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ACCC: College Presidents on Parliament Hill

Ottawa, February 6, 2012 – Sixty-one presidents of colleges, institutes and polytechnics from across Canada began a series of meetings today in Ottawa.  One hundred ministers, senior officials, MPs and Senators have accepted ACCC’s invitation to engage in dialogue on Canada’s advanced skills shortage.

The twin pressures of Canada’s demographic deficit and the increasing technological sophistication of the workplace mean that in ten years, employers will not be able to identify qualified candidates for 1,500,000 available jobs, even with immigration. Seventy percent of new jobs now require the advanced skills associated with post-secondary credentials. As a result, many sectors are already unable to fill open positions, despite rising unemployment.

Speaking in Davos, Prime Minister Harper spoke to the need to prepare for demographic pressures now. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently announced the Government’s plan to make immigration easier for persons with skills.

“While this welcome move will relieve some of the pressure employers are experiencing, the challenges will grow more severe as baby boomers retire. The first baby boomer turned 65 in 2011,” said James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

“To meet the challenges head on, we must find ways to equip our traditionally marginalized populations with the skills needed to succeed in our economy. We must improve the educational achievement of Aboriginal peoples, poor immigrants, the disabled and others who do not typically achieve post-secondary success. This is a whole-of-society challenge.”

ACCC is hosting these meetings to share insights and ideas on these key matters and to begin large-scale planning focused on the role of Canada’s colleges in averting the full effect of a skills shortage, before it is too late. 

“With 1,000 campuses and learning centres across the country, ACCC’s 150 member colleges are the best fit for partnering with the Government of Canada to ensure that all Canadians are equipped with the skills required to contribute to and enjoy our standard of living,” Knight concluded.

For more information, contact:
Rosemary Lafrenière
Manager, Communications and Information Services
Tel: (613) 746-2222 ext 3123