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What We Do
Digital skills are the foundation of a world-class digital economy. For more than two decades, there has been a great deal of discussion of Canada’s critical skills shortage, skill mismatches, and the digital divide. Canada’s last comprehensive digital strategy, developed by the Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC), was instituted over a decade ago (IHAC, 1998). Given the rapid pace of change in technology – and the skills needed to use this technology – Canada requires a new digital strategy. Digital skills are, arguably, the foundation upon which the other pillars of a national digital strategy are built. While the development of physical infrastructure is an important priority, advanced countries also recognize the need to develop their human skills infrastructure. This ensures the population is able to take full advantage of the physical infrastructure, access the government services and consume digital products and services. Digital skills are critical to companies developing infrastructure, companies requiring skilled workers to achieve their business objectives, companies creating new products and services, as well as small companies striving to rise to the next level. Research and innovation, fundamental to the growth of a world-class digital economy, are dependent on a skilled workforce. The focus of this project was to review the existing English and French language literature, both Canadian and International, which address the following themes: definitions of specific digital skills, including their similarities and differences; benchmarks used to assess digital skills; strategies related to information and communications technology (ICT) and digital economy skills, including operative definitions, components, and evaluations (if any); taxonomies of stakeholders as well as initiatives documented to promote digital skills, including goals, tactics, and impacts; and, potential models that may serve as a basis for further consultation with relevant stakeholders.