Susan McDaniel
Hometown: Edmonton
Influential because: She’s a myth-buster

Susan McDaniel has a glimmering academic resumé and has offered research-driven advice to governments for decades. But it was her work on the Labour Market Assessment 2014, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and used by the federal parliamentary budget officer when addressing Parliament, which has shifted the national conversation about labour shortages. “There are skills shortages in some industries and regions, but the literature points to a mismatch of skills rather than a shortage,” McDaniel wrote of her research last year. “Reviewed research confirms that hiring difficulties that some employers have are due to normal cycles of the labour market for their specific industry and not a national skilled labour shortage.”

In short, what McDaniel found was that Canada has enough workers for its available jobs. Whether those workers live in the right areas remains another matter. Still, what McDaniel has done is challenge accepted dogma that drives policy, both in human resources organizations in the oil sands and Ottawa’s much-maligned temporary foreign worker program.