Trail Times Wednesday, May 7, 2014 www.trailtimes.ca A5
Survey on job vacancies vague: auditor
Toll lanes proposed
THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY - A Calgary-based think-tank is touting the idea of setting up toll lanes to help generate revenue and reduce the loss of productivity due to excessive travel times. Bob Brunnen from the Manning Centre for Democratic Education says there are three major thoroughfares in Calgary that could easily be changed to include toll lanes as part of a pilot project. He says they would generate up to $76 milBriefs lion annually which could be funnelled back into road repair and construction. Brunnen says the length of a daily commute would be reduced by 29 per cent for those who decide to opt into the plan. He says the cost to a driver would be roughly $5 per day.
Two die in mine accident
THE CANADIAN PRESS SUDBURY, Ont. - Two men have died in an accident at a mine in northern Ontario. First Nickel Inc. said the two drillers - contractors working for Taurus Drilling Services - were underground Tuesday at the Lockerby Mine near Sudbury, Ont., when the incident occurred. First Nickel said in a statement that “a fall of ground, preceded by (seismic) activity” is believed to have been a factor in the accident. Ministry of Labour spokesman Bruce Skeaff confirmed the deaths and said the ministry was investigating but had no further details. George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer for the ministry, said he was “shocked and saddened,” and called the deaths “unacceptable.”
tion of job vacancies within a province. “For example, reported job vacancies in Alberta could be in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, or any other community in the province,” says the report. Industry classifications in the survey are broad, noted Ferguson, and don’t provide much indication of the particular jobs that need to be filled. “We have identified that users have been asking for more information about employment data at more local levels,” Ferguson said. “Really what we have said is Statistics Canada needs to do a better job of understanding those types of needs and figur-
ing out whether there are ways that it can address those needs, because it’s certainly the thing that its users are demanding.” Federal and provincial ministers agreed on the need for more data on job vacancies in 2009 and the statistics agency added questions to the survey to address that in 2011. Other tools in the government’s statistics toolkit have fallen short. An employment insurance, monitoring and assessment report, conducted by Employment and Social Development Canada, has been ridiculed for including data from online classified service Kijiji to establish labour needs. That practice has since been stopped.
Another StatsCan survey commissioned by the department, which included input from 25,000 employers on their workplace demographics and skills requirements, never got past the data-collection phase because funding ran out. Ferguson’s report recommends Statistics Canada determine whether it should keep certain surveys alive even after a department or organization stops providing funding. Meanwhile, the statistical agency is grappling with a $29.3-million funding cut over the last two years. Liberal finance critic Scott Brison said the auditor general’s findings are part of a Conservative attitude toward data and scien-
tific evidence. “The Conservatives have used bad data to defend expanding the temporary foreign workers program at the cost of Canadians’ jobs,” said Brison. Statistics Canada withheld information on a quarter of Canadian communities, or three per cent of the population, because of the low quality of the data in the smaller areas. The biggest area had almost 10,000 residents, the region around Lake Simcoe in Ontario. The report said Statistics Canada needs to consider how it can better serve the needs of those who use information on smaller municipalities, including the towns themselves, non-governmental organizations and private companies.
THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA Employers in hard-hit regions of Canada have been hiring temporary foreign workers despite an abundance of domestic job-seekers, government data indicates, while at least two Conservative MPs have privately sounded alarm bells about the besieged federal program. Temporary foreign workers were the subject of a heated debate Tuesday in the House of Commons, when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused the Conservatives of contributing to joblessness in southwestern Ontario by allowing companies to hire for-
eign help. A recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute, a non-partisan public policy think-tank, suggested the program has also spurred joblessness in Alberta and B.C. “In Windsor, the number of unemployed workers has risen by 40 per cent while the number of foreign workers in the city has grown by 86 per cent,” Trudeau said. “Unemployment in London has risen by 27 per cent while the number of foreign workers has increased by 87 per cent.” Two different letters - one from Conservative MP Kellie Leitch,
now labour minister, and Alberta colleague Blake Richards - that posed even further embarrassments for the government on what’s become one of its most vexatious files. In an April 2012 dispatch to Transport Minister Denis Lebel, Leitch told of an Air Canada pilot in her riding who “expressed concern regarding the hiring of foreign crews and pilots who are driving down the salaries of Canadian pilots as well as contributing to the unemployment of Canadian pilots.” Lebel referred Leitch to other ministries. Richards, meantime, wrote to Diane
Finley in late 2009, raising similar concerns about CanJet’s hiring practices. Finley was then the minister of human resources and skills development. Questioned about the letters dur-
ing question period, Kenney thanked his Conservative colleagues for the information and suggested the government had cracked down on the use of temporary foreign workers in the aviation sector.
Tory MPs raised concerns about TFW program
Guilty of distracted driving
THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG - A man who was talking on his cellphone when he hit and injured two pedestrians in Winnipeg has been convicted of dangerous driving. Phone records and witness accounts were enough to persuade a judge to find Mahmud Ali guilty on two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Court heard Ali was on the phone and went through a red light. As a result, his van was hit, collided with a curb and rolled - hitting two people and injuring them. One pedestrian was badly hurt and was sent to hospital with a collapsed lung and five broken ribs.
THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA, Ont. The country’s top survey on job vacancies is too vague and doesn’t provide much value to governments and other users, the auditor general said Tuesday. Michael Ferguson’s latest report comes as the Conservative government faces scrutiny on alleged abuses of the temporary foreign workers program, which is meant to address labour shortages in certain sectors. Other surveys used by Ottawa to take stock of employment trends have also been criticized as inaccurate or incomplete. Ferguson said Statistics Canada’s survey of employment, payrolls and hours doesn’t provide specifics on the precise loca-
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Published on May 7, 2014