Summary of the Evaluation of the Future Skills program - 2018 to 2023

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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Program objectives

The Future Skills program (the Program) aims to ensure that Canada’s skills-related policies and programs are adapting and keeping pace with the changing labour market to meet job seekers’, workers’ and employers’ evolving needs.

ESDC provides funding to the Future Skills Centre, which is a consortium of Toronto Metropolitan University, Conference Board of Canada, and Blueprint-ADE. Between December 2018 and March 2023, the Future Skills Centre received about $288.7M in contributions to increase knowledge on emerging skills, test new approaches to skills assessment and development, and disseminate knowledge on “what works” to inform future investments.

The Program includes a focus on underrepresented groups to help all Canadians to succeed.

Key findings

There is an acknowledged need for this type of program, which complements existing initiatives within Canada’s skills and development ecosystem.

The Future Skills Centre has been carrying out more than 230 projects to test new approaches to skills development. While the pandemic presented some challenges in the early years of the program, most of the projects will be completed by the end of 2023.

More than 70% of these projects specifically targeted underrepresented groups in the labour market.

Via the Future Skills Centre, the Program has been effective in establishing partnerships with industry, education and training providers, labour, and Indigenous and not-for-profit organizations as well as with provincial and territorial governments.

The Program fostered collaboration and set the stage for innovation in skills development. Still, it is yet too early to assess its contribution in that area.


  1. Continue to improve and strengthen data collection and reporting on the Program’s performance to support better decision-making
  2. Strengthen knowledge synthesis and mobilization activities for evidence generated by the Future Skills Centre.
  3. Take steps to clarify the role of ESDC and increase its visibility to support efforts to mobilize knowledge and influence skills-related policies and programming.

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