Ontario New Car and Truck Retailers Facing Critical Skilled Labour Shortage: MNP Report

MARKHAM, August 9, 2023 – The Motor Vehicle Retailers of Ontario (MVRO), with support from the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) have released an Ontario-specific automotive trades labour market report for the first time in their 115-year history. The report was researched and written by MNP LLP (MNP), one of Canada’s leading professional services firms.

“Just about every new car and truck retailer I speak to can’t hire an automotive technician today. We know there is a massive shortage of automotive technicians, and the problem won’t be solved overnight, said Todd Bourgon, Executive Director of the MVRO. “That’s why we needed specific data to document the problem, and get the facts to determine what needs to be done going forward. This study clearly demonstrates we have a crisis on our hands. This ground-breaking study will also help our members plan and navigate the service side of their business for the coming years.”

“CADA was pleased to support this report and establish a baseline for what needs to be done in order to solve the on-going automotive skilled trades labour shortage,” said Tim Reuss, President and CEO of CADA. “The problem is not Ontario specific. Retailers in every province tell me they can create jobs if they could find technicians to fulfill them.”

The report shows:

  • The automotive trades labour force is aging and the number of people entering apprenticeships is declining. As a result, the number of people in the automotive trades labour force is declining and vacancies are increasing.
  • Employers are training apprentices and recognize the need to attract youth to the industry, but it takes time to train technicians and there is concern that there are not enough apprentices to fill current and future labour needs.
  • As of Q1 2023 there were over 3,000 vacancies in the automotive trades in Ontario. Prior to the pandemic there were approximately 1,500.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, the number of technicians and mechanics in the 15-24 age group declined by two percent and the number in the 25-54 age group declined by eight percent, while the number of technicians and mechanics aged 55 and over increased by almost 13 percent. This indicates that the workforce is aging and that the number of people entering the occupation is not sufficient to replace those that will be retiring between 2022 and 2032.

  • To fill the increasing number of vacancies, employers in Ontario are using the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. It takes between 12 and 16 months to fill a position through the TFW program, due in part to the requirement by the federal government to demonstrate that there is a lack of available workers locally through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”).

  • It’s estimated that between 20 to 30 percent (up to $9,000 per vacancy) of the TFW costs are associated with the LMIA process.

  • Depending on the Labour Rate, the estimated annual revenue loss of one technician vacancy is $429,600 – $644,440 per year.

The full report is available here.

“This report underscores that careers are plentiful for the next generation of automotive technicians. Our members are ready and willing to train and hire workers for the long term, said Bourgon. “I encourage students, parents and educators to give a hard look at the tremendous career opportunities in Ontario’s world class auto sector. In the short term, we can address this crisis by cutting red tape in the LMIA process to save time and money for employers and technicians coming from abroad.”

The Motor Vehicle Retailers of Ontario (formerly the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association) has been the voice of Ontario’s 1,100 new car and truck retailers since 1908, offering industry leading advocacy and member support. MVRO members generate and support 85,300 jobs and contribute $14 billion in GDP to Ontario’s economy every year.

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