Canada's Renewable Energy Industry Faces Critical Shortage of Skilled Workers

EHRC labour market research confronts pressing HR issues with 12-point strategic plan for Industry, Government and Educators.

Ottawa, Ontario March 04, 2014

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), Canada's leading source for human resources research and tools for the Electricity Industry, today announced availability of additional background for its Renewing Futures research project, the first comprehensive, nationwide labour study on Canada's renewable energy industry. The report was sponsored by the Government of Canada and concludes that there will likely be a substantial shortage of qualified workers that threatens the high growth potential of the industry, unless a national HR strategy is immediately implemented, involving collective action from all stakeholders.

Canadian suppliers, including large hydro companies, are expected to add between 13,800 and 42,800 MWs of new renewable electricity generation capacity from 2012 to 2022, and will require as many as 99,000 people employed in this effort. Current training programs and industry resources are insufficient to meet both the lower and higher level of expected new demand.

EHRC's Renewing Futures Report was conducted over 2-years, and included more than 400 representatives from wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, marine/tidal, small and large hydro, as well as the transmission, storage and distribution industries. EHRC, along with an industry led steering committee, defined 12 strategic actions that will assist in building a qualified labour market to meet employer's needs for the next 10 years.

"The Renewing Futures report provides the renewable electricity sector with valuable human resource data and analysis that outlines future industry growth, along with the challenges it faces, due to an insufficient level of skilled workers to meet future demands," said EHRC's CEO, Michelle Branigan. "In addition, the report lays out a comprehensive plan to expand the available workforce and build the depth and breadth of skills required. With industry participation from employers, trainers, unions and government regulators across all provinces and sectors, we are confident we can succeed in the development of a skilled workforce, while providing Canadians with fulfilling careers in renewable electricity."

"Our Government's top priority is creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. That is why we are taking action to address the paradox of too many Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians," said the Honourable Jason Kenney Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism. "The electricity sector alone is expected to need 45,000 new skilled workers in the next five years. Our government is taking action to ensure Canadians have the skills they need to fill those jobs."

Implementation of these actions would reduce human resources costs related to turnover, recruiting and retirements while expanding career paths for thousands of workers.

"Canadians have a great interest in a reliable, robust and clean energy system. The renewable electricity industry has a critical role to play in reaching this objective," said Ted Kantrowitz, Chair of the Renewing Futures National Steering Committee. "Intelligent, well-trained workers will be key to our country's success in building this system. The Renewing Futures study and action plan sets the stage to effectively equip workers to meet the renewable electricity industry's needs in the medium and long term."

Summary of Renewing Futures Report
The renewable energy industry is currently on a path towards a substantial shortage of skilled workers. Without an immediate, national HR platform, Canada's ability to build a cleaner, more diversified energy system will be in jeopardy. To remedy the situation, the report outlines 12 strategic actions. In conjunction with these recommendations, industry, along with partners – government and educators - needs to collaborate to address these challenges collectively.

The Renewing Futures Report provides crucial data on the impact of renewable electricity growth on labour markets and key occupations across the country. The resulting human resources report and strategic plan covers training programs, regulations and government policies, certification, interprovincial mobility, retirements, retention and sector specific specializations. The research also includes a technology report that identifies future growth in renewable electricity operations and development, and describes the most likely technologies to be installed across the sectors in each Province. Visit to view the Renewing Futures research.

About Electricity Human Resources Canada

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is Canada's most trusted source of objective human resources information and tools to help the Canadian electricity industry match workforce supply and demand. EHRC is a not-for-profit organization helping to keep the lights on in Canada by enabling a world-class workforce for the entire electricity industry. EHRC helps to build a better workforce by strengthening the ability of the Canadian electricity industry to meet current and future needs for a highly skilled, safety-focused, diverse and productive workforce. For more information, visit

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