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Symposium Overview

Reports of skill shortages in the province and throughout Canada are emerging daily. We can all look around our communities and see the growing number of help wanted signs. We can also see competition for our workers from employers in other provinces. Demographic and technological trends will increase these pressures over the next ten to fifteen years, here and among other industrialized countries throughout the world. We need to collectively understand what is happening and to collaborate on dealing with the challenges. Otherwise, we risk facing a crisis that could limit our continued social and economic growth.

To help address this, the Labour Market Sub-Committee of the Strategic Partnership Initiative and the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment held the first provincial labour market symposium for Newfoundland and Labrador on October 29, 30 and 31, 2006 at the Fairmont Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL. The theme for the symposium was “Building Healthy Labour Markets in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Healthy labour market development is essential to help ensure individuals and organizations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador are ready to take advantage of the opportunities that our provincial economy holds and to meet emerging challenges. 

To build healthy labour markets, we need to be prepared to meet the labour market challenges that lie ahead and to maximize our opportunities. We need to:

  • Help ensure employers in our province are prepared to compete through having access to a skilled workforce, innovative strategies for recruitment, retention, workplace training and continued development of productive, quality workplaces;
  • Ensure individuals in the province are prepared to fully participate in the labour market and ensure that workers have opportunities to develop their skills throughout their careers. 
  • Develop strategies to increase employment skills and help minimize barriers that currently limit participation of many groups in the labour market, including women, persons with disabilities, youth and Aboriginal groups;
  • Strengthen partnerships among business, labour, government, and education and communities at every level to make sure we are strategic and consistent in our investments and approaches.
  • Ensure individuals, students, parents, workers, employers, policy-makers and others have access to good information and supports to help them plan and make solid career, training and human resource decisions that will improve employment outcomes.

The Committee had planned an exciting and intense agenda for the symposium. Participants at the provincial labour market symposium where given the opportunity to:

  • Hear over 50 national and local experts speak to the latest trends and best practices for human resource and labour market development. Topics will include:
    • National and provincial economic, industry and occupational outlooks
    • Sector and employer strategies for human resource development
    • Education, skills development and training
    • Maximizing workforce participation
    • Developing labour market partnerships
    • Achieving excellence in student learning
  • Learn about the latest provincial labour market initiatives, including the latest activities of the provincial Skills Task Force
  • Discuss potential new strategies and opportunities for building healthy labour markets in Newfoundland and Labrador 
  • Network with over 200 other labour market partners throughout the province 


Representatives of a wide variety of organizations throughout the province were invited to participate including labour, business, government, community agencies and post-secondary institutions and students. 


Over 50 national and local speakers took part in panel discussions during the symposium. Click here for a list of speakers and brief biographies.

Next Steps

Participants and panelists had the opportunity to explore issues and identify future actions and potential strategies for healthy labour development during each of the panel discussions. The outcomes of these discussions helped inform and guide the future activities of the Labour Market Sub-Committee and other labour market partners.

All presentations given during the symposium, can be found here. A summary of the activities and participants’ feedback can be found in the Summary Report.

A joint initiative of: