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 .
Energy jobs of the future
The Canada West Foundation recently hosted a webinar with energy sector employers, young employees and educators to discuss the future of the sector. Stay tuned for more from CWF on key insights from the discussion and a look at how workers can transition their skills for the future of energy.
Education and workforce development in B.C. and Alberta budgets
B.C. and Alberta recently released budgets and fiscal plans which include detail for education and workforce development. In K-12 education, B.C.’s three-year plan sets the budget for 2022/23 at $7.393 billion, up $261 million from the 2021/22 forecast. For the years 2023/24 and 2024/25, spending is held at $7.390 billion each year. The increase includes continued funding for the Classroom Enhancement Fund which supports teachers, including special education teachers, teaching psychologists and counsellors. The Alberta education budget includes $25 million for operations and $47 million for capital to “expand charter schools and the collegiate model with particular attention on expanding opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the trades.”
In post-secondary education, the B.C. three-year plan says “a comprehensive workforce readiness plan titled Future Ready: Skills for the Jobs of Tomorrow” is in development as B.C. estimates one million job vacancies by 2030. This brief will provide updates when available.
In Alberta, the province continued its support for the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs plan. The budget includes “$171 million (over the next three years) to expand enrolment in areas with skills shortages” and an estimated 7,000 seats will be created to support high demand sectors. Meanwhile, some post-secondary institutions have publicly disclosed operational grant cuts ranging from 1.9 to 10.7 per cent.
Manitoba workforce development initiatives
Although the next provincial budget won’t be tabled until April, the Manitoba government recently announced funding to support workforce development. Joint federal and provincial funding was announced for early childcare staff. Almost $98 million over the next four years will increase capacity and services, particularly for rural/northern, Indigenous, and Francophone Manitobans. The government also announced an annual increase of $43 million and $77 million in one-time funding to help address wage and other pressures in the education system. $100,000 will go to train disability support workers through Inclusion Winnipeg as part of an expansion to programs to assist adults with disabilities in their day-to-day lives.
Fifteen women will train in gas turbine repair engineering in Manitoba through a $250,000 agreement between the province and Manitoba Aerospace. Only 20 per cent of skilled workers in the sector are women.
Tech development in the West
Since its launch in 2019 Cultivator, Canada’s first credit union-led tech incubator, has supported the launch and growth of Saskatchewan-based tech start-ups. Cultivator has partnered with Emmertech and Economic Development Regina to accelerate the growth of agtech startups with the launch of Agtech Accelerator.
Innovation Saskatchewan has tripled the amount awarded to companies that receive a contract through its Made in Saskatchewan Technology Program (MIST). MIST helps Saskatchewan tech startups pilot projects with the provincial government that aim to improve government service delivery. Successful startups receive up to $30,000 for up to three pilot projects.
A report released by the University Canada West explores how academia and the tech industry can collaborate to prepare students for a career in tech and fill gaps in British Columbia’s workforce. The paper indicates that post-secondary education can help address the talent gap by preparing students with a diverse skill set that includes a combination of technical, strategic, and humanistic skills. Informed by tech leaders, thinkers, founders and C-suite executives, the report also suggests student assessments take a more iterative approach such as a Pass or Fail system, to prioritize feedback instead of a focus on ranking or marks.
Immigration targets and streams expand
The federal government has revised its 2022 immigration target to 431,645, up from a target of 411,000. The 2023 target is now 447,055. There are increased economic immigrant targets for people moving for work, including the provincial nominee program. Alberta’s nominee program, renamed the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), has created new immigration options: the Rural Renewal stream, Rural Entrepreneur stream, and Accelerated Tech Pathway. Bronte Valk, government relations manager for the Council of Canadian Innovators, highlighted the need for the tech program in an interview with BetaKit. Bronte said that there is “zero percent unemployment in tech” in the province and the stream is “very good news for Alberta scale-up companies.” The Saskatchewan government has also announced $638,000 to help people who were educated internationally to access employment and training through the province’s Bridging to Employment program.
The Manitoba government has struck an Immigration Advisory Council to support the provincial nominee program “while attracting more investors, strengthening Manitoba’s settlement and integration services and encouraging those who come to remain.”
Opportunities and support for First Nations
Learning hubs in Manitoban First Nations communities will make post-secondary education (PSE) directly accessible within Indigenous communities. In partnership with the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council, the Mastercard Foundation’s EleV program has committed $16.1 million to the University of Manitoba to build learning hubs. The funds will help provide a place to study with access to reliable internet, laptops and books to students pursuing PSE. Hubs will be open to students in any PSE school in Manitoba, including trades and technology.
An entirely First Nations school board in the Yukon was officially established on the 49th anniversary of ‘Together Day.’ The board will oversee eight schools, manage funding from the Department of Education and have input into how and what students learn. The curriculum could include on-the-land learning and improved First Nations language instruction.
The North West Territories (NWT) government unveiled its Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Framework and Action Plan to support Indigenous leadership opportunities and increase Indigenous representation in public service. Each government department will set Indigenous hiring targets as part of the plan. Just under 30 per cent of the NWT workforce is Indigenous with 20 per cent representation in senior management. Fifty-one per cent of the territory’s population is Indigenous according to census data.
- Michael Burt, VP of The Conference Board of Canada, and Pedro Barata, ED of the Future Skills Centre, write about how to ensure the future of work is diverse and inclusive in an op-ed for the Conference Board of Canada. They identify social and digital infrastructure development and building life-long learning skills as key.
- Paul Meinema, National President of United Food and Commercial Workers, and Andrew Macdonald, Senior VP of Mobility and Business Operations for Uber, share their thoughts on how provincial governments can protect app-based workers. They recommend a new earnings standard, a benefits fund for those who work 20+ hours per week, and health and safety standards, including occupational-accident-insurance coverage.
- Two teachers in Toronto, who are also siblings, are providing an online seminar series to help teachers and others in education learn how to teach Black perspectives in their schools. Read more here about See Us, Learn Us: Teaching About the Black Canadian Experience.
The Future of Work & Learning Brief is compiled by Stephany Laverty, Janet Lane and Justin Rodych. 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 .