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March 2002     Vol. 3, no. 3

Barriers to job-related training

Deborah Sussman

  • Not everyone who wants or needs job-related training has access to it. In 1997, 1.5 million people (or 7% of Canadians aged 17 and over, excluding full-time students) reported not taking some needed job-related training.
  • People between the ages of 35 and 44, those with preschool children, and university graduates had above average rates of unmet job-related training needs, as did full-time workers, and workers in service-producing industries-particularly public administration; finance, insurance and real estate; and education, health and welfare. Above average rates were also found in professional and managerial occupations-particularly natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.
  • Being too busy at work was the barrier cited most often by those who faced barriers to job-related training in 1997 (42%), followed closely by expense (40%).
  • Being too busy at work was particularly important for people aged 35 to 54; university graduates; and people working in the finance, insurance and real estate industries; in agriculture and other primary industries; and in trade. Those in primary occupations, and in professional and managerial occupations, especially managers and administrators, also reported this barrier more frequently.
  • Expense was relatively significant for women; people under 35; those employed in business, commercial and personal service industries; as well as those in service, and medicine and health occupations.
  • Lack of child care and other family responsibilities presented a problem for almost one in five people who faced barriers to job-related training. These barriers were particularly significant for people aged 25 to 44 and women-the groups most often responsible for these tasks.


Deborah Sussman is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-4226 or

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