Evidence Workers and Social Programs Create Immense Value

Evidence that Workers and Social Programs Create Immense Value

The annual labour survey of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) recently released shows a shortage of workers is harming the Canadian economy. In the last year alone, CME says these shortages have resulted in economic losses totalling nearly $13 billion, a figure calculated from the responses of 563 manufacturers from across 17 industries in Canada.

According the report the ongoing challenge of labour and skills shortages continues to be exacerbated by the fallout from the pandemic. For the second consecutive year, more than 80 per cent of manufacturers reported facing labour and skills shortages, up sharply from 60 per cent in 2020 and 39 per cent in 2016. Shortages are most acute in production-related jobs, and manufacturers continue to have trouble finding enough highly skilled workers to fill skilled trade occupations and other workers to fill general labour and assembly positions. Eight-in-ten manufacturers say labour shortages in related sectors, like transportation and logistics, are also negatively affecting their business.

The admission that a shortage of workers and the skills they bring to production results in economic losses contradicts the regular accusation that employed labour does not add value and is not the source of profit but is a regrettable cost of production.

The CME specifically bemoans a lack of skilled workers costing the economy billions of dollars. The issue of a skills shortage resulting in billions of dollars of lost production and value explodes another myth – that education represents a cost to the economy and society. Education and other social programs contribute immense value to the economy and society. In fact, the enterprises that employ skilled workers are irresponsible for not investing directly in the country’s human and material education and health care resources and paying for the value they receive in educated healthy workers. Therein lies a big problem.

Right before our eyes we see the government of Ontario using police powers to attack teachers and education workers and refuse to negotiate and come to an agreement that meets the demands of those who produce educated and skilled workers.

Private enterprises should properly directly realize (pay for) the education value they consume in their operations and not expect this to be done through taxation. Money should flow directly from enterprises into the educational system for the value they consume just as they must pay for all other consumed inputs. This would permit investments in education.

According to the CME data, over the past year, 62 per cent of manufacturers have lost or turned down contracts and faced production delays due to a lack of workers, resulting in $7.2 billion in lost sales and penalties for late delivery. At the same time, 43 per cent of companies have postponed or cancelled development projects because of labour shortages, corresponding to $5.4 billion of lost investment.

“Our survey confirmed what we’ve been hearing from manufacturers on the ground for a long time. Labour and skills shortages are a chronic and persistent issue for manufacturers, and they continue to limit the growth prospects of the sector. If we don’t find the workers we need, Canada’s economy will suffer,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.

Instead of identifying the unwillingness of large companies to realize education value and pay it CME chief economist Alan Arcand accused young Canadians of having “a lack of interest in manufacturing jobs.” This shows how the youth are blamed for problems of the economy instead of governments refusal to realize the value produced by education and require private enterprises pay for the educated personal they receive so that the education system and other social programs can be broadened and improved in a manner that provides the youth with a bright future.