For years, the shortage of qualified labour has been one of the top priority concerns for our members in the North. In fact, 47 per cent of small businesses say they have ignored new business opportunities due to labour shortages. With the economy in NWT slowly emerging from the recent recession, governments need to re-focus their efforts on developing meaningful, long-term solutions.
We have lobbied for the launch of a pilot territorial nominee program, and were pleased the Government of NWT (GNWT) took action in 2009. While not the only answer, improving the immigration system to make it more responsive to the needs of employers is a huge step forward. Where they exist in other Canadian provinces and territories, they have been very well received by small business.
Another sensible strategy is for the GNWT to introduce a training tax credit for small business, as a way of recognizing the time and cost that small business invest in the training their employees. Together, we will continue to pressure policy-makers to develop better strategies to help deal with the enormous challenges faced by small business.