FUTURE: Sault Ste. Marie

Labour Force Development

An overarching goal of FutureSSM, as identified by the Community Adjustment Committee, is to build our labour force. At 4.7 per cent in February, and as low at 3.3 per cent this past December, Sault Ste. Marie's unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 20 years. Discussion with a number of local employers expressed concern about finding enough workers with required skillsets. FutureSSM is working closely with local employers, educational institutions, training organizations and employment agencies to take on a coordinated approach to address current skilled-labour demands in Sault Ste. Marie. 

FutureSSM is taking on several innovative projects to connect Saultites to local opportunities, align students and educational programs with local jobs of the future, investigate training programs with local partners, and attract skilled workers to the community. 

One of the key projects that FutureSSM is working on is a long-term plan, 'R3: Sault Ste. Marie', which lays out a series of goals and action plans to: 1) Retain youth 2) Recruit newcomers and, 3) Repatriate Saultites that have left the community. 

FutureSSM is looking to address labour shortages in both the immediate sense, and in the long term. At 45.7, Sault Ste. Marie's median age is 5 years older than the Ontario average of 40.4. In the coming years, there will be approximately 1.5 times as many people leaving the workforce than there are available to enter it. With over a quarter of Sault Ste.  Marie's workforce older than 55, local employers will be looking to replace almost 9,000 workers in the coming years. 

High skilled positions available in the community include speech language pathologists, machinists, welders, civil and mechanical engineers, professors, software developers, HR professionals, financial analysts, marketing specialists, registered nurses, and aircraft maintenance engineers. This list is not exhaustive, and has been compiled based on discussions with employers with hard to fill and high volume positions, as well as highlighting professional opportunities for youth.

Paul Sayers has been hired as FutureSSM's Labour Force Development Coordinator to coordinate, create, implement and monitor initiatives designed to improve the labour force in Sault Ste. Marie. 

You can contact Paul at:


As part of the efforts to build our local labour force, FutureSSM is actively getting the message to the public that Sault Ste. Marie has many high skilled jobs available, and offers an exceptional lifestyle for young people, families and newcomers. In particular, FutureSSM has reached out to the General Motors Oshawa Plant where about 2,600 autoworkers are about to lose their jobs.

Because of these efforts, several separate but related stories have recently appeared in local, provincial and national media outlets:

‘Sault Ste. Marie is short on workers – and thinks it may know where to find some’ (TVO, Feb. 6, 2019)

‘Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Looking for workers to fill hundreds of jobs’ (CBC, Radio Canada, National Post, CTV, BNN Bloomberg, the Calgary Herald and Huffington Post Canada, among others, Feb. 7, 2019)

‘Sault Ste. Marie eyes possibility of employing Oshawa GM workers’ (Global News, Feb. 8, 2019)


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