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Working precariously: The impact of race and immigrant’s status on employment opportunities and outcomes in Canada

In fall 2015, Ontario appointed five members to The Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel (Panel) – Chair, Sean Conway, and members Dr. Carol Campbell, Robert Hardt, Alison Loat, and Pradeep Sood (see Appendix E: Expert Panel Member Biographies). Panel members were selected based on their professional experience, knowledge of the business climate, and relationships with a cross-section of stakeholder groups, and on their understanding of employers, the education and public sectors, and issues related to the labour market. The Panel was asked to develop an integrated strategy to help the province’s current and future workforce adapt to the demands of a technology-driven knowledge economy – with a goal of doing so by bridging the worlds of skills development, education and training. The Panel was tasked to recommend a clear agenda and key set of directions for government and stakeholders, by August 2016. During the course of its work, the Panel met with a wide range of interested parties – employers, educators, labour, students, worker representatives, training organizations, and community groups, among others. The Panel attended a number of public meetings including the 2016 Summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy, held in Oshawa in late January 2016. It also reviewed and considered the latest research on best practices in other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world. The culmination of this work is presented in this final strategy document (report). The report has been developed based on the premise that Ontario’s workforce has long been its strength, but to compete and succeed in a fast-paced economy, Ontario’s workforce must be equipped with skills and opportunities that meet all the needs of the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Panel envisions an Ontario economy in which employers understand that human capital is as valuable and necessary to business and productivity growth as other forms of capital. This would also be an economy where entrepreneurship and innovation are encouraged and nurtured. In the short term, this means that Ontario employers must join their partners in education, labour, government and elsewhere to actively and creatively address regional and sectoral needs in the labour market and better integrate underrepresented groups including older workers, new Canadians, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities, in an economy that is being rapidly transformed by both demographic and technological change.