May 7th, 2014

Conservative cuts to Statscan leave Minister Kenney in the dark

In his Spring Report, the Auditor General confirmed that Conservative budget cuts at Statistics Canada have led the agency to withhold important information on skills gaps due to a lack of funding.

“Minister Kenney has acknowledged that he needs better labour market information to craft appropriate policy” said the NDP’s Employment and Social Development critic Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta). “Yet two years ago, his government commissioned Statscan to do a skills gap survey of 25,000 employers that cost $4.6-million, but it has not been released due to lack of funding.”

Sims sent a letter last week to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, asking him to continue the analysis of this vital information. In her letter, Sims writes: “Statistics Canada has indicated it will make the data available if an individual or organization with funding is willing to carry the study forward. This information may be useful in clarifying what skills gaps and/or labour shortages currently exist in Canada.”

Her request was sent the same week the NDP tabled its Opposition Day Motion calling on the government to ask the Auditor General to conduct an urgent audit of the mismanaged Temporary Foreign Worker Program.