The global labor markets undergo massive changes stemming largely from technological advances. The increasing automation and the rise of the so-called “economy jobs” are such move existing jobs while creating new jobs requiring different skills and changing the trajectory of our professional lives. The scope and scale of these turns are unprecedented and deeply affect the lives of workers and Canadian workers. We estimate that by 2030, automation and changes to existing occupations could threaten the employment of more than 10% of workers and Canadian workers, unless they learn new skills. In Canada, the skill development infrastructure is simply not equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Our current system is based on two pillars. The first supports the development of skills before entering the labor market, from kindergarten to grade 12 and in postsecondary education. The second pillar supports people when they leave the workforce by providing assistance to the unemployed and pensioners. This leaves a significant gap in institutional support and training during the most productive years of Canadians – and it is at this stage that workers will be most affected by turmoil in the labor market. Although our system has served us well in a relatively stable environment so far, it is not designed to address the imminent disturbances on the labor market.
Canada urgently needs a third pillar which is centered on the support of adult workers. The Commission expects that the management of anticipated changes in the labor market requires an additional 15 billion dollars in annual investments in the development of adult skills. The scale of the coming changes also requires the development of a competency-based plan for Canadian workers that will guide the approach adopted by Canada to help adults of working age to seize new professional opportunities. We recommend that the government1 creates the Challenge Fund of Canada continuing education, which would support individuals and employers to significantly increase investment in skills development and offer them incentives to do so. In parallel, we urge the federal and provincial governments to transform the network of Canada Employment Centers so they offer practical guidance to Canadians so that they meet there among the changes in the labor market changing technology.
The federal and provincial governments have taken some initial steps in building this third pillar with recent changes to policies that have strengthened the Canadian skills development ecosystem. While these changes certainly a step in the right direction, the Board believes changes much more substantial – and that he must soon. It is time to fundamentally rethink how we equip Canadians for work dynamic of the future. To meet this challenge will require an approach encompassing the entire system and an active collaboration between employers, citizens, educational institutions and governments. Essentially, we need to develop mechanisms that support Canadians during continuous learning path throughout their lives. [googletranslate_en]