Parliamentary watchdog releases report questioning recent statistics

Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Jean-Denis Fréchette has joined a growing group of Canadians who say the federal government is wrong in its position that Canada is suffering a labour shortage. Fréchette issued his 2014 Labour Market Assessment on March 25 which stated his office “found little evidence in support of a national labour shortage or skills mismatch in Canada.”

The market analysis says Canada’s workforce still hasn’t recovered from the 2008 recession. Wages also remain low indicating employers are not pressured to entice workers with higher wages as would be expected if there were not enough job seekers to fill openings. As of February 2014 there were 2.8 unemployed job seekers for every one opening in Canada. The report also adds the increase in Temporary Foreign Workers accounted for 25 per cent of the increased employment which may account for downward pressure on wages.

The PBO is appointed by the prime minister to provide Parliament with independent analysis of Canada’s finances and economy.