Are the skills employers need available in Canada?

When trying to find matches for workers and employers, it is unclear whether Canadians have the right skills for the jobs, or whether we need to bring in that skilled labour from outside the country. In a study by Toronto Dominion Bank (Burleton, Gulati, McDonald & Scarfone, 2013) it is suggested that we do in fact have the skills we need right here, the problem is that the jobs and the people with the skills may be mismatched. In other words, those people with the right skills may not be near the jobs that they were trained for. Certain sectors are experiencing rapid growth, such as resources and health care while others are on the decline, such as manufacturing (Burleton et al., 2013). All in all, however, the biggest challenge, as outlined within the study by Toronto Dominion Bank is not the shortage of skilled workers, but the mismatch of these skills (Burleton, Gulati, McDonald & Scarfone, 2013)

We do not currently collect information on the skills people have in Canada, but we do know about our labour force and the skills employers are looking for. Recent attempts in the United States have tried to measure just this: what skills do people have? These studies have been done at the local level and are called skillshed studies. This project being conducted now in Canada is about replicating some of that work, and seeing if this kind of study would help people here, which is exactly what the Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) is looking to do.


Burleton, D., Gulati, S., McDonald, C., & Scarfone, S. (2013). Jobs in Canada: Where, what and for whom? Toronto, ON: TD Economics. Retrieved from