The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling for concerted action by governments, the wider business community and other stakeholders to address the problem of Canada's aging workforce.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce's report, Canada's Demographic Crunch: Can Underrepresented Workers Save Us?, examines the great challenge that a rapidly aging population and workforce will pose for Canada's business competitiveness and economic well-being, and makes practical recommendations on how best to meet and overcome that challenge.
"A wider national discussion on the demographic crunch is needed, not just at the policy level and in business, but also in society at large," says Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "We must ask ourselves how to best address the impact of this looming demographic crunch, which, left unmitigated, will result in lost business competitiveness, spiralling fiscal pressures on younger generations, declining economic growth, lower per-capita output, a lower quality of life for Canadians and a weakened international voice for our country."
The Canadian Chamber believes that a multipronged approach, with the aim of replenishing the skilled workforce and boosting labour productivity is needed. To grow the size of its workforce, the Canadian Chamber recommends that Canada draw far more extensively on underutilized sources of labour within its borders – young people, older workers, the Aboriginal population and people with disabilities – as well as attract the best and brightest immigrants. To boost labour productivity, Canadian businesses must invest in capital equipment and new technologies and integrate efficiency-enhancing innovations into their operations.
"Many companies and sectors are already facing shortages of the talented people they need to remain competitive and grow," says Beatty. "The grave concern for Canada's business community and the well-being of Canadians is that workforce shortages are expected to increase within the present decade as the baby boomer generation retires in droves. The time to act is now."
Canada's Demographic Crunch: Can Underrepresented Workers Save Us? is available on the Canadian Chamber's website, Chamber.ca.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions.