Diminishing skilled labour in Canada’s automotive sector due to its aging workforce has become an increasingly urgent issue. The talent pool of employable young Canadians is shrinking and automotive vacancies are not being filled by new talent. With growing demand for skilled labour and a need to attract young talent, the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA)has introduced the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Fund to combat this skills shortage.
“A skills shortage is when you advertise a position, you have a lot of applicants, but then you deem that none of those applicants have the skills to really perform the tasks you have in mind.”
– Steven Tobin, Executive Director of the Labour Market Information Council
The EDI Fund aims to liaison more young Canadians, from many walks of life, into the automotive sector. The APMA believes that providing up to 800 young, diverse, participants the opportunity to gain skills training and knowledge through a placement or employment will have a positive impact on Canada’s struggling automotive labour market.
What Labour Difficulties Do the Automotive Sector Face?
Key challenges in the automotive industry stem from the aging population which currently represents a large portion of Canada’s skilled labour.
“As Canada’s population continues to age, seniors will represent an increasingly large share of the population, and the share of the population of working age will consequently decline. The result is that labour force participation is widely expected to decline, which will have effects on economic growth and thus the ability of governments to collect revenues.”
-Fraser Institute; Taylor Jackson, Jason Clemens, and Milagros Palacios
As more Canadians start to retire and the working generations shift, Canada’s automotive industry, like many other industries, will have to turn to younger cohorts of employees. However, there are currently many barriers to entry for young and diverse Canadians who are considering a career in the automotive industry. These barriers, primarily education and skills training, have proven to be major deterrents for young Canadians, especially women.
In 2019, the Future of Canadian Automotive Labourforce found in their diversity report that young women in Canada, aged 15-24, only make up 6% of employed workers in assembly positions and 7% of employed workers in parts manufacturing within the automotive sector. As a result, the APMA is eager to remedy this concern.
“The response and the enthusiasm around the APMA’s EDI program is taking traction and reverberating across communities. This program will provide employment access to the automotive manufacturing sector. This project will target and benefit ethnic minority communities in Southern Ontario, such as youth, specifically those in marginalized communities, women, new Canadians, Indigenous communities and other visible minorities and their intersections.”
-Devon Jones, Director, EDI Fund
Funding through the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA) will provide up to 800 participants with skill development and employment opportunities by supporting employers and community partners’ with up to $8,000 in funding for employing youth hires.
“Including young people for different walks of life. Women, people with disabilities and Indigenous People who can kick start their careers in auto parts manufacturing,”
-Ontario Labour Minister, Monte McNaughton
The EDI Fund will provide for people from several demographics and give participants an idea of what it is like to work in the automotive sector.
Requirements for Employer and Community Partners
To qualify as a successful employer and community partner for the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Fund, partners must meet the following criteria:
- Both employer and community partners must be operating out of Ontario to qualify for this program
- A 6-month placement must be offered by the employer applicants to qualify
- The following skills and personal development opportunities must be met during the placement period:
- An opportunity to learn through experiential training;
- Skills training must be participated in and finished with some form of verification;
- An offer of employment or placement of some sort must be extended to the participant; and
- The development of the participant’s employable skills must be fostered through some sort of personal-growth practices.
Those interested in becoming an employer or community partner should contact the APMA’s Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Parm Dhillon at the following email address: email@example.com.
Requirements for Program Participants
To be able to qualify as a participant for the APMA EDI program, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:
- Applicant is a member of an Indigenous peoples such as:
- Applicant is a person of colour (non-caucasian).
- Applicant has a disability that falls under Section 10(1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC).
- Applicant identifies as a woman.
- Applicant is a youth between the ages of 15-29 years old (applicants younger than 15 may apply as long as they fall under the age guidelines at the start of the placement).
Applications for a placement should be sent to Marina Nguyen, Manager, Community Partnerships at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APMA EDI fund will be running from June 2021 to April 2022. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.
Want to Learn More About Government Funding?
Please, reach out to a Mentor Works representative today to learn more about government funding opportunities. For more information on other funding programs in the automotive industry, visit the automotive funding program directory.
For more general funding programs, visit Mentor Work’s comprehensive government funding list.