Building an
Inclusive Workforce

At FSC, we believe Canada is stronger when everyone has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from our shared prosperity.

We are committed to an inclusive approach to skills development, with an emphasis on engaging and supporting underserved groups. These include women, youth, Indigenous peoples, mid-career workers, newcomers, racialized people, LGBTQ2S+ people, persons with disabilities, and Canadians living in rural, remote and Northern communities.

We focus on strengthening Canada’s skills development ecosystem so that Canadians can look to a future of meaningful and relevant lifelong learning opportunities. In our work, we follow five principles: agility, collaboration, inclusion, excellence and impact.

Inclusion is a thread that runs through everything we do: generating insights that advance a future of shared prosperity that leaves no-one behind is core to our mission.


Indigenous youths will come of age by 2026 (Source: Public Policy Forum)

1 in 4

youths stopped or postponed their postsecondary studies as a result of COVID-19 (Source: Environics report: Making up time)

87 cents

is made by Canadian women for every dollar made by men (Source: Yesterday’s Gone report)

Indigenous populations

Indigenous peoples have faced unique needs and barriers to employment. Reconciliation is the path to realizing a Canada where Indigenous peoples have equitable access, opportunities and benefits.

Mid-career workers

Many sectors of the Canadian economy are undergoing significant transitions leading to the displacement of workers. Mid-career and older workers can find themselves in need of reskilling and upskilling to help them shift to in-demand careers.


Canada will need to attract newcomers and enhance immigration to offset a declining birth rate and an aging population. To ensure that newcomers, immigrants and refugees coming to Canada can utilize and maximize their skills and contribute to a robust economy, reskilling, upskilling and a recognition of international credentials will be required.

Persons with disabilities

Persons with disabilities faced significant barriers to employment, even before the arrival of the pandemic. The employment rate of working-age Canadians with a disability is much lower than that of the general population, even before the arrival of COVID-19.

Racialized peoples

Racialized peoples have faced systemic barriers that have hindered their full participation in the workforce and resulted in higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. Moreover, they were hit harder economically by the pandemic.

Rural, remote, and northern communities

Skills ecosystems in northern, rural and remote communities experience key differences compared to southern Canada. These regions are shaped by large Indigenous populations, distinct Indigenous governance structures, and large but sparsely populated territories.

Women in the workforce

Women in the workforce can struggle with access to childcare and other obstacles that prevent them from realizing their full potential. They were also hit harder in the pandemic – described as a “she-cession”.


Youth represent the future of our country, yet many lack essential skills or post-secondary education that would allow them to participate fully in the workforce, and young people were also hit harder economically by the pandemic.

Key Findings

Retraining will be crucial as some sectors will be forever altered by the impact of the pandemic, but pre-existing systemic barriers may prevent many Canadians from acquiring and effectively utilizing skills for which demand is growing.

Source: Building Inclusive Spaces

Northern education and training providers face unique challenges due to small, remote secondary schools, shortages of teachers and skilled adult educators, inadequate in-service supports, few post-secondary institutions and poor internet service.

Source: Skills development in the north

Although Canada’s skills-based immigration policy attracts highly skilled workers, a gap persists between those skills and the success of immigrants in the labour market.

Source: Immigration and the success of Canada’s post-pandemic economy