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OPINION: We have to deal with this properly.

National Post, May 30th 2002 front page headline: Harper calls Canada a nation of defeatists, defends remark about easterners.


Arguments based on saying what ….can’t be done because of the legislation…., or some such, in response to requests to deal with a problem, are false. Further, they serve merely to progagate defeatism of the type that the Prime Minister disapproves of. If there is a problem then you FIX IT.







2010/09-1 2010 Engineers Canada Labour Market Conditions Report  CLICK HERE

Since release of the Engineering and Technology Labour Market Study – Final Report  - April 30, 2009, referred to under item 2009/11-1 below, it has been recognised that there is a need for ongoing monitoring and forecasting and in fact this latest report attempts to do some forecasting up to the year 2018.



2010/07-1 Ottawa Citizen article  July 31st 2010., On the outside track. Discusses federal government work and Ottawa firm Coradix Technology Consulting. Quote:-

At any given moment, Coradix has 250 consultants on the job -- about 90 per cent of whom are independent contractors. The consultants are managed by nearly 30 office staff, who market Coradix to various federal departments and agencies, and who try to keep fresh the firm's bank of 20,000 résumés.

-   unquote. One question out of many that could be asked is:-


If  Coradix has 250 consultants actually working at any given time, WHAT ARE THE OTHER 19,750 PEOPLE IN THEIR RESUME BANK DOING?


Full article and more questions: CLICK HERE



2009/11-1 Engineering and Technology Labour Market Study – Final Report  - April 30, 2009.  This was in preparation for two years and was prompted by the problems noted under item 2008/06-1 below.




2009/11-2 Analysis and comments on Engineering and Technology Labour Market Study – Final Report . By: Robert T. Chisholm

I found that the report omitted any consideration of certain rare but important reports, all downloadable from this site. It appears that nobody thought to mention these reports in time to anybody connected with the Engineering and Technology labour Market Study .  As a result, among other things, there was no mention in it of the simple but fundamental question of lack of jobs relative to the numbers of people applying for every job opening available; I have seen figures of between 70 and 5,000 quoted, all these are documented to some extent.




2009/11-3. Mis-reporting concerning people out of work – misleading numbers and pejorative / un-qualified mis-labelling of the people affected.
Several newspaper reports from 2004 onwards up to mid-2009, beginning with:-
Older workers more secure, but harder to re-employ

Long-term unemployment down from early '90s high, Statistics Canada says

 - article in The Ottawa Citizen by Eric Beauchesne, April 22, 2004.  This concerns a Stats Can analysis suggesting that 
… after a year or more of being out of work, some may give up looking for jobs and drop out of the labour force. 
This in turn labels the people affected as defeatists or dropouts, with no research results to support any such description.
2009/11-4. OTTAWA’S HIGH TECH WORKFORCE: JOBS AND RETRAINING November 15, 2009 By: Robert T. Chisholm
This considers the conditions necessary to success in job hunting. It also examines some retraining programs from the standpoint of positive attributes, deficiencies and 
the remedies for the said deficiencies. The emphasis is on jobs in engineering and technology.



2008/06-1 Ongoing problem  since about 1992: massive over-supply of professional engineers in Ontario, relative to demand,  reported by Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (O.S.P.E.). Cause of resulting lack of employment opportunities is attributed to mis-guided immigration policies which do not limit the intake based on actual demand from employers.


The key point was THIS: an estimated cumulative over-supply, between 1990 and 2002, of 85,000 engineers in Canada – CAUSED BY THIS POLICY AND OTHER FACTORS.   CLICK HERE

This and other things prompted the research and preparation of the report released on April 30th 2009, noted under item 2009/11-1 above.



2008/04-1. Title: Skilled IT Worker Shortage a Major Concern  April 04, 2008 article by Tess van Straaten in the periodical, Business Edge. Analysis of  both the article and all the source documents reveals a continuing total or near-total lack of awareness of any of the issues referred to elsewhere on this page, from 1998 up to December 2007. Based on this analysis, ubiquitous assumptions are being made, to the effect that the issues do not exist at all. The major conclusion is that widespread skill shortages are being reported by many sources -  but, at the same time, there are no admissions at all concerning the numbers out of work plus no admissions at all concerning the necessity for re-training to enable the people affected to become taxpayers again. The overall assumption has been made that the said skill shortgage must be met through more immigration and more new graduates from colleges and universities in Canada. There is an admission only now  - in 2008 - concerning the need to re-skill an existing workforce, but no such admission anywhere concerning people out of work (with the underlying incorrect assumption that they do not even exist).


The analysis was done based on keyword searches.

Skilled IT Worker Shortage a Major Concernarticle plus analysis - CLICK HERE

Source documents, plus analysis - CLICK HERE



2007/12-1. December 2007 Powerpoint presentation to Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities explaining why it was wrong to cut off funding to the Ottawa Talent Initiative which was helping out-of work high tech people in Ottawa get back to work. Faulty arithmetic and other types of wrong analysis of the situation are shown to be the cause of the problem. In particular, it is shown that wrong and grossly over-optimistic impressions of the numbers re-hired, out of those laid off, led to this incorrect decision to stop the funding

ERRATUM  - slide 17 of 22 – re. “…277,756 job applications

…” - should read “…27,559 job applications

…” TYPO! But it doesn’t alter the argument. The figure “40 years” is still correct. Apologies for any confusion caused! Apr 10 2014




2007/07-1. Title: Life After the High-tech Downturn: Permanent Layoffs and Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers - July 20th 2007 Statistics Canada report.. This report was released 3 days after a meeting in Kanata at which Ottawa Talent Initiative clients were explicitly told by Ontario s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that funding for the Ottawa Talent Initiative Action Centre in Kanata was to be stopped. The report attempts to establish the numbers re-hired out of those laid off; as such, it was the first report from any level of government which employed the correct principles of counting – based on sets and Venn diagrams – to establish what was really happening, 6 years after the well-publicized troubles started in late 2000 / early 2001.




2007/03-1 Stats man strives to never be ‘boring’ March 2007 article about then-retiring Dr. Ivan Fellegi who was Chief Statistician for Statistics Canada. This mentions how Statistics Canada get their specifications for information needed either from other government departments or from industry; there is no mention of any means of feedback from organized labour or the general public with respect to methods for measuring and reporting on unemployment and under-employment (which is basic to satisfactory knowledge of the overall performance of the economy)




2006/11-1. Title: Better Counting: How Many Out-of Work Techies in Ottawa Still Want Work? Nov.24, 2006.  By: Robert T. Chisholm

Incomplete statistics and faulty arithmetic as causes of confusion, controversy, anger and under-statements concerning the size of Ottawa’s high tech unemployment problem since 2001. Some consequences of over-looking basic principles of counting and the theory of sets and Venn diagrams, known to Ontario high school leavers, are examined.  




2006/07-2  Ottawa Technology Industry Guide Summer/Fall 2006, published by the Ottawa Business Journal.

Special Report: Is there, or is there not a skills shortage?  Time for an Upgrade… article,  by Jeff Pappone. This features:-  Gary Davis, Executive Director of the Ottawa Talent Initiative; O.C.R.I. President Jeffrey Dale; unemployed technology worker Robert Chisholm; Procom V.P. of  Business Development Keith Carter and others. Picture of  Robert Chisholm holding up a Venn diagram to illustrate how mis-counting of the people affected and re-hired following layoff was happening.




2006/07-1. Title: Behind the Numbers, July 13 2006.  Article in The Ottawa Citizen by Andrew Mayeda and James Bagnall. This concerns the employment numbers reported in the media since mid-1999, up to mid-2006,  for Ottawa s high tech sector. Both the Stats Can and OCRI numbers are shown, graphically. This article explains why the OCRI numbers, in particular, do not in any way represent the numbers of people re-hired following layoffs. However this article does not explicitly state the correct mathematical approach which must be used (even though it is instinctively obvious !!)




2006/06-1 June 12, 2006. Business at Night radio interview with Paul Swinwood, President of  the Software Human Resources Council (since re-named the Information and Communications Technology Council, with an expanded mandate and with Paul Swinwood as its President.) The interview was with CFRA 580 Radio in Ottawa. It attempts to portray the Ottawa high tech employment as booming, or some such - when this was actually not the case, because the interview ignored the numbers of people out of work.




2006/03-2  Realistic overall  view of  true dimensions of unemployment and under-employment in Canada based on  (a) Labour Force Survey of Feb 10, 2006, (b) the Ottawa s Hidden Workforce report of Fall 1998 (item 1998/10-01 on this list) , (c) the Work Hours Instability in Canada report of March 2006, (d) Work and Labour in Canada - Critical Issues , May 2005, author Andrew Jackson who is Chief Economist of the Canadian Labour Congress




2006/03-1 March 2006: Statistics Canada report, Work Hours Instability in Canada. Results of 5-year survey which found, among other things, that only one third of employed Canadians aged between 25 and 54 has “standard full-time work”, considered to be between 34 and 46 hours per week.




2006/02-2  Ottawa Business Journal article by Robert T. Chisholm, published Feb 13 2006, Tech employment: are we counting the people properly?

Please click BACK in your web brower after viewing it, the link given below is to the Ottawa Business Journal’s web site.



(To see a saved copy of this same article: CLICK HERE             Please click BACK in your web brower after viewing.)





2006/02-1 Typical Labour Force Survey  from Statistics Canada, issued monthly. This example is for February 10, 2006. In particular, note the absence of any breakdown of the group of people classed as Not in the Labour Force - when the Ottawa s Hidden Workforce report of Fall 1998 (item 1998/10-01 on this list) indicates that this is where most people unemployed in real terms are hidden from view. Please click BACK in your web brower after viewing it.




2005/06-1. Title: Steering on Black Ice: The Continuing Search for Sustainable Livelihoods in the Ottawa Tech Sector, by Carleton University, June 02 2005. Authors: Edward T. Jackson and Rahil Khan. Among other things, this report points out the contradictions between the OCRI and Stats Can numbers, and the continual (if accidental) reference to the OCRI numbers to produce over-optimistic impressions of the numbers of people re-hired following layoff(s)




2005/06-1 Title: Mathematics of Job Hunting, Re-Training and Tax Revenue Production, June 15 2005. By Robert T. Chisholm. This examines the job-hunting problem from using a probability and statistics–based approach. The essential un-solvability of the resulting personal financial management problem is analyzed.  Among others, the influence of the who you know factor is examined and how this works, mathematically, against people out of work for a long time. The negative implications for the tax base of ignoring the problem are considered.       




2004/04-1. Title: Older workers more secure, but harder to re-employ  ( See also item above,  2009/11-3. Mis-reporting concerning people out of work….)

Long-term unemployment down from early '90s high, Statistics Canada says

Article in The Ottawa Citizen by Eric Beauchesne, April 22, 2004.  This concerns a Stats Can analysis suggesting that 
… after a year or more of being out of work, some may give up looking for jobs and drop out of the labour force. 
This in turn labels the people affected as defeatists or dropouts, with no research results to support any such description.




2002/09-1. Title: High-tech boom and bust  by Geoff Bowlby and Stéphanie Langlois.  Statistics Canada - Catalogue no. 75-001-XPE Summer 2002 PERSPECTIVES.

Early indication of the size of the problem which began in late 2000 / early 2001. However it considers only the changes in total numbers employed and does not discuss the question of tracking what happens to individuals following layoff.  




2002/04-1 Community Forum on Ottawa s high tech industry, April 18 2002

This was organized by then-federal M.P. and Minister of National Defence David Pratt; the main guest speaker was then-federal minister for Industry Allan Rock.




I attended this forum. Almost all the people who attended were local high tech business leaders, including (among others) Alan Chowaniec of Tundra Semiconductor Corporation. All raised concerns about tax rates and other issues limiting their ability to expand operations.


My own written presentation, referred to below, was intended to draw attention to the numbers of jobs needed so as to enable government to optimize revenues for the tax base (which equates to, the numbers of people without work and wanting it).




I left a hardcopy version at the forum, with someone who was collecting all the written submissions. Later, I sent the electronic one (MS Word) to David Pratt s office when he asked for it. My verbal presentation to the audience was a shortened version of the above, lasting a little under 2 minutes. I have two witnesses to it, from Ottawa consulting firm Brain Storm Associates. When I met Adam Chowaniec -  President and C.E.O. of Tundra Semiconductor Corporation – at the 2005 Ottawa Talent Forum, he told me that he too remembered it, but had never seen a copy of the Final Report on this Forum.


I only got a copy of the Final Report on this Forum in November 2003 – 19 months after the event - through the Ottawahitech online discussion group, a month after I posted a reference to it to that group. Then I found this Final Report report was dated December 2002.  Between April 2002 and October 2003 when I joined the Ottawahitech group, I was never able to find out from David Pratt’s office when this final Report was supposed to be  released. Then when I saw it, I found there was NO REFERENCE AT ALL  to my warning about the true size of the unemployment problem; clearly, it had been ignored.




2000/10-01 Title: Choosing a Future: A New Economic Vision for Ottawa , by ICF Consulting, Fall 2000. This mentions Ottawa s Hidden Workforce and a true unemployment rate of as much as 30%  




1998/10-01. Title: Ottawa s Hidden Workforce, Fall 1998. By: Ottawa Economic Development Corporation (since absorbed into OCRI, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation) 145,000 jobs actually needed to solve the problem in a community having a total population of 771,900, an official labour force of 442,500 and only 38,800 official unemployed equating to an official average unemployment rate of 8.8% for 1997.




1994/03-1 Federal government : Standing Committee on Human Resources Development.  March 9, 1994, presentation to the Committee by Robert T. Chisholm