Canada's federal government has pulled the plug on financing for a plastics council charged with training labor for the plastics industry.
The Canadian Plastics Sector Council will suspend operations effective March 31 due to lack of funds. Federal Ministry Human Resources and Skills Development Canada was first informed of the cutoff in summer of 2011. The council, which was built on the premise of federal funding, does have not a fee-per-service business model that might have kept it going. The federal cutoff is part of a broad-based austerity drive to reduce Canada's deficit, which is relatively low compared with other G7 nations: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Many of CPSC's programs will be taken up by Mohawk College Enterprise Corp., a division of Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario.
“Our mission is to enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian plastics sector nationally, and internationally, by helping to ensure that there is a sufficient number of appropriately qualified human resources,” CPSC spokeswoman Deborah Lovegrove said in an email.
Lovegrove said the council represents just about all of Canada's 2,700 plastics processors. It had an annual operating budget of about US$500,000, plus additional funding for special projects
Carol Hochu, president and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, said CPSC played a valuable role in providing the industry with programs, services and HR assistance.
CPSC was set up in 2000, one of 32 national sector councils representing a range of industries.
In a Nov. 20 news release, CPSC said “the past year … has been one of retrospection and change.”
The council's Essential Skills program profiles skill requirements for 20 different jobs within plastics processing.
Although Canadian leaders have underscored the need for formal training programs for plastics equipment operators and mold makers, few efforts have been successful. Humber College of Toronto, for example, had processing training courses but stopped the program several years ago. A few other community colleges run programs but learning trades on the shop floor is the norm for most personnel. A few private-sector businesses have stepped in to fill the need, such as Canadian Plastics magazine with its one-day seminars on extrusion and injection molding. Trade shows also address training issues to some extent.