Backgrounder: Future Skills


In Budget 2017, the Government committed to establish a new organization to support skills development and measurement in Canada, based on the Advisory Council on Economic Growth and the Forum of Labour Market Ministers' recommendations.

The Advisory Council on Economic Growth's report, Building a Highly Skilled and Resilient Canadian Workforce Through the Future Skills Lab, recommended the Government of Canada create a dedicated, arms-length, Future Skills lab to focus on new approaches to address skills gaps and support learning throughout Canadians' working lives.

In the report the Advisory Council on Economic Growth called for an organization that would provide a forum for all levels of government, employers, educators and other stakeholders invested in building a highly skilled and resilient workforce to collaborate in testing new methods of training delivery and share best practices.

Consultations conducted by the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM), found that there was a need to support innovation and evidence based policy and that centres of excellence are an innovative way of supporting research on best practices and innovation in the employment sector.

Future Skills will:

  • examine major trends that will have an impact on national and regional economies and workers;
  • develop, test and evaluate innovative approaches to help Canadians gain the skills they need to adapt and succeed in the workforce;
  • identify emerging skills that are in demand now and into the future;
  • help Canadians make informed training decisions; and
  • share results and best practices with governments, private sector, labour, educational training institutions, not-for-profit organizations, academics and subject matter experts to support broader adoption of innovative approaches.

Future Skills Centre

The Centre will be a pan-Canadian research centre that will operate in both official languages, at arm's length from the Government of Canada.

The Centre will partner with and fund projects that are led by groups such as provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and, not-for-profit organizations.

These projects will:

  • Help Canadians make informed training decisions by identifying emerging in-demand skills now and in years to come;
  • Help Canadians gain the skills they need to adapt and succeed in the workforce by developing, testing, and evaluating innovative approaches; and
  • Share results and best practices across all sectors and with Canadians to support investment in the skills needed to be resilient in the face of change now and into the future.

The Centre will allocate 50% of its funding to disadvantaged and under-represented groups, including up to 20% to address the needs of youth.

Future Skills Council

The Council will make recommendations to the Minister on national and regional priorities related to skills development and training for Canadians. Respecting the role of provincial and territorial governments in skills development, the Forum of Labour Market Ministers Senior Official Provincial/Territorial Co-Chair will participate as a non-voting member of the Council to ensure that provinces and territories have an opportunity to shape identified priorities.

The Council's mandate complements existing efforts, such as the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC), which was established in April 2017 following an endorsement by the Forum of Labour Market Ministers. The LMIC works to identify and implement pan-Canadian priorities for the collection, analysis and distribution of labour market information.

Employment and Social Development Canada will draw from the evidence and proven practices identified by the Council and Centre and support the Government to transform Canada's skills programming to be responsive to Canadians' evolving needs.

The Council members are:

  • Denise Amyot, President and CEO, College and Institutes Canada;
  • Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, Desire 2 Learn;
  • Roberta Baikie-Andersen, Program Director of Inuit Pathways, Nunatsiavut Government;
  • Dr. Thierry Karsenti, Director, Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante;
  • Lisa Langevin, Assistant Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213;
  • Mike Luff, National Representative, Canadian Labour Congress;
  • Dr. Alexander MacDonald, President and CEO, Holland College;
  • Gladys Okine, Executive Director, First Work: Ontario's Youth Employment Network;
  • Christa Ross, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Immigration, Employment and Career Development Division with the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training;
  • Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO and Co-Founder, Canada Learning Code;
  • Kerry Smith, Senior Director, Manitoba Metis Federation;
  • David Ticoll, Chair, National Stakeholder Advisory Panel, Labour Market Information Council; Special Advisor, Talent, Information Technology Association of Canada; Distinguished Fellow, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto;
  • Judy Fairburn, Board Director, Calgary Economic Development;
  • Dr. Paulette Tremblay, Chief Executive Officer, Assembly of First Nations;
  • Valerie Walker, Executive Director of the Business/ Higher Education Roundtable; and
  • Rachel Wernick, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
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