Timiskaming-Cochrane New Democrat MPP John Vanthof says many employers are having a hard time finding qualified people to do work.

Vanthof makes the comment in a year-end statement.

Vanthof says the common notion is people are having a hard time finding jobs.

“But for employers, it’s hard to find people who are qualified to do the jobs that are there,” Vanthof said.

Vanthof acknowledges part of the problem can be traced to a generational change where parents encouraged their children to get a higher education.

“We all tried not to get our kids not to be bush workers or miners,” he said.

“So they went to university and that’s created a job gap in the market.”

However, Vanthof says when it comes to Northern Ontario, there’s another reason for not being able to find qualified employees.

Vanthof says it has to do with not having enough broadband infrastructure in place.

The New Democrat says when people come north they look around to see what it has to offer.

“It’s a great place to live,” he says.

“But a lot of the services they’re used to in larger centres just aren’t up to par here and that’s causing issues for people in the job market.”

Vanthof says he believes in giving credit where it’s due and likes the Ford government announcement of creating a $350-million 10-year program to help private enterprise with projects.

However, what Vanthof believes the government also has to do is have a strategy in place that benefits the economy as a whole and not just companies by themselves.

He says that’s where more broadband infrastructure comes into play.

Vanthof personally put forth a motion to create a fully funded broadband strategy for Northern Ontario which got unanimous consent in the Legislature.

The problem, Vanthof says, is nothing has happened since that universal support.

Vanthof says that after his motion passed, then Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton “shook my hand and congratulated me on the initiative”.

“And then he said you do realize that funding is going to be a huge problem,” Vanthof said.

Vanthof said he recognized the funding challenge but also told McNaughton that “unless we get usable, accessible broadband across the province, we are never going to realize our full potential”.

Vanthof says that’s where the issue of broadband was left although he adds the NDP continue to push the government to act on the resolution.