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Canada’s challenges to sustained economic growth

Despite Canada’s robust post-recession economy, the country is in danger of stalling if it doesn’t address some major issues.

That’s what the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests in the findings of its Economic Survey of Canada 2014. Highlights of the report were presented at the 20th International Economic Forum of the Americas Conference of Montreal.

OECD’s recommendations include tightening mortgage insurance to reduce housing market risks such as rising household debt. The group also advised generating additional affordable multi-unit housing supported by changes to municipal zoning if needed.

On the job front, skills shortages are on the rise, particularly for skilled tradespeople in management, healthcare and engineering. Alberta and Saskatchewan are the provinces most affected, according to the report, which noted: “Inconsistencies in apprenticeship training and certification requirements across the country impede inter-provincial mobility of apprentices.”

Health-care costs remain a long-term threat to provincial fiscal sustainability, says the OECD, which proposed a number of funding reforms to continue progress made on slowing the rising debt-to-GDP ratio. The report also raises concerns about the widening economic gap between regions resulting from high commodity prices, along with the need for better management of non-renewable resource revenues to lessen impacts today and in the future. ◊