Canadian Construction Association 2012 Conference

CCA asked to join coalition pursuing funding for labour market information: Schubert

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The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has been asked to join others to create a coalition to pursue future federal labour market information funding, reports the association’s new chair.

“There is an expectation that groups will come forward to put in a proposal with the federal government as to how they will provide the LMI (labour market information),” said John Schubert, CCA’s newly minted chair, at the association’s recent annual conference.

“We have been asked, with a number of other groups, to create a coalition to respond to such a call.”

The LMI forecast which Canadian construction has seen as a reliable source of information in the past is the one created by the Construction Sector Council (CSC). However, last summer, the federal government announced it would cut all sector council funding by March 2013. The CSC is renowned for its LMI in construction and employment circles. This information has been integral for construction companies both large and small, industry stakeholders admitted in a series of articles generated by the Daily Commercial News last year.

The CSC’s LMI forecast data has helped industries and related stakeholders better understand the labour market forces at play in regions across Canada. The federal government stated it will develop a new system that will offer LMI forecasts possibly through a website.

Within the next two months Schubert expects CCA will have a better idea of what the future will look like for initiatives such as the LMI forecast. The federal government is expected to issue an expression of interest for grants related to past sector council work.

“With respect to the CSC themselves, they have identified that for them to exist, going forward, they will have to restructure how they will do their business,” added Schubert, who is one of CCA’s representatives on the CSC board.

Besides its LMI, the CSC has created focused and unique e-learning tools for the construction industry, from handbooks to dealing with foreign workers to mentorship planning. The CSC would like to keep together its core products like e-learning courses and the LMI. Under the umbrella of a group, such as the coalition being discussed, they would be able to obtain funding through organizations or through grants, noted Schubert.

“The CCA has approached them, as it concerns the e-learning courses, saying that they are important to the industry to have such education available,” explained Schubert. “We will work in concert with them to find the mechanism to carry it (e-learning courses) forward.”

Schubert added that once the expression of interest is posted, it will be interesting to see what kinds of responses are received. Formal proposals would likely not be requested until the end of the year.

“Provincial governments are keenly interested in the LMI portion continuing because it is helpful for them in planning their economic and human resource strategies,” he said.

“We will have a better idea once the expression of interest is posted.”