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Despite Kenney's claims, outdated listings persist on Canada Job Bank

OTTAWA - Employment Minister Jason Kenney says there are no job postings languishing on the federal government's online job bank that are older than six months — even though the site is strewn with ads that are almost a year old or older.

"The typical maximum posting period is 30 days," Kenney said this week in the House of Commons. "We only extend it beyond that if employers ask for an extension for up to six months maximum, after which the postings expire."

While the jobs themselves have certainly expired, the postings remain on the job bank, counted as part of the total number of openings currently being advertised on the site.

Kenney often cites the tens of thousands of jobs posted on the job bank — more than 113,000 on Tuesday — and the seven million hits it receives each month as evidence of its rousing success.

The job bank also plays a critical role in Canada's embattled temporary foreign workers program. The rules require would-be employers to post ads seeking Canadian workers for four weeks before they apply to hire temporary foreign workers.

What's more, the government relies in part on job bank data to determine what regions of the country are clamouring for labour. It also uses the job bank to point employment insurance recipients to openings.

But across Canada, there are postings on the site for jobs in dozens of communities that have long since been filled. They include ads for food servers, pipeline engineers, auto mechanics and retail sales clerks, many of them posted on the job bank by private sector job-listing companies like Workopolis.

Ads for jobs at government agencies and departments are among those that often remain on the site for more than six months.

An ad seeking veterinarians in cities across Canada for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been up for more than a year. The agency said they were "continuous intake" openings that were still available in some cities.

National Defence has several listings, particularly in the Maritimes, that were posted more than a year ago. They include ads for a painter and shipwright in Halifax that have since been filled. Fisheries and Oceans also have job listings on the site that are a year old.

Certain companies seem particularly lax about removing their postings.

Noramtec Consultants, a Toronto-based recruitment company, has 103 jobs advertised on the site for positions across the country. Randstad, another Toronto-based recruitment firm that has offices across the country, has more than 2,000 listings on the site.

Many of those listings were posted more than six months ago.

An official at Noramtec said Tuesday it was possible even the old listings were still active, but added she wasn't sure. A Randstad official didn't immediately return calls.

A spokesman for Employment and Social Development Canada said last week that it's up to employers to remove the postings after they've been filled.

The latest headache for Kenney's department comes as the Bank of Canada releases a study suggesting Canada's jobs recovery since the global economic downturn has not been as strong as the unemployment rate would suggest.

The bank suggests the government needs to start assessing a wide range of variables, not just the unemployment rate, to get a clearer picture of what's actually taking place in Canada's labour market. Those indicators include long-time unemployment and labour under-utilization.

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