Understanding the skills shortage in Canada’s auto care sector 

December 11, 2023

Canada’s auto care sector has long been a cornerstone of the country’s economy, providing essential services to keep Canadians on the move. However, the industry has faced a growing challenge in recent years—a significant skills shortage. 

The shortage of automotive service technicians has doubled between 2021 and 2022. This shortage is impacting the ability of businesses to meet customer demands but is also posing a threat to the overall health of the auto care sector across the country. 

To address this challenge, among other labour market challenges, such as low retention rates, we first need to answer why these issues are occurring and explore possible solutions to overcome the skills shortage. 

Overall, fewer people are entering the auto care sector. Automotive Apprenticeship Program completions declined by nearly 30 per cent—the most significant drop in almost thirty years. This decline is primarily caused by outdated industry perceptions, a lack of awareness about viable career pathways in the industry, limited diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the need for increasingly complex technological training and knowledge. 

In addition to fewer people entering the sector, there is an increase in skilled workers leaving, resulting in low retention rates across the country. Low retention rates, especially among younger skilled workers, are due to three primary factors: 

  • The need for technological, complex, continuous training 
  • The idea of having more job satisfaction in other sectors 
  • Other industries offering more competitive salaries 

Ensuring a successful future 

The skills shortage in Canada’s auto care sector is a complex issue with interconnected factors. To overcome the skills shortage, among other labour market challenges, industry stakeholders, academic institutions, and all levels of government will need to make an effort to create partnerships, invest in training, and empower tradespeople. 

Implementing partnerships across academic institutions will help bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and hands-on, practical skills. Doing so will increase industry attraction for young people looking for a stable career path in a competitive industry. 

Federal, provincial, and municipal governments also play a significant role in addressing the shortage of skilled workers. Governments can provide financial incentives for businesses to invest in training programs, which, in turn, increase the opportunities for training to ensure existing and new workers are equipped with the skills they need to maintain and repair modern vehicles. Additionally, government support can help offer grants for educational institutions to enhance their automotive programs and support initiatives that promote further development in Canada’s auto care sector. 

Fostering collaboration between industry, education, and government makes it possible to develop sustainable solutions that will address the current skills shortage and create solutions for the future, ensuring the continued success of Canada’s auto care sector. 

If you would like to dive fully into these labour market challenges and how to ensure the continued success of Canada’s auto care sector, purchase the Labour market research report or download the complimentary executive summary. 

AIA Canada reports are complimentary for AIA Canada members. 


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