Of Kijiji and babysitters: Piecing together Canada’s job vacancy puzzle
Sam Boshra, The Globe and Mail April 15, 2014
|Disclosure of Contracts Over $10,000: Wanted Technologies Corp.
||Description of work
||0812 COMPUTER SERVICES
||0361 ELECTRONIC SUBSCRIPTIONS
||1143 PRINTED MATTER
Disambiguation: ESDC is the former HRSDC, under which Service Canada falls
The StatsCan and Finance disclosures above were indexed and easily found using their respective department’s website search functions; On the other hand, ESDC’s disclosure was neither indexed nor searchable (discovered following feedback from Finance). Which is to say, it may not be the only such contract – will update if others come up. Why ESDC excludes its contract disclosures from being indexed and searchable is unexplained…
A few readers and friends suggested there was no point following up on this topic, as the government had been thoroughly embarrassed and was unlikely to try that (use an online job ad index as a labour market measure) again. As the ‘technical concerns’ comment from Employment Minister Jason Kenney suggests, that’s not entirely accurate.
What ESDC plans on doing with the data going forward is unclear. A previous post mentioned HRSDC had used the Wanted Analytics data in a couple of earlier reports (see Notes).
ESDC could create an ‘Indicator of Labour Market Tightness’, like the Conference Board of Canada’s. Such a measure could be used in tandem with the unemployment rate to further deny EI claims in areas where unemployment may be high, but where the labour market could be classified as slack based on the overinflated number of online job ads – suggesting the unemployed in such areas were simply refusing to take all the fictitious jobs available.
What StatsCan plans on doing with the data is also unclear. StatsCan produces the EI region unemployment rates ESDC uses to evaluate EI eligibility criteria.
StatsCan also used to run a Help Wanted Index based on jobs ads. As the Globe post notes, back in the 70′s StatsCan dropped its job vacancy survey for the more ‘cost-effective’ HWI – then dropped the HWI in 2003 after it became unreliable with the advent of online job advertising. It could bring back HWI. Or possibly produce that ‘Indicator of Labour Market Tightness’ for ESDC.
Who knows what kind of creative uses a government could come up with for such questionable data. For readers who doubt a federal government would resort to such measures, it’s worth recalling previous Finance Ministers have produced / projected balanced budgets using creatively engineered ‘surplus’ EI funds.
Readers unfamiliar with how far a government would go to deny legitimate EI claims should look up the recent story of Sylvie Therrien, a former Service Canada worker who was fired late last year after a witch-hunt determined she’d leaked docs to the press. The docs in question showed she and of her colleagues, under then Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, were each given a quota to deny/recover half a million dollars in EI claims. It’s worth noting who the HRSDC Deputy Minister and COO for Service Canada was at the time (hint, media).