Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in virtually every sector have needed to adapt and pivot, implementing new practices and technologies to support their sustainability and growth. This rapid change has accelerated challenges that Canadian companies were facing even before the pandemic, including the urgent need for workforce upskilling and the search for new talent with already acquired competencies. Here’s where Ontario’s colleges can help.
April 22, 2021; 1:00 -2:00 pm ET
Growth in the environmental sector paired with the retirement of senior workers are contributing to a talent shortage projected to leave nearly 250,000 jobs unfilled by 2029.
As Canada transitions to a green economy and adopts new climate-focused technologies, success will depend on a globally competitive workforce to develop, build, operate and repair new systems and infrastructure.
As Canadian businesses look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and toward recovery, many will want to revamp or re-tool their operations. This is where applied research can be a game-changer, a ready-made solution for post-pandemic economic recovery, utilizing post-secondary innovation capacity to help businesses identify and respond to challenges. Canada’s polytechnics bring space, equipment, and expertise to the table, supplementing the capacity of Canada’s business community to engage in pragmatic research and development.
In an interview with Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology, and Innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Watts-Rynard, a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Polytechnics Canada, explains how applied research can address the unique challenges that lie ahead for Canadian business.
This year’s International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and young workers. Those from racialized groups and in low-paid positions have been disproportionately affected. Between February and November 2020, 58,000 men joined the labour force, whereas 31,000 women left it. In an economic downturn that affected some sectors and occupations much more than others, the divide in the Canadian workforce has never been so stark.
It’s time for a national skills and experience strategy.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are retiring or are being laid off in greater numbers and taking their much-needed skills and experience out of the workforce. At the same time, many others are facing career disruptions and have had to quickly retool just to survive.
As we work towards a long-term economic recovery, policy makers and postsecondary institutions need to ensure younger learners and mid-career professionals are acquiring the right mix of skills for the future. Often forgotten in the discussion around skills development are the critical ‘soft skills’ that are essential to every workplace and much sought-after by employers.
In March of 2020, students and faculty across Canada were displaced from their classrooms by COVID-19 shut-downs. The impact of this shift was felt by institutions in every branch of the education system; from grades K-12, to colleges and polytechnics, to universities. We were so pleased to partner with the The Canadian Club of Ottawa this month for an event on Virtual Education discussing how schools responded to these challenges.
Established in May, the Industry Strategy Council undertook an extensive consultation to consider sectoral pressures resulting from the pandemic, releasing its initial report at the end of 2020. At this session, we engaged Monique Leroux, Vice-Chairman of Fiera Holdings and Chair of the Industry Strategy Council, along with two of the Council’s members, John Baker, President and CEO of D2L, and Rhonda Barnet, President and COO of AVIT Manufacturing, to discuss the Council’s recommendations and next steps.
Upskilling and reskilling the workforce is widely understood as vital for the success of any post-pandemic economic recovery.
The need to upskill and reskill was already evident before the rise of COVID-19. The pandemic has only made this necessity more urgent.
Aerospace is an integral and strategic sector for Canada. Not only does it add high-value jobs, innovation intensity—with beneficial spill-over effects—and billions in GDP to our economy, it’s also key to protecting our borders, surveilling the North, putting Canadians in space, and potentially, delivering COVID-19 testing kits via unmanned aerial vehicles to remote regions of the country.
Canada needs a strong aerospace sector and aerospace needs Canadian talent.