Identifies labour supply and demand gaps and key trends impacting the electricity sector workforce to safeguard the long-term stability of Canada’s electricity supply

TORONTO, ON (April 11, 2019) – Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) released its five-year Workforce in Motion: Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) Study today at a national launch event with attendance by industry executives, labour representatives, educators and sector stakeholders. New evidence projected to 2022 highlights workforce demographics and labour market changes in the context of a rapidly changing energy landscape. This report is a call to action with recommendations that will power human resource management planning for Canada’s electricity sector’s labour force to address projected labour needs and navigate this complex and rapidly changing industry environment.

The electricity sector in Canada proudly employs 106,575 utility workers across multiple occupations.[1] Developing a pipeline of skilled labour to ensure an adequate pool of trained and experienced workers for both today and tomorrow is critical to ensuring the long-term stability of Canada’s electricity supply.

Canadian investments in the electricity sector are growing, concentrated largely in renewable energy generation – energy policies are going green in keeping with Canada’s commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Powerful forces are reshaping the electricity sector with new technologies changing the way we generate, store and distribute energy and inspect and monitor assets. Increasingly, the sector must support the demand and impact of electric vehicles (EVs) and other smart appliances on the grid, as well as identify and mitigate cyber threats.

Building upon EHRC’s 2011 Power in Motion report, today’s release of the five-year Workforce in Motion:  Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) Study provides both current information and long-term assessments of labour demand and supply for the Canadian electricity sector.

Key findings include:

Labour demand

  • 20,500 new employees will be needed by 2022, equivalent to 20% of the current labour force – 86% to replace retiring employees, 14% to meet expansion demand.

Companies need younger, more diverse employees

  • Today’s labour force includes just 5% under the age of 25, 26% women, 5% Indigenous people, and 3% persons with disabilities.

What occupations are facing skills shortages, and will be most difficult to hire in 2022?

  • Power systems operators, power station operators, power systems electricians, electrical mechanics and most information and communications occupations are listed among the labour gaps identified.

Workers will need different training and skills

  • Cross-training between disciplines will be required, with the skills to handle both legacy systems and cutting-edge technologies.
  • Industry must continue to collaborate with educators and government to address the skills required for this sector by working with training institutions to adapt curricula and supporting work-integrated learning programs to develop professional and non-technical skills in new graduates.
  • There must be increased efforts toward standardization of college programs to reduce highly variable requirements and create a common set of national educational standards, in particular for the technologist and technician professions.

“New investments will generate new opportunities that will demand highly specialized personnel with entirely new skill sets,” stated Michelle Branigan, CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). “The findings in this report will inform and improve the way the electricity sector conducts workforce planning, training and needs assessment as both industry and government work to preserve the sustained stability of Canada’s electricity supply within the larger national and international context.”

“The data in the Workforce in Motion study will help develop long term planning solutions to address the skilled trades shortage the sector is currently facing and, ensure we have a strong and engaged workforce to meet tomorrow’s energy needs,” said Barb Keenan, Senior Vice-President, People, Culture & Chief Ethics for OPG. “We’re excited to tell our story: that the industry is vibrant, and OPG needs creative and motivated new talent to take our company into the future.”   

“As the green economy reshapes Canada’s electricity sector, we need the most up-to-date labour market information to ensure the Canadian workforce is prepared,” stated The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “This report identifies what jobs will be available in the coming years and outlines the skills Canadians will need to get those good quality jobs in this sector.”


Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is a national, not-for-profit organization that researches human resources challenges and opportunities in the electricity sector — and develops the tools to address them. EHRC is recognized for producing and disseminating high-quality, relevant electricity industry research, and is in the unique position to bring together industry stakeholders to provide a national perspective on issues that impact Canada’s electricity sector. It is the only national electricity organization that supports HR and skills development and ensures industry stakeholders across Canada have a voice.

Workforce in Motion: Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) Study to inform the next generation workforce to 2022: Please click here. Of note: Accredited media will be offered this report at no charge, and will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to report receipt.

National Launch Event Webcast: Please click here.

Media Contact: Alex Hosselet, Communications and Marketing Manager, EHRC | hosselet@electricity.ca


EHRC would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the organizations who participated on the National LMI Advisory Committee: NB Power, BC Hydro, Electricity Distributors Association (EDA)/Burlington Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO), College of New Caledonia,  Natural Resources Canada, Power Workers’ Union, Engineers Canada, Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT), and Carleton University.

EHRC would also like to thank the many interview respondents – employers, educational institutions and additional organizations who participated in this study.

The five-year Workforce in Motion: Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) Study has been funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

[1] Statistics Canada. 2016 Census of the Population: Catalogue no. 98-400-X2016295.