Employment and Skills Strategies in Canada (OECD 2014)

Report by Thomas Townsend (University of Ottawa), Jonathan Barr and Sylvain Giguère (OECD secretariat)

Employment and Skills Strategies in Canada Image

While the global recession placed significant pressure on the Canadian economy, the impact was mild compared to other OECD countries. That said, growth remains modest, and a number of groups, including the long-term unemployed, youth, women, disabled persons, immigrants and older workers, face a number of barriers to re-entering the labour market. Employment and training policies must continue to seek ways to activate these groups, while promoting economic growth and productivity.

The OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme has developed its reviews on Local Job Creation as an international cross-comparative study examining the contribution of local labour market policy to boosting quality employment and productivity. In Canada, the review has looked at the range of institutions and bodies involved in employment and skills policies. In-depth work was undertaken in Ontario and Quebec, looking at the Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Mauricie and Estrie regions.

In Ontario, employment and training services are delivered by a network of outsourced non-profit organisations through Employment Ontario, which is managed by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. They have a critical role in assisting unemployed individuals and connecting them to job opportunities. Workforce Planning Boards bring together a broad range of employment, training, and economic stakeholders to develop local labour market planning information. There is an opportunity in Ontario to enhance and expand the role that these boards can play in developing local strategies which better connect the supply of skills to local employer demand while addressing broader obstacles to employment. Locally-based community colleges provide a number of training programmes, which can be customised to both individuals and employers.

Furthermore, Ontario continues to encourage the growth of its apprenticeships system through the establishment of the College of Trades, which is responsible for curriculum development within the trades, developing common standards and certifications as well as promoting vocational education pathways to youth and adult.

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ICE Committee