Newspaper article The Canadian Press
No Such Thing as a Bad Job, Flaherty Tells Picky Unemployed Workers: No Such Thing as Bad Job, Says Flaherty
OTTAWA - The Harper Conservatives are signalling they are preparing to get tough with unemployed Canadians who refuse jobs they consider below them or too far away.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday new rule changes to define "suitable employment" and "reasonable" efforts at finding work have yet to come down, but as far as he's concerned people should be prepared to take pretty well any available job.
"There is no bad job, the only bad job is not having a job," he told reporters. "I drove a taxi, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living."
Opposition critics leaped on the minister, accusing him of "insulting" Canadians who through no fault of their own find themselves out of work.
The economy has created 750,000 jobs since the recession, but the unemployment rate, last measured at 7.3 per cent, remains more than a full point higher than before the 2008-09 economic downturn. That means because of population growth, there are more unemployed Canadians today than four years ago, and more who have simply given up and left the labour force.
However, some business groups have complained they are experiencing labour shortages in some parts of the country, particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the jobless rate is about two percentage points below the national average.
Flaherty agreed with that assessment and added that in future years, the issue will be one of worker shortages, not unemployment.
The economy's challenge in the future will be finding ways to encourage more handicapped Canadians, seniors, aboriginal people and the young to work, he said.
"We are going to have significant labour shortages in this country," he said.
"That means we are going to have to encourage more persons with disabilities to work, more seniors to work, more aboriginal people to work, including young people. …