.

It's highly coincidental, but I received an email that we have a new program inside RIM where we're offering money for new employees that we can recruit, as employees are ready to hire people. That's good.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

There is a program in my area, in La Pocatière—Rivière-du-Loup, that works very well in small towns. There are long-term development agreements between certain local businesses and local colleges—CEGEPs, as we call them in Quebec—for young people between 16 and 19 years of age. These agreements work very well because they are small scale agreements. For instance, if Bombardier works on the creation of a laser robot, the tests are carried out in part by CEGEP students who are studying computer science and IT technology.

This works very well where there is integration. In this case, young people benefit from the program, because they want to live in the region. In bigger centres, in companies like Research in Motion or university departments, would this type of small scale but very effective agreements be something that could be considered? Are there such programs already? Is enough being done? Could this be a possible solution?