Canada considers technical and vocational education and training (TVET) essential for all residents to actively engage in the country’s knowledge-based economy. The mission of TVET along with the whole Canadian education system is to provide students with high-quality learning opportunities and the required skills to enter the labour market. TVET programmes are therefore aligned to the needs of the labour market for the different populations and age groups.
Learn Canada 2020 is a vision for learning and also the framework that the provincial and territorial ministers of education, through the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada CMEC, use to enhance Canada’s education system and learning opportunities. Learn Canada 2020 was released in April 2008 and reaffirmed in 2010 by CMEC. Learn Canada 2020 aims to address the educational needs and aspirations of Canadians as well as the current and most pressing learning issues facing them. TVET, which in Canada is often referred to as ‘skills development and adult learning’ is one of the four pillars of Learn Canada 2020. The ministers of education, with reference to Learn Canada 2020, have set the ambitious goal of developing an accessible, diversified, and integrated system of TVET.
There is no single pan-Canadian approach to TVET, since every Canadian jurisdiction (province or territory) has specific strategies, policies, or legislation relating to TVET through their ministries responsible for education. These policies are often linked to cross-ministry strategies, poverty- reduction strategies, or specific skills-development strategies. Governments have worked to involve directly adult learners in discourses of TVET policies and several provinces and territories have developed policies to recognize, validate, and accredit non-formal learning.