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Labour shortage will last 5 years, says B.C. business professor


Canada’s aging population combined with the number of people who are retiring mean the country is facing a long road to recovering its workforce.

“This is going to last at least five years,” said University of Victoria professor Dr. Mark Colgate. “The research is very clear, it’s going to take five years for more and more people to come back into the market to compensate for the aging population who are retiring.”

He said the labour shortage began before the pandemic, but COVID-19 just made it “much, much worse.”

Many workers who lost, or left their jobs, have decided they didn’t like the work in the first place, and are looking for something else.

Others who were able to save money during the pandemic are in no rush to find new employment. Some people simply chose to retire.

Then there’s the federal government’s decision to slow immigration during the pandemic.

“Every developed country relies on immigrants to fill positions,” said Colgate. “When you get a labour shortage, you need immigrants to fill that gap. Immigration can’t happen overnight.”

Businesses also need time to train new hires, but are having a hard time keeping them.

New employees are quitting before training is complete, because they’ve managed to find a something better. Top Stories

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