THE UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM IN CANADA
AND THE NEED
FOR IMPROVED INFORMATION
SYSTEMS FOR HUMAN
RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN
Author: Robert T. Chisholm B.Sc.Hons.(Eng.), Visual
Ottawa, May 2003
correction made Oct 17 2003
correction made Oct 17 2003
The true number of full-time jobs needed in
Canada has therefore been known to very few people; as a result, the potential
contribution to the tax base by over 4 million real-term unemployed people
has gone almost un-noticed, with a similar number un-noticed probably for several decades. This also indicates the
need for improved information systems in Canada to estimate and monitor the
loss in tax revenue resulting from the number of persons unemployed in real
terms, and to better monitor additional tax revenues accruing to government
relative to investments in people, in the form of both provincial and federal
social benefits (passive income support and re-training subsidies).
The implications of this for Canada are
examined. In particular, the funding situation for essential government
services such as health care, education, national defence and essential
security services must be expected to become much worse than now, on account of the retirement of the “baby boom”
generation, unless drastic corrective action is initiated without delay. The
situation is already considered to be unacceptable.
Some aspects of work place social behaviour,
based on tradition, are discussed, with particular reference to age-based discrimination,
immigrants and turning away of job applicants based on “ lack of experience”.
The author concludes that the root cause is the lack of jobs available relative
to the numbers applying; further, this has been a constant problem for decades
even during so-called economic “boom”
periods. Continuation of this situation is considered by the author not to be
The question of how the necessary number of new
full-time jobs will be created is briefly discussed. Some revisions to
government tax policies, among other things, will be necessary. However
everybody has a part to play. About 3 new full time jobs are needed for every
10 which currently exist.
Apart from social concerns, the main
consideration is the crippling shortage of tax revenues available to pay for
essential government services which will occur, without drastic corrective
action. The author concludes that a major public relations challenge must be
met, in order to draw everybody’s attention to the true size and character of the
problem and some of the possible solutions; this will be necessary to create
the political climate required prior to commencing the actual work. Further,
changes in the organisations for designing and delivering social programs will
be necessary, at all three levels of government.
Finally, the author concludes that there is an
inescapable business case for dealing with the problem properly; further, as
part of the solution, improved information systems will be an absolute necessity.
Pilot projects should be undertaken in Ottawa, to begin with; these must be
accompanied by certain changes to both federal and provincial government
` During the past week, the author learned of a Statistics Canada report concerning unemployment in the High Tech sector of the economy, in particular the following :-
In Ottawa, where the author lives, this is of particular
concern on account of ca. 20,000 layoffs since March 2001 (most of these from
Nortel and JDS Uniphase). The report contains data specific to Ottawa. The
report ‘s approach measures the drop in numbers « Employed » in these
two sectors, thus it seems to correctly state the true size of the problem in
From this we may infer that at least one federal government department - Statistics Canada – knows all about what is happening.
Reference : « High Tech Boom and Bust », by
Geoff Bowlby and Stéphanie Langlois.
Statistics Canada - Catalogue no. 75-001-XPE Summer 2002 PERSPECTIVES
However it is
questionable at present whether other federal government departments, the provincial
government, the business community or the general public are paying attention
to the information and acting on it.