National News

Feds removing outdated postings from job bank

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - There are several thousand fewer jobs on the federal job bank this week than there were two weeks ago as government officials work to remove postings that languished on the site for months after jobs were filled.

"We have been working with our partners to ensure that their job feeds are as current as possible," an official at Employment Minister Jason Kenney's department said in an email Tuesday.

"They have taken steps to clean up glitches they were experiencing."

The employment website Workopolis is among the partners that have attempted to fix a technical snafu that allowed thousands of outdated postings to linger on the site.

Two weeks ago, more than 116,000 jobs were posted on the job bank. On Tuesday, there were fewer than 111,000 job listings.

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 besieged 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 until recently, the site showed a litany of job postings in dozens of communities across Canada that had long since been filled. They included ads for food servers, pipeline engineers, auto mechanics and retail sales clerks.

Even on Tuesday, there were still outdated postings online. An ad for kitchen workers at a Little Caesar's Pizza restaurant in Regina, Sask. — posted in late November with an application deadline of Feb. 28 — was just one of many outdated postings, including several posted in mid-November in Red Deer, Alta.

A restaurant lobby group, meantime, is requesting an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to urge the federal government to lift the moratorium on the food services sector that bans restaurants from hiring temporary foreign workers.

Garth Whyte, head of Restaurants Canada, said the moratorium — in place for almost a month — is creating a labour shortage in the industry.

"This is a major, No. 1 crisis," he told a news conference in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

"It's having a negative impact not only on business owners but on their employees and on their customers.... We need the government to act now."

Both Kenney and Harper are back on the hot seat this week on the temporary foreign worker program following a weeklong break for MPs.

On Tuesday, they fended off opposition attacks in the House of Commons, arguing that the government was intent on fixing the much-maligned program and ensuring Canadians get first crack at available jobs.

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

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