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Nov 30, 2023

Labour shortage top concern for small business

Small businesses in Canada missed over $38 billion in revenue opportunities last year because they had to turn down or postpone contracts or sales due to labour shortages, says a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

Small businesses in the construction sector faced the most significant loss of business opportunities, at over $9.6 billion in the last year. 

A single policy change will not address these labour shortage pressures, but a collection of them might provide some relief, says the report. In a whitepaper on how to address various barriers to work, CFIB says governments could increase the prevalence of work-integrated learning in high schools for youth. For the core-age group, employment insurance program design shouldn't create disincentives to work, and governments need to facilitate labour mobility across provinces. As for experienced workers, governments should revisit existing tax policy and/or create a tax credit for career extension. 

"As Canada's population is aging, we need to ensure that those who are willing to work can do so without significant challenges. In the long run, the shortages will get worse, as will their costs, unless we change our labour market approach," says Christina Santini, director of national affairs at CFIB. "We urge governments to find innovative ways to increase participation in the labour market among all age groups." 

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