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This article provides a conceptual framework for discussing information and communication technology (ICT) skills shortages in a context in which having a sufficient supply of skilled ICT workers—both inside the ICT sector and more broadly—is critical to the performance of the Canadian economy. We start with an outline of a simple model of how ICT skills shortages might be manifested in labour market signals, such as rising wages, and then how, in response to these signals, workers already in the labour market should adjust, whereas young people making schooling and career decisions would be expected to skew toward ICT areas. We then discuss some of the reasons these dynamics might not follow this model, and therefore how ICT skill shortages could potentially endure over time. The article sets the stage for the other articles in this special issue, which address these and other issues related to ICT skills from a mix of traditional academic and industry perspectives.