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The Past Present and future of the Canadian Labour Force During the past decade three key factors have shaped the nations workforce the demand for skills in the face of advancing technologies and the knowledge based economy a working-age population that is increasingly made up of older people and a growing reliance on immigration as a source of skills and labour force growth The demand for skills has been clearly evident in new data from the 2001 Census Between 1991 and 2001 the number of people in the labour force increased by 13 million Almost one-half of this growth occurred in highly skilled occupations that normally require university qualifications while low skilled occupations requires high school or less accounted for only a quarter of the increase In the future the requirements of education for jobs will keep increasing At the same time the workforce has become much greyer The average age of the labour force rose from 371 years in 1991 to 390 years in 2001 By the end of the decade 15 of the labour force was within 10 years of retirement age By 2011 when almost one fifth of the baby-boom generation will be at least 61 years of age the potential exists for shortages in certain occupations In addition rates of fertility have remained at low levels for the past 30 years As a result fewer young people are entering the working-age population to replace individuals in the age group nearing retirement In 2001 there were 27 20 to 34 in the labour force for every participant aged 55 and over down from a ratio of 37 in 1981 Canada has increasingly turned to immigration as a source of skills and knowledge Census data show that immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1990s and who were in the labour force in 2001 represented almost 70 of the total growth of the labour force over the decade If current immigration rates continue
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