National News

Workopolis says it's fixing job bank glitch

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The employment website Workopolis said Thursday it's working to fix a technical snafu that allows hundreds of outdated job postings to remain on the federal government's online job bank.

"There are some expired ones that we didn't actually know about until this issue came to light, so we're working on that glitch at the moment," said Peter Harris, a spokesman for Workopolis.

That includes setting up restrictions on what postings the federal government can pull from Workopolis for placement on its job bank to stop positions from appearing on the site that have long since been filled, he added.

"We have to change the API (application programming interface) of how we feed them jobs to just limit it to the most recent," Harris said. "If the job postings are on an external employer website, we don't always know, and if they don't always let us know ... so that's also a communications lag."

Employment Minister Jason Kenney's department says 83 per cent of the listings currently on the job bank are less than two months old. There were more than 116,000 listings on the site as of Thursday, which would mean more than 19,000 of them are older than two months.

Kenney often cites the tens of thousands of positions posted on the job bank — as well as the seven million hits it receives monthly — as evidence of its success.

The job bank also plays a critical role in Canada's embattled temporary foreign workers program. The rules require would-be employers to post ads seeking Canadian workers for four weeks before they apply to hire temporary foreign workers.

As well, the government uses the job bank to point employment insurance recipients to openings.

But the site shows a litany of job postings in dozens of communities across Canada that have long since been filled.

They include ads for food servers, pipeline engineers, auto mechanics and retail sales clerks. Some of the listings are from federal government agencies and departments, while others come from private-sector sites that include Workopolis as well as provincial government job-listing services.

The Conservative government has said it's up to employers to remove the postings after jobs have been filled, but Kenney also singled out Workopolis earlier this week in the House of Commons.

"I understand that we have a lot of different partners in that job bank. One of them is Workopolis and I gather two per cent of the postings that it made actually were there for longer than six months. We are working with it to fix that technical glitch," he said.

He added more tweaking is ahead for the job bank.

"We will be further improving that site as a really dynamic platform to connect with the unemployed with the many available jobs in the Canadian economy," Kenney said.

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

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