CALGARY, AB – A new way to develop and deploy Canada’s workforce will lead to fewer unfilled jobs, more employed Canadians and far less mismatch between the positions that are available and the people who can fill them, says a new Canada West Foundation report.

In Canada, there are 1.32 million people without jobs, yet there are 400,000 jobs needing people. Part of the problem is that a person’s credentials do not tell the whole story. Too often, neither out-of-work Canadians nor potential employers recognize the competencies that people have developed that can be put to good use in various industries and occupations, says Matchup: A case for pan-Canadian competency frameworks.

The report, by Janet Lane and Jeff Griffiths, proposes an ambitious solution – a competency-based, pan-Canadian qualifications framework.

“Focusing on the things that people know and can actually do rather than how they learned them opens up new employment possibilities that both employees and employers might never have otherwise considered,” said Lane, Director of the Foundation’s Human Capital Centre.

“It’s a win for people looking for new work, a win for employers with vacant jobs they need filled and a win for a safer, more productive Canadian economy.”

The report identifies reasons for the mismatch between people and jobs, including: formal education and apprenticeships that do not teach all, or the right, skills and competencies; unrecognized skills by the people who have them; employers who are not sure of what skills and competencies they need in successful candidates; and, unrecognized foreign credentials.

A competency framework is a tool to develop, classify and recognize skills, knowledge and competencies – all the things employees can actually do – across different levels, with links to recognized qualifications and different associated occupations. For example, a coiled tubing operator’s ability to inspect equipment, structures or material is a transferrable competency that could apply to other occupations such as pipefitter, home inspector and quality assurance technician, in other industries.