Workforce WindsorEssex operates as the local workforce planning board for the Windsor-Essex region. Local Workforce Planning Boards are independent not-for-profit corporations sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) to improve the condition of the labour market in their specified region of Ontario.

Each year many projects are undertaken to support jobseekers, students, employers, educators, and service providers in our community.

2020-21 Current projects include:

Project: Local Labour Market Plan Report

Project Overview:

The organization will develop an action plan with a 3-year outlook for the community, based on stakeholder consultations. The report will include an update on actions noted in the previous community plan.

Recommendations previously made in the Local Labour Market Plan developed in 2017/18 have led to many community interventions to strengthen our community and serve those most in need. Previous challenges included: high prevalence of children living in poverty, increasing out-migration of the working age population, and lack of youth registering for apprenticeships. Interventions since implemented in the community include, respectively: United Way’s Cradle to Career initiative to target services to youth living in low income; multiple campaigns from economic development, local employers, and education promoting the quality of life in Windsor-Essex to recruit residents to the area; and increased promotion of apprenticeship and skilled trade career opportunities through secondary education, the Build A Dream organization, and local employers. These are successful initiatives in response to timely data for the community.

There is a current pressing need for up to date information on the local labour market and initiatives in place to serve those in need. Updated data collected will improve the community’s understanding of varying needs in the community, considering needs that are present due to the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting Windsor-Essex and the previous economic and social challenges affecting local jobseekers, students, service providers, employers, educators, and government representatives. The data collected will also contribute to decisions made in organizing a coordinated response considering the needs of the workforce and the challenges and opportunities present in the rapidly-evolving labour market. In addition to COVID-19’s impact on our local economy, multiple employers (including Nemak and FCA) in the community are facing the need to lay off large masses of workers. The increase in those unemployed in our region will further impact our already high unemployment rate of 10.5% (March 2020), which has been consistently the highest for a region in Canada for the last three months.

The Local Labour Market Plan report will be developed and released to the community. Following the report’s release, an action planning event will be hosted to determine stakeholders in the community that are willing to take on relevant challenges and identify partners in the community to work together to address issues in our community.

Past reports can be viewed here.

Project Timeline: May 15, 2020 – February 26, 2021



Essential Workers Portal

Project Overview:

To promote careers in essential positions, an online career portal will be developed, providing information on each of the positions (ex. job duties, working conditions, required skills) and outlining how these positions contribute to the community in times of need. Interviews will be shared monthly with workers in these positions, in addition to an experiential learning activity hosted to improve jobseekers’, students’, and the public’s understanding of essential positions in our local community.

The current COVID-19 pandemic facing our community is not only impacting the health of Windsor-Essex residents, but is greatly impacting essential businesses, greatly increasing their need to hire staff in a short period of time. The high demand for qualified and experienced staff is highlighting a local gap in the available workforce that are trained and available to work in essential positions, including healthcare, food and beverage retail, transportation, and social services and supports. In March 2020, 9 out of 10 of the most common positions sought by employers were deemed essential positions. The demand for essential positions is expected to grow throughout the current crisis, however many of these positions are consistently in-demand in Windsor-Essex, including home support workers, retail salespersons, and transport truck drivers. The pandemic is also impacting our traditional understanding of retirement, causing some healthcare professionals to leave retirement to help flatten the curve; however, the fear of getting ill in absence of a cure may also cause retirement-ready workers to choose retirement as Canada’s Emergency Response Benefits end for workers with pre-existing health conditions and businesses re-open.

To promote career opportunities in these essential positions, an online career portal will be developed, including local occupational information on 50 in-demand essential positions, such as job duties, working conditions, required skills, and local education and training programs. Interviews will be conducted with those working in these positions to provide a more detailed and localized view into their day-to-day work and how their work differs in times of increased need. Additionally, an experiential learning activity will be developed to provide jobseekers and students in our community with an opportunity to learn more local essential businesses by touring local facilities. Depending on employer and educator willingness, if tours are not permitted, a virtual reality video tour will be developed to improve the public’s understanding of what positions are deemed essential in times of need and how these positions serve our local communities.

Through employer consultations, local training needs will be identified, including the need for increased opportunities or new programs to be created. These needs would be shared with local education and training institutions. Workforce WindsorEssex is willing to work with local organizations and educational institutions to help inform future training programs for in demand positions.

If you would like to work as an essential worker, sign up for the Essential Worker Registry here.

Project Timeline: May 15, 2020 – March 31, 2021



Employer One Survey

Project Overview:

To improve understanding of the needs of local employers, the Employer One Survey will be conducted to gather up to date information, including anticipated hiring, skills gaps, recruitment barriers, and needed business supports, from employers in Windsor-Essex.

The need for up to date information from local employers is increasing in importance with many current and upcoming obstacles in Windsor-Essex. The impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, anticipated lay offs from large employers, and the consistent presence of a skills gap in many industries are a few examples of the many issues facing employers in our community. In a recent survey assessing the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses, 40% of responding businesses anticipating impact of “employee layoffs due to economic uncertainty or unstable revenues”, with 46% anticipating “reduced operational efficiencies”.

Additionally, the increasing unemployment rate (10.5% in March 2020) has landed Windsor-Essex at the top of all regions in Canada for three months in a row. In order to better understand the needs of employers, Workforce WindsorEssex will conduct a survey for local employers of all industries in the region. Employer’s use of Employment Ontario service providers and related recommendations will also be surveyed as well. The consistent changes to our local economy will be captured in the survey, including the identification of additional supports needed by employers, strategies that they have taken internally to improve recruitment and retention, and their expected industry outlooks for our region.

The up to date findings that the survey will provide will contribute to the Local Labour Market Plan and to the planning board’s work overall. The findings, once shared with the public, will also support the need for updated information by stakeholders in the community, including economic development organizations, educational institutions, industry associations, and municipal governments.

Past employer survey findings can be viewed here.

Project Timeline: May 15, 2020 – February 26, 2021



Skills Library

Project Overview:

To improve understanding of the wide variety of skills and knowledges that are demanded by local employers, an online tool listing over 25,000 skills and knowledges will be created using job posting data, so users can find the local demand for each skill by occupation, by industry and by job posting time periods.

Knowledge and skills are the currency of job postings, resumes and curriculum. It is what employers demand, job seekers market, and education/training institutions can develop. The issue of people without jobs and jobs without people is rooted in a skills gap. The skills gap for a community is elusive since it changes as fast as job postings are published and individuals change careers or enter the labour force. But what knowledge and skills are needed for a job? Which are most in-demand in Windsor-Essex? Which knowledge and skills should education and training institutions be developing today?

Through this project Workforce WindsorEssex will create a real-time, online library of 25,000+ knowledge and skills that employers, jobseekers, and educators can browse so they can create their own job postings, resumes, and curriculum. All knowledge and skills in the library will be defined and information about employer demand for each knowledge and skill will be displayed. Users of the library will be able to filter the knowledge and skills by 4-digit NOC, by 6-digit NAIC, and time to display a custom search of relevant knowledge and skills that the user is wanting to identify. Users will also be able to identify in-demand employer knowledge and skills according to volume (# of times found in a specific NOC) and concentration (% of times it’s found within a specific NOC).

Employers will benefit from viewing an occupational and sectoral list of skills and knowledge that are related to occupations they are hiring for. This will improve the quality of their job postings by including skills that are typically demanded by other employers in their field. Job seekers will use the tool to add skills and knowledge to their resumes, identifying more knowledge and skills then they could on their own and improving their odds of resume scanning software to identify them as matches for job vacancies. It may also help job seekers customize their resumes with noted skills for different industries and/or occupations. Finally, education/training institutions will be able to identify which skills are in demand by occupation and industry and compare the results against their curriculum.

Project Timeline: May 15, 2020 – March 31, 2021



Future Jobs

Project Overview:

To support talent attraction, retention, and development locally, Workforce WindsorEssex will create skill profiles for emerging and future in-demand occupations.

Occupational needs in Windsor-Essex and around the world are changing at an accelerating pace. While the region experiences economic growth, its full potential is hindered by a skills gap. One element of that gap occurs when labour market demand for emergent occupations outpaces its supply. According to Statistics Canada, in the last quarter of 2018, job vacancies in the Windsor-Sarnia region reached an all-time high of 9,720, while unemployment rates remained higher than the provincial average and participation rates remained lower. The result is people without jobs and jobs without people. We want to support employers to attract, retain, and develop the talent they need, especially in rapidly changing and growing sectors like advanced manufacturing, information technology, and agri-tech.

Leveraging local education and training institutions to offer programs that fill current and future skills gaps is critical. Local post-secondary institutions have expressed their interest in improving the alignment of their programming with current and future workforce needs. Workforce WindsorEssex will analyze statistical data and conduct consultations with employers in order to create Skills Profiles for locally important and emerging occupations in fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Mobility, and Agri-tech to identify priority occupations for talent development, attraction, and retention, as well as the required skills. The creation of employer-informed skill profiles will inform new education and training opportunities and increase awareness of future occupations for students and teachers of future occupations.

Project Timeline: May 15, 2020 – March 31, 2021




Project Contact:

Tashlyn Teskey, Manager of Projects & Research: tteskey@workforcewindsoressex.com