TORONTO - Canada's plastics industry will aim for national training standards as recommended in a report on the industry's human resources needs. The report urges industry to set up national standards for occupations and training, to establish a fund to support training, and to develop programs for upgrading worker skills. The federal Human Resources Develop-ment Canada fund paid for the C$250,000 (US$183,000) study.
Government and industry officials said it is too early to estimate the cost of the national program or determine how costs will be shared. Faris Shammas, vice president of the Society of the Plastics Industry of Canada, said he expects that the federal government will provide some funding under HRDC or other agencies, but he declined to speculate how much.
HRDC sector studies director Jenna Mackay-Alie said her agency wants the private sector to ``take the lead,'' but she expects federal and provincial governments to play a funding role. Canada's current federal government wants to hand off most training responsibilities to the provinces.
Shammas said SPI Canada will help explain the report to the industry in a cross-Canada tour during the next few months. Next, business, labor and governments will set up a council to look at responsibilities and funding.
The report, called ``People in Plastics: Creating the Competitive Advantage,'' predicts employment in the 90,000-strong industry will grow 2 percent a year to the year 2005.
About half of the industry's programmable-logic, controller-based equipment has been in-stalled since 1993, creating a shortage of skilled workers.
``Labor is prepared to work closely with industry to ensure workers have the skills necessary to be productive members of this industry,'' said Glenn Buchanan, national representative for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.