Every time I read about a big new government spending plan my first reaction now is where is the concurrent human resources plan? Over $5B for a new dental plan? Here in New Brunswick many dentists are already scaling back or facing even longer wait lists and the main reason is staffing.
New housing projects? Same deal. Child care program? Aging in place funding? The problem is increasingly not the money - it’s the people.
So what happens = Economics 101. Either costs/prices go up or wait times increase.
If there was a concurrent HR plan, then the expected results would come faster without driving inflation.
Across the country the number of job vacancies in technical occupations in dental health care [NOC 322] and dental assistants [NOC 3411] has risen by 77% since before the pandemic. Hey, I’ve got a good idea. Let’s pump $5.2 billion in new demand into a system with significant labour shortages.
Oh, and just for fun here is the number of PSE enrolments in dental support services and allied professions across the country per 100,000 population (down 15%).
You didn’t ask but in case you are interested New Brunswick had 9 people enrolled in dental support services and allied professions programs in 2019-2020 (according to Statistics Canada). Don’t shoot the messenger.
I haven’t studied the new dental plan but let’s say New Brunswick gets ‘its share’ of around $115 million. Let’s keep the analysis simple and say the average dentist needs one non-dentist staff person per $100k revenue (hygenist, assistant, admin, etc.).
That means the feds have just created enough demand to support 1,150 full time equivalent person years of employment in these occupations just in New Brunswick.
And we have 9 enrolled in PSE.
Immigrant labor in the building realm is a great idea , I intend to advance the conversation with the manufacturer home builders and related associations! We need to educate students on this career path put trades back in school curriculum and immediately look to immigrants to fill void as we ramp up and educate the next generation of tradesmen and women!