Earlier this year, Canada’s Chamber of Commerce called the country’s labor shortage “desperate.”
“A growing shortage of highly skilled labour is becoming desperate, threatening our ability to keep up in a global, knowledge-based economy,” the Chamber stated in a February 8 report.
Locally, Riverside County has high unemployment.
As a result, Tuesday the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted in support of a program to assist unemployed construction and trades workers in Riverside County with finding jobs in Canada.
Board Chairman John Tavaglione submitted the "Job Partnership Act Canada," or JPAC, which calls for bilateral agreements between the county and the Canada California and Canada Nevada business councils for the purpose of identifying opportunities for displaced local workers to get hired for projects up north.
According to a county Office of Foreign Trade statement, Canada is plagued with "massive construction trades job shortages."
"JPAC will feature opportunities for unionized and non-unionized workers alike who are interested in working in Canada on numerous legacy construction projects in various provinces," according to the statement.
The plan for a job relocation program was hatched earlier this year following a meeting between representatives from the California Canada Business Council and county officials, including Tavaglione and Supervisor John Benoit.
On Feb. 11, the CCBC, a lobby representing business interests on both sides of the border, and the county entered into a trade pact intended to spur regional tourism and investments.
The cities of Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev., will be signatories to the JPAC compact. According to Tavaglione's office, construction workers in the Silver State have suffered job losses similar to those in the Inland Empire.
"It was decided the two regions could cooperate, rather than compete, in assisting our trades men find work in Canada," according to the JPAC proposal.
Job fairs will be organized in the coming months to inform workers about prospects in Canada and how to go about obtaining credentials to work there, county officials said. --City News Service and Toni McAllister contributed to this report.