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October 26, 2021

Canada Lags Peers in Upskilling Workers, Needs to Plug Gaps

  • Canada stands below the top-performing countries in skills development, and has no comprehensive approach toward lifelong learning, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
  • Authors Parisa Mahboubi and Momanyi Mokaya find that long-term unemployed and low-income, low-educated workers are slipping between the cracks.
  • Automation, digital innovation, globalization and demographic shifts have been reshaping the labor market, leading to some long-term structural changes and redefining the skills required to maintain a productive workforce – a trend that has been amplified by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, write the authors.
  • The authors review the shortcomings of key current programs. For example, the federal government’s Canada Training Benefit, a universal skills development program, is intended only for employed Canadians who meet eligibility criteria and could permit marginalized groups to fall through the cracks. In particular, the requirements of being employed and having a minimum income of $10,000 prevent access to the program for the unemployed and those who are out of the labour force but need skills training to get to a job.
Parisa Mahboubi

Parisa Mahboubi is a Senior Policy Analyst and leads the C.D. Howe Institute's human capital policy program. Her research interest focuses on social policy with a concentration on demographic, skills, education, and labour market concerns. In addition to authoring research studies, she regularly writes a column for the Globe and Mail’s business section.

Momanyi Mokaya

Momanyi Mokaya is a former Max Bell Policy Scholar at the C.D. Howe Institute. He holds an MPP degree from the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University