A senior federal official says the agency that helps employees find jobs in Canada is facing an “abysmal” staffing shortage
It’s the latest challenge for the federal government, which has promised to hire up to 4,000 full-time employees in the coming years.
It is facing one of the worst staffing shortages in decades.
The Conservatives have promised to boost federal hiring by about 25 per cent, and a spokesperson says that is “well within the Government’s target” for the coming year.
However, in the meantime, some employees say they are struggling to find jobs and feel like their chances are shrinking.
One senior federal employee says he can’t find any qualified applicants.
“It’s been a problem that’s been there for a long time.
I’ve been trying to find people for five years, and there’s just not a single one,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I mean, I think it’s a systemic problem.
It’s a whole bunch of different things going on, but I’ve had some people ask, ‘Are you doing this because you think you’re qualified or because you want to make money?
And I don’t think so.”
The federal government’s response is not the only reason that the shortage has existed for so long.
In recent months, the Conservative government has also been criticized for its handling of the refugee crisis, with reports that it failed to meet a promise to resettle the most vulnerable refugees.
While the Prime Minister has repeatedly said that Canada will take in 100,000 refugees over the next five years as part of a resettlement plan, some members of Parliament have expressed concerns about the government’s plan.
A recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, however, said the government was “well aware” of the staffing problem, and said that the government would “continue to prioritize the needs of refugees.”
“We will continue to prioritize refugees who have been placed in safe, permanent housing,” the report said.
But the problem has continued to get worse, with the number of refugee applicants for jobs at the Office of the Immigration Consultant in October up by nearly 50 per cent over the same month last year.
“There’s just a whole lot of vacancies.
I mean, there are some people that are going out there looking for work right now, but we just don’t have enough people that can do that,” the source said.
“So I think there’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s going to get harder.”
One federal official told CBC News that the backlog of applicants has forced the agency to “turn away people who are qualified.”
“The backlog is just growing,” the official said.
The spokesperson for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCE), which represents Canada’s largest employers, said there has been a “significant” drop in job applications over the past two months.
“The demand for employment has been so high over the last few months, there’s been significant drop-off in applications,” said Paul Valeriote.
“And it’s not just employers who are feeling the pressure.”
Valeriole said that when people are applying for jobs, they’re looking for positions that will be available, but that there is an “underestimating” of what it takes to fill a position.
“If you’re applying for a job, there is this notion that it’s just the best person for the job, but the reality is, if you’re looking to work with a client, it’s the people who you know are qualified, and they’re working with clients that have a lot to offer,” he said.