While there appears to be little we can do to forestall the loss of many of these jobs - the retail sector, for one, seems poised to take the brunt - I hope our various levels of government will consider some of the more practical remediation measures being proposed.
The Star editorialized on the weekend that we should kill two birds with one stone during the downturn:
Let's hope Harper and Co. can come up with a plan during the Premiers meeting today.
We've blogged about this recently /blog/1137 â€“ surely there is something we can do to hold onto our Manufacturing base? Dalton McGuinty clearly thinks so.
On top of this, I hope we can, as a society, start producing and buying a lot more of our goods locally. This may sometimes be a little more expensive, but if we are OK with pouring our tax dollars into sustaining the economy, then why not more of our disposable income?
These days, Employment Insurance (EI) is a little meaner than it used to be. According to the Government of Canada:
The basic benefit rate is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a yearly maximum insurable amount of $41,100. This means you can receive a maximum payment of $435 per week. Your EI payment is a taxable income, meaning federal and provincial or territorial, if it applies, taxes will be deducted.
This seems a little low, especially if you live in a high-cost urban center. Perhaps, as we continue to shed jobs over the next year or so, our government can review their get back to work incentives. Speaking from personal experience, it is not easy to find a job when you're struggling to pay for petrol, cover the mortgage and feed your family.
As for the job searching agencies out there, my own job hunt and career planning experience has not been too encouraging. I recall making one appointment, in Hamilton, to get my resume appraised and updated, only to find the office had closed down by the time I turned up.
It seems that if you want to re-train, or maintain your professional status, you have to rely on the old axiom of 'who you know' and network yourself to death. Our governmental job-placement organizations need to have more access and input and knowledge of the professional job market.
During the late 1970s and early '80s, I remember watching the UK nightly news and seeing the little map of Britain light up with red triangles for every factory closed. The attitude at that time seemed to be one of resignation and inevitability: "It's a recession," we reasoned, "there's not much we can do. We just have to let it run its course."
I think we see things differently now. Global markets are complicated, and they rely on many factors to make them work (or not), but they are subject to influence. Many of the potential solutions are beyond the scope of my knowledge but I know they are out there.
What is not acceptable is for us to sit back and ask, "what can we do?" in hopelessness as we watch our economy change and slide away. We have to find ways to re-jig our marketplace and get the country working again.
And we should know better than to simply rely on our "leaders" to show us the way.
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