Politics & Policies

Labour Market in Canada – A 10 point action plan

[Steven Tobin] – In my various discussions over the past few weeks at Parliamentary Committees, with CEOs, policymakers, labour representatives and others, it’s clear that efforts to address the prevailing labour market challenges in Canada are fragmented. This is dampening our ability to achieve other goals such as competitiveness and inclusion.

There is also a misconception that quality jobs will be the dividends of other investments, like greening the economy, rather than the key ingredients to the success of these other initiatives and objectives.

I propose a 10-point action plan for Canada’s labour market with particular emphasis on addressing persistent labour and skill shortages:

1. Launch a comprehensive labour market strategy. A #strategy will ensure that the disparate efforts are coherent, mutually reinforcing and support other goals such as #competitiveness and #affordability.

2. Establish two pillars of inter-connected action: Labour and skill shortages. These should be central pillars of the broader labour market strategy that recognize different approaches and policy responses are needed.

3. Leverage the significant untapped potential of underrepresented groups. Labour market outcomes for certain groups remain poor. With the right supports, their active participation would bring benefits to them, the economy and society more broadly.

4. Ensure immigration continues to play a significant and complementary role. The real question is not whether #immigration but how much and what is the skill composition of workers needed to unlock Canada’s potential.

5. Policy and program design must go beyond targeting a population group. Programs to support vulnerable individuals must take a holistic approach, e.g., by providing skills training AND wrap-around supports like childcare, rather than simply focusing on socio-demographic characteristics.

6. Instill the language of skills into the mainstream of policies, programs and data collection. Much of our programming and way of collecting data is rooted in the old way of thinking, i.e., education. The world of work has shifted dramatically and so should our programming.

7. Promote collaboration in the funding, design and delivery of skills training: Success in the skills space necessitates first, an acute understanding of the skill needs of employers. Only then, can we provide individuals with the skills needed to succeed.

8. Foster a cohesive and integrated approach to skills development. While there have been significant investments in skills recently, much of it is fragmented and time bound. Sustained investments are needed, and a comprehensive labour market strategy would help to take fuller advantage of these investments.

9. Integrate evaluation into our programs and redefine success. We should make very effort to include #evaluation (not just monitoring) as part of any program. We also need to be in accepting when something doesn’t work.

10. Streamline and promote open access to existing data. Before rushing out to acquire new data, we need to streamline and promote more open access to existing sources of information such as job vacancy data and EI administrative data.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @  A 10 Point Action Plan for Canada’s Labour Market


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