If you want work, there’s plenty of jobs available.
North Bay and area residents don’t have to go too far to find employment.
Between job ads, billboards, the provincial job bank and posters from businesses seeking staff, there is no shortage of opportunities right now.
Some of the local employers currently hiring include the Near North District School Board, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Nipissing University and Canadore College, Canor Construction, Rainbow Concrete Industries Ltd., Twiggs Coffee Co. Inc., Blanchfield Roofing Co. Ltd., Bay Truck Stop, Burger World, Columbia Forest Products, Boart Longyear, North Bay Regional Health Centre, as well as several restaurants and hotel chains.
Jordie Leggett, director of operations at Yes Employment Services, said there are currently 326 job postings in the North Bay area.
He said these numbers are quite high. “Normally, we are seeing 200 job postings at this time of year.”
“What employers are telling us is that they’re having a hard time filling positions,” Leggett said, adding the shortage isn’t just impacting one particular industry or just minimum wage jobs.
Leggett said currently, Yes has 526 job seekers, which also is low.
He said two years ago at this time, there were 750 job seekers.
“There are fewer job seekers coming through our doors, but there are more job openings.”
Leggett said there are a few reasons why there are more jobs than people.
He said not everyone is willing to take any job. As well, benefits offered by the provincial and federal governments during the pandemic have kept people home.
Leggett said a local owner of Tim Hortons recently reached out to Yes because he couldn’t find anyone.
He said Yes Employment Services was able to help fill five spots in two days.
“We can help find employers find people,” Leggett said, although he acknowledged it has been a challenge.
Jamie Lowery, chief executive officer for Cassellholme Home for the Aged, said long-term care is always short on personal support workers.
“However, the largest challenge is finding registered nurses. We recently added a signing bonus of $3,000 and had one application,” he said Wednesday.
“We are hearing that some organizations (in the south) are using $10,000 as a signing bonus. Our biggest competitor is the North Bay Regional (Health Centre) and often the perception is that nurses in LTC (long-term care) are not ‘real nurses,’ when in fact what they deal with here is the full continuum of practice, and we rely on them for their clinical insights, judgement and ability to lead.”
Lowery said other services such as dietary, or culinary, are often in short supply and are difficult jobs to do.
Rebecca McGlynn, spokeswoman for Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, said motor coach operators are needed.
“We also had difficulty this spring finding painters to work in our remanufacturing and repair centre. We are continually seeking qualified tradespeople such as electricians, diesel mechanics and railway car technicians to work throughout our service territory.”
Labour Minister Monte McNaughton stated in a London Free Press article last week that there are more than 250,000 jobs in Ontario going unfilled.
“Labour shortages are creating challenges for businesses. Each unfilled job is a paycheque ready to be collected by someone with the right skills,” he said.
Ontario is spending $5.8 million to offer online training for up to 100,000 workers who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
McNaughton said the courses will focus on helping job seekers develop skills for jobs in demand in Ontario.
“We want people to quickly access the training they need to qualify for these good, in-demand jobs to get people back on their feet,” McNaughton said.
Leggett said there is a huge skills gap in the province and North Bay is not immune to the problems this has caused.
He said the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is working hard to address this issue.
“They’ve revamped the apprenticeship program, as well, shortened courses like the personal support worker program and machine operator.”
Leggett said second career funding also has helped people who have been laid off.
He said there have been many fast-track options due to COVID-19, with fewer steps to get through those programs.