The Future of Work and Learning Brief
Issue 32 | March 8, 2023

What disruptions are affecting the labour market? Which skills and competencies are required for new and evolving jobs? How can people and institutions adapt to the future of work and learning? Through this monthly brief, keep on top of developments in the workforce and how education and training are changing today to build the skills and competencies needed for the future. Priority will go to stories focused on Western Canada. If you know of something relevant and want to send for inclusion in the next brief, email .

Reducing barriers for international healthcare workers

International talent attraction to reduce staffing pressures continues to be an area of focus across western Canada. UBC’s midwifery program will expand from 28 to 48 seats, with eight reserved for the Internationally Educated Midwives Program (IEMBP), the only program in Canada to support foreign trained midwives to become provincially registered.  

Manitoba recently completed recruiting in the Philippines with 350 letters of intent given to candidates. The government eased some requirements, such as language testing, as part of the recruitment process. Saskatchewan previously announced 129 conditional offers to healthcare workers during a similar recruitment delegation.  

Health care workers from the Philippines and elsewhere who came to Canada previously and could not get their credentials recognized ask governments to support them in gaining entry back into their fields. Some health care workers took jobs in the United States where their credentials are recognized but would like to come back to Canada.  

Veterinarian shortages

Farmers and others who rely on veterinarians for animal health care are turning to telemedicine amid vet shortages, particularly for large animals. The Alberta Veterinary Medicine Association recently expanded telemedicine to include emergency situations, Alberta Farmer Express reports. Previously, a veterinarian had to have a pre-existing relationship with a client and their animal before photos could be shared for remote consultation. However, the association now allows photos to be sent to a vet during an emergency with the understanding the vet and client will continue their formal relationship and treatment after the consultation. 

The lack of education spaces in Canada is partially driving the vet shortage. The 2023/24 Alberta budget includes $59 million over three years in new and continuing funding to “support lab services and program expansion at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.” The University of Northern British Columbia is considering establishing a vet school. Prince George City Council recently approved a letter of support for the move and also added a call for a vet technician program at the College of New Caledonia. If the projects move ahead, they could help address vet shortages in the long term. 

Other News

  • In mid-February, the federal government released its interim Sustainable Jobs Plan which aims to “secure and create jobs, to grow our industries, and to lead the world with the resources and technologies it will need for generations to come.” The news release says that the interim plan “sets an initial frame for the Sustainable Jobs Action Plans that will be released every five years starting in 2025.” We will be watching how this unfolds in the coming months.  
  • Schools in the Northwest Territories will transition to the B.C. curriculum by 2028 according to government timelines. New graduation and assessment requirements were also released which include a focus on competency and career preparation. Diploma exams will be replaced with literacy and numeracy assessments for those in grade ten and a literacy assessment for those in grade twelve.  
  • B.C.-based First Nations Technology Council’s latest report, Indigenous Leadership in Technology: Understanding Access and Opportunities in British Columbia, identifies “key priorities related to technological capacity-building in Indigenous communities across British Columbia.” These priorities include “workplace cultural safety and hiring practices, Indigenous-led education, entrepreneurship and procurement, community–industry partnerships, and telecommunications infrastructure.” 
  • The Calgary Board of Education has “ask[ed] the province to streamline licensing as a school bus driver shortage persists,” the Calgary Herald reports. The CBE recommendations include addressing road test delays and funding. Meanwhile, Southland Transportation, a yellow-bus provider, recommends a school bus licence class and reduction in required hours for trainers.  
  • The Yukon government announced the territorial minimum wage will increase from $15.70 to $16.77 per hour on April 1, 2023. The press release says that the move “will help people earning minimum wage to afford necessities. It will also help businesses attract and retain employees.” 
  • The University of Saskatchewan had its highest enrollment ever over the 2021-2022 academic year with 26,000 students. USask’s Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Airini told the Leader Post that the institution is a “research-intensive medical doctor university” which allows students to take multidisciplinary approaches to their education. For example, the institution offers a combined degree in Kinesiology and Education and an interdisciplinary biomedical sciences program.

    The Future of Work & Learning Brief is compiled by Stephany Laverty and Janet Lane. If you like what you see, subscribe to our mailing list and share with a friend. If you have any interesting stories for future editions, please send them to .