question period — Employment and Social Development

Labour Shortage

December 16, 2021


Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate. While most small businesses across Canada are experiencing labour shortages, New Brunswick is one of the hardest hit provinces, with 60% of small businesses unable to find enough staff. Employee shortages are found across many sectors in New Brunswick, most especially in construction, health care and transport.

Leader, last month’s Speech from the Throne did not mention the severe labour shortages in Canada, and Tuesday’s fiscal update only promised to bring forward a strategy next year. What are you doing to help businesses across New Brunswick which are dealing with labour shortages and need help now, not many years from now?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)

Thank you for your question, Senator Poirier. The problem of labour shortages is acute in many provinces and regions within provinces. The government has a number of different measures that it has brought forward and is working with its provincial and territorial partners to address this question. Some of these include reforming economic immigration programs to expand pathways for permanent residency for temporary foreign workers, working with communities and employers to welcome skilled refugees to fill labour shortages and establishing a trusted-employer system to streamline application procedures so that temporary workers can get full-time work.

With respect to more specific groups within the labour force, again, government initiatives like child care should, as the experience in Quebec demonstrated in a spectacular fashion, increase the number of women able to join the workforce, therefore also addressing the labour shortage and helping bolster our economy.