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Learning nation: Equipping Canada’s workforce with skills for the future

This report reviews the findings of a number of other key reports on the future of work and applies their approaches to the Canadian context in order to describe the future of work in Canada. The report identifies a number of technological drivers of these changes, including artificial intelligence. Based on this analysis, the authors suggest that as many as 2 million Canadians could lose their jobs by 2030. Critically, they also argue that these new developments can produce new opportunities as well as losses and highlight the key changes that must be made in order for Canadians to take advantage of these opportunities. Specifically, the report recommends that a third pillar be added to Canada’s existing skills development infrastructure. This third pillar, which would complement Canada’s traditional education and its system for supporting workers who leave the workforce, would support working adults by focusing on adult skills training. This third pillar could include a number of new initiatives, such as the development of a Skills Plan for Working Canadians to guide governmental action. The authors argue that any such skills plan should focus on [1] convening a broad conversation and national commitment to adult skills training; [2] ensuring a joint effort by all orders of government; [3] testing and scaling innovative and agile programs; [4] prioritize areas of greatest need, such as among low-income Canadians; [5] specifically tailor its programs for adult learners; [6] providing seamless access that is easy and simple for workers. The report also recommends the establishment of a Lifelong Learning Fund to incentivize individuals and employers to increase their investments in skills development, and action by the federal and provincial governments to transform existing employment centres to provide improved practical guidance to Canadians seeking to navigate the coming labour market disruptions. The report also emphasizes the importance of improved labour market data. Finally, it also includes a review of some promising initiatives currently underway in Canada and abroad that the authors suggest are worthy of attention.