Minister Qualtrough welcomes report by Future Skills Council that will help Canadians prepare for a changing and modern labour market

News release

November 25, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Whether Canadians are looking for a job, working from home or changing how they work in order to respect public health guidelines, many are facing new challenges as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In order to tackle these challenges, we need to ensure Canadians have access to the tools they need to learn new skills in growing sectors, help them receive education and accreditation, and connect them to employers and good jobs. That’s why the Government has committed to making the largest investment in training for workers in Canadian history.

In keeping with these priorities, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, today announced the release of the Future Skills Council’s report,
Canada – A Learning Nation: A Skilled, Agile Workforce Ready to Shape the Future.

The report underlines the importance the Government places on growing a thriving and dynamic workforce where everyone has a chance to succeed. It frames lifelong skills development as key to building a skilled, agile workforce that will fuel Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity. These principles align directly with the Speech from the Throne, which aims to:

  • create a stronger, more resilient Canada;
  • strengthen the middle class; and
  • continue creating jobs and building long-term competitiveness with clean growth.

The report identifies five priority areas for building a country that supports ongoing learning, and proposes concrete actions that require participation from all levels of government, private sector, labour, non-profit and Indigenous partners, and educational/training institutions. The five priorities are:

  1. Helping Canadians make informed choices
  2. Equality of opportunity for lifelong learning
  3. Skills development to support Indigenous self-determination
  4. New and innovative approaches to skills development and validation
  5. Skills development for sustainable futures

The recommendations in the report identify common ground among a diversity of perspectives heard by Council members during engagement activities across many sectors. Together, the recommendations are a clear call to action for all sectors to do their part toward ensuring that Canadian jobseekers, workers, and employers are able to seize emerging opportunities in a rapidly evolving world of work.


“The Future Skills Council’s report highlights the importance of collaboration and innovation across all sectors to build a skilled, agile workforce that is ready and able to shape the future. It is a call to action for all Canadians to continue learning, acquire new skills and create opportunities for all across the country. Together, we can and will pave a way forward to ensure that our workforce is at the forefront of innovative thinking and action, now and for years to come.”
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“The Council recognizes that creating a world-class workforce—one that is skilled, agile and ready for an inclusive future—means we must have an open mind and willingness to do things differently, to take risks, to embrace technology and to demand better results for Canadians. The path to get there involves collaboration, innovation and transformation. We look forward to championing this report across Canada and seeing the results.”
Thierry Karsenti and Valerie Walker, Co-Chairs, Future Skills Council

Quick facts

  • The Future Skills Council includes a diverse group of representatives from business, labour, education and training, public, Indigenous and non-profit organizations. They were tasked with making recommendations to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion on national and regional priorities related to skills development and training for Canadians. This report is the result of broad engagement activities across Canada and with international and domestic subject matter experts.

  • The Government of Canada invests close to $7.5 billion annually, across more than 100 distinct programs, to support skills development. The Government is investing $225 million in Future Skills over four years, and $75 million per year thereafter, to help ensure that Government programs are future-fit.

  • The 2020 Survey on Employment and Skills, released on May 20, 2020, indicates that close to half of Canadian workers expressed worry about themselves or a member of their immediate family finding or keeping a stable, full-time job after the COVID-19 pandemic set in. In the same report, workers said that skills training contributes to their ability to succeed. However, 50% of the Canadian labour force say that they have had no employer-delivered skills training in the last five years.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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