Government of Canada invests in training for information and communication technology workers
February 24, 2023 St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador Employment and Social Development Canada
Canada is home to world-class information and communication technology (ICT) talent in research and development and in emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and virtual reality. The opportunities are vast, but investments in training are needed to maintain a strong and resilient workforce that can meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s ICT sector.
Today, Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. announced, on behalf of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, that the Government of Canada is investing up to $48.3 million in the digital ICT sector through the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.
- Lighthouse Labs will receive just over $21.2 million for its ICT Boost project, which will prepare 1,700 individuals across the country with digital and soft skills training to help them enter the ICT sector or retain their current positions in an ever-changing field.
- TechNL will receive up to $27.1 million for its Strengthening the NL Workforce: A Technology Training and Upskilling Ecosystem project, which will strengthen the Newfoundland and Labrador workforce by creating a technology-focused training and upskilling ecosystem and supporting up to 2,131 Canadians.
These projects will present solutions to recruitment in the ICT sector. Through partnerships with specialized technology knowledge providers, training and upskilling will be available to address current talent gaps and improve the technology sector labour market. Flexible learning environments, mental health workshops and partnerships between educational providers and industry are available to participants of equity deserving groups to ensure their success and to facilitate employment and retention. In addition, the funding will support diversity and inclusion training for employers, job fairs, and onboarding and retention supports.
First announced in Budget 2021, the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program helps key sectors of the economy to implement solutions that address current and emerging workforce needs by funding organizations to deliver sectoral projects that focus on a range of industry-driven activities. These activities include training and reskilling workers, helping employers retain and attract a skilled and diverse workforce, and other creative solutions to help sectors address labour market needs. It also supports equity-deserving groups by promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce and providing wraparound supports as needed to those facing barriers to participation.
“The Information and Communication Technology sector is rapidly evolving. It is essential that we ensure that Canadian workers are well-equipped to seize opportunities in this growing field. Through the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, we’re proud to investing in organizations like Lighthouse Labs and techNL, who are helping workers across Canada get the training and skills they need to meet the demand.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“Canada is going to lead the world in tech, and companies like techNL and Lighthouse Labs are the reasons why. They’re going to train the workforce we need to take the sector to new heights. We’re just giving them the tools to get the job done.”
– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
“The tech sector fuels the Canadian economy, and it's critical that we match the rapid growth in the market with future-thinking training opportunities. It should take no one by surprise that there are barriers to entry into tech, which has created an ecosystem that is not reflective of the population of Canada. At Lighthouse Labs, we want to ensure that everyone is well represented in designing and strengthening solutions for our increasingly changing future. With the support of the Government of Canada, ICT Boost will work alongside our partners to provide skills training to enter the workforce and empower students to take advantage of this booming industry."
– Jeremy Shaki, CEO and Co-Founder, Lighthouse Labs
“The importance of technology cannot be understated. Every industry and sector in this province is influenced by it and we are very excited to continue to build on this province’s already impressive tech sector. People from all backgrounds will access training and upskilling through the Find Your Future in Tech program. We are thankful to the federal government for this Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program funding, and also to the provincial government for their continuous support for the tech sector. Find Your Future in Tech will dispel the myths about the tech sector and inspire rewarding careers with limitless possibilities.”
– Florian Villaumé, CEO of techNL
As of fall 2022, Canadian employers were seeking to fill over 1 million job vacancies. A significant number of vacancies (243,400) are in the professional, scientific, technical, construction and manufacturing sectors, which were already seeing shortages before the pandemic.
It is anticipated that population aging and declining participation will exacerbate labour shortages over the long term, with 600,000 workers who may retire over the next three years.
There are over 45,000 companies in the Canadian information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and the large majority (over 40,000) fall within the software and computer services industries.
In 2021, the ICT sector’s share of the GDP was $104.5 billion (in 2012 constant dollars), accounting for 5.3% of the national GDP and continuing a trend of taking a higher share of the national GDP. The ICT sector is also responsible for 15.3% of the national GDP’s growth between 2016 and 2021.
In 2021, more than 717,590 individuals were working in the ICT sector, accounting for more than 3.8% of the Canada’s total employment.
For media enquiries, please contact:
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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