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Despite there being a record low unemployment rate in Canada, many sectors continue to face skills and labor shortages — including the aviation and aerospace sector, which is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy.
According to Employment and Social Development Canada, factors that are expected to exacerbate labor shortages over the long-term include an aging population and “declining participation.” It’s estimated that 600,000 workers may retire over the next three years.
In aviation and aerospace, specifically, the Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace (CCAA) estimates that the sector will need an additional 58,000 workers “in key skilled occupations” by 2028.
In response to the persisting labor shortage challenge, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Helena Jaczek, on Nov. 8 announced that the Canadian government is providing over $39 million to the CCAA’s “Industry Led Training for the Aviation and Aerospace Sector” project.
Jaczek made the announcement as part of her keynote address to the 2022 Canadian Aerospace Summit, being held in Ottawa from Nov. 8 to 9.
The $39 million investment is through the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, and is expected to support the CCAA in the “design, development, implementation, and evaluation of a new technical training and certification system for key occupations in aerospace,” a press release reads.
In a nutshell, the goal of the training project is to give employers the tools they need to provide on-the-job training for workers, from entry level up to full certification. The project is to include over 2,000 hours of new digitized training content, and will allow employers to utilize the college educational system — creating more pathways for people to enter the aerospace sector.
“The Industry Led Training [project] will provide employers with a system to train new hires who have no prior experience or formal education,” explained Robert Donald, executive director of the CCAA. “It will also be an important tool for upskilling the existing work force.”
The government’s investment in the project is also intended to cover wage subsidies for training, and provide funding for things like childcare and transportation — which are barriers for some workers.
“Our government is committed to continue working in partnership with the industry to meet our defense, research, and transportation needs, while also ensuring our procurements support the creation of jobs in the aerospace industry and participation of under-represented groups for years to come,” stated Jaczek.
Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, noted that the funding to the CCAA will also play a big role in the Canadian aviation sector’s recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic — which were extensive.
Mike Mueller, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, added: “Addressing critical labour shortages to ensure we have the workforce now and into the future is crucial. The ongoing success of Canada’s aerospace industry rests on the strength of its highly trained workforce.”
The CCAA is Canada’s only national association dedicated to attracting and developing workers with the skills required to meet the demands of the current and future workplace in aviation and aerospace.