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Canadian steel industry completes human resource sector study
September 7, 2005
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Toronto -- A recently completed human resource study of the Broader Canadian Steel Industry that analysed the competitive realities of the
industry identified a number of critical issues facing the industry, particularly in the areas of recruitment, workplace flexibility, and training
(including apprenticeship). 

The steel industry, working with governments, must develop and put in place a Workforce Development Plan for the industry as a whole, including primary steelmakers, steel products fabricators, and metal service centres to address the training needs of its workforce, and in particular take steps today to deal with a wave of retirements which will soon engulf the industry.

That's the key recommendation of the human resource study released today by Richard Leblanc, CEO of Mittal Canada Inc. and Management Co-Chair of the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress (CSTEC) and Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada for the United Steelworkers and Union Co-Chair of CSTEC. 

This one-year study, funded in part by the Government of Canada, consisted of a comprehensive program of data gathering and analysis, confirmed the critical importance of a highly skilled workforce for a vibrant and profitable steel industry. The steel industry, employers working together with labour, has committed to implementing the recommendations of this study.

One of the key findings of the study is that 55 per cent of the workforce is over 45 years of age, which indicates that the industry will face a
significant recruiting challenge in the near future. This demographic, added to the competitive challenges posed by imports to Canada from large foreign producers, can only further contribute to the industry's uncertain future over the next five years.

The loss of retiring workers increases the risks that they will take their knowledge and experience with them. The industry must ensure that
approaches are in place to systematically capture and retain this workplace knowledge. The research also identified a need for, and an opportunity to develop, a stronger training culture throughout the industry. 

The Co-Chairs of CSTEC, Richard Leblanc and Ken Neumann, after reviewing the key findings and recommendations of the study concluded that the industry cannot do it alone without targeted government support for training and human resources. They intend to initiate discussions with high-level government officials to ensure that they fully appreciate the importance of a strong steel industry to all Canadians and explore with them the facilitation and support role the industry expects them to play on a range of public policy issues, including workplace training.

The Canadian Steel Industry continues to be one of the most significant drivers of the Canadian economy as a large employer and through direct investment and taxes. Canada is the 14th largest steel producer in the world accounting for about $11 billion in sales annually, $9 billion in the purchase of goods and services from over 10,000 suppliers. The broader steel industry employs about 57,000 people with another 115,000 additional jobs in secondary industries.

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