Polygon Created with Sketch. Home | Engage

Future Skills Centre announces $32 million for projects to help Canadian workers gain skills as part of shock-proofing the workforce of the future

TORONTO (April 7, 2021) — Future Skills Centre (FSC) today announces the funding of 64 innovation projects as part of a $32 million investment to provide practical solutions for thousands of workers and employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada and to prepare the workforce for the opportunities and jobs of the future.

Many of the projects will explore new technologies and processes for whole industry sectors that are evolving or emerging, while others are designed to reskill or upskill workers displaced by the economic damage of the pandemic. The projects strive to navigate change, imagine the future, and help all Canadians – especially those facing multiple barriers to full employment – in acquiring the skills and resilience to thrive in the workforce of today and tomorrow.


Indigenous innovations – These projects support Indigenous values, Indigenous economic development, ways of learning, and doing business. Thirty-three projects worth $17.7 million focus on providing equitable opportunity and access for Indigenous communities.

Untried innovations – Many projects seek to create or anticipate change by training people to work differently. Nine projects worth $7.8 million invest in new fields or mobilize emerging industries such as cellular agriculture, sustainable fisheries, and robotic manufacturing. 

Rural and remote – Many projects aim to reach people in rural (67%), remote/isolated (35%) or Northern communities (40%). These often involve virtual training or learning through online platforms and cultivate locally-grown industries.

New technologies – Many projects (47%) use tech innovation, applying new technology to the delivery of training or service. Some use Augmented or Virtual Reality and novel virtual interface technologies to transform training in everything from skilled trades to social services.  

Inclusive workforce – Almost two-thirds of projects target specific populations such as youth, women and Indigenous peoples to create a more diverse and equitable workforce. Some projects strive to connect job seekers facing multiple barriers to full participation in the workforce with pathways to training and employment. 

As we look forward to a world post-recovery, we know that a dynamic skills agenda will be central to Canada’s success in a constantly-changing labour market. These pan-Canadian partnerships will be real-time, applied examples to help design new skills development approaches that allow Canadian workers and businesses to seize opportunities in our future economy.
– Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted certain groups of people and industry sectors more than others. These shock-proofing projects, funded through the Future Skills Centre, will contribute to finding innovative skills development and training solutions to help Canadian workers develop resilience in the face of sudden economic and technological changes.
– Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion


  • These 64 projects are funded as a result of the call for proposals Shock-proofing the Future of Work: Skills Innovation Challenge
  • The projects will impact thousands of Canadians in all provinces and territories and a variety of sectors.
  • 60% of projects focus on greater inclusion and equity among the workforce to support population groups whose jobs were especially impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Over 70% of the projects focus on or support Canadian youth aged 16 to 28.
  • To date, FSC has invested $138 million CAD in 135 projects. 


Connect with partners in the skills development and training ecosystem across Canada in our Community of Practice.


The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead. The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Ryerson University, Blueprint, and The Conference Board of Canada, and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

Media Contact

Eglantine Ronfard
Communications Manager
Future Skills Centre

Featured Projects

Young successful african-american businesswoman student working on laptop remotely talking on smart phone with colleagues boss, dealing with business partenrs in cafe. Freelance job occupation.

Understanding the Relationship Between Quality of Work and Remote Work Support and Monitoring

This research examined the experiences and attitudes towards remote work in Canada for employees and…
Group of individuals with one woman in focus standing in a conference hall.

Impact of remote work on engineering and technology jobs

This project will study the impact of working-from-home on new graduates, women and newcomers to…
Group of textile students looking over samples of fabric.

Tools and resources for gaming and digital media entrepreneurs

Founders of interactive digital media or game studio businesses who are racialized, BIPOC or LGBTQIA+…
View more