News & Media

Survey Shows Many Canadians Lack Practical, Everyday Skills

Survey Shows Many Canadians Lack Practical, Everyday Skills

Results magnify the impact of Canada’s critical skilled labour shortage on daily lives

OTTAWA, Ontario – May 1, 2012 – Skills/Compétences Canada, a national not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies, today released the findings of a survey conducted by Harris/Decima, which has shown that beyond changing a light bulb or picking up a hammer to hang up a picture, many Canadians have little to no working knowledge of those everyday activities that require a skilled hand.

The survey reveals that almost half of all Canadians are not able to complete basic skills including installing a faucet or replacing a zipper without some help:

  • Almost half of Canadians admitted they would need help installing a bathroom or kitchen faucet (46%) or replacing a zipper in an item of clothing (45%);
  • About one in three Canadians said they weren’t sure how to install a light fixture (31%);
  • Half of all women surveyed admitted they don’t know how to change a tire (48%);
  • 1 in 10 Canadians (14%) have no idea how to turn off the water main in their home.

“There’s a serious underlying message here that many Canadians are lacking basic, practical knowledge when it comes to completing everyday skills, admitting they require help,” said Shaun Thorson, CEO, Skills/Compétences Canada. “Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of the Canadian economy contributing over 50% of Canada’s GDP. But the growing shortage of skilled trade workers is not only a concern for industry – it is only a matter of time before every Canadian will feel the impact in their everyday lives.”

This month, Skills/Compétences Canada is hosting the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition, an Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices. From May 13-16, more than 500 young students and apprentices will gather in Edmonton to compete in over 40 skilled trade and technology areas, ranging from construction, mobile robotics and cabinet making, to fashion technology, mechatronics and aircraft maintenance. The annual event attracts school groups and young career-seekers who can take part in interactive Try-a-Trade® and Technology demonstrations, as well as employers and recruiters, industry associations, labour groups, training institutes and government partners.

The Competition provides an opportunity for young Canadians studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested against exacting industry standards and their peers from across the nation, with hope of being crowned the best in their chosen discipline. This year, competitors are also vying for placement on Team Canada where they will participate in the 2013 WorldSkills International Competition in Leipzig, Germany.


About the survey

The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima via teleVox, the company’s telephone omnibus, from April 12th to 16th, 2012.  A total of 1,011 Canadians were surveyed.  Results are considered accurate +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.


About Skills/Compétences Canada

Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. Its unique position among private and public sector partners enables it to work toward securing Canada’s future skilled labour needs while helping young people and aspiring apprentices discover rewarding careers. Skills/Compétences Canada offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trades and technology competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians through regional, provincial/territorial, national and international events, as well as skilled trade awareness programs. Many programs highlight digital and essential skills, which are crucial qualifications in most careers of today.  Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Skills/Compétences Canada is the Canadian Member organization of WorldSkills International. For more information about Skills/Compétences Canada visit www.skillscanada.com, or call 877-754-5226.

Follow Skills/Compétences Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.


Note to Editors:

High resolution photography and B-roll from recent skills competitions is available upon request.


Media Contacts:

Caroline McGrath

CMM Communications Group (for Skills/Compétences Canada)

416 972-1642


Skip to content