CanCode Launch Event

Speech

Speech by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, PC, MP
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Ottawa, Ontario

June 14, 2017

Check Against Delivery

Good morning, everyone.

Thank you so much, Minister Duncan, for that kind introduction.

I’d also like to thank Actua, Canada Learning Code and Kids Code Jeunesse for hosting this event.

When I look at all of you, I’m reminded of the students I used to teach at university.

They were older than you. But they liked learning about, and doing, new things in the same way that I bet you do.

I think that you’re all here because you love to learn—or maybe because your teachers made you come.

But either way, learning, especially about technology, is what’s going to help you make a living later on.

All that science and math, and all that tech that you’re doing in school—those subjects are helping you develop the skills that will prepare you for the future.

I bet lots of you love to play video games. Some of you will actually go on to design new games or new apps for our phones.

That’s cool stuff. And it pays well. Those careers are fun and full of opportunity.

You could say that some of you will actually invent the jobs of the future—jobs we don’t even know we need yet.

Do you find this a bit hard to imagine? Me too. But I know that the math problems my daughters get for homework today will help them solve real-life problems for companies tomorrow.

That’s because most jobs today rely on your ability to solve problems using digital skills.

What are digital skills? They involve understanding what technology is and how it works. They include coding.

Coding is a way to get information together and make sense of it.

Just like soccer or hockey, coding teaches you how to work as a team. It helps us solve difficult problems in creative ways.

Coding is a great skill for you. It’s a great skill for all young Canadians.

That’s why I am delighted today to launch a new program for young people across the country just like you.

This program is called CanCode.

It gives students from kindergarten to grade twelve the opportunity to learn coding.

CanCode will provide support for 500,000 young Canadians to learn coding over the next two years.

The program will also provide 500 teachers across the country with the tools and training to teach you how to code.

Pretty exciting, right?

This program is as much for girls and young women as it is for boys and young men.

In fact, we need more young women to choose science, technology, engineering and math.

Right now, fewer than one in four Canadians in those fields are women.

I think we can do better.

It needs to be more like half and half, right?

You all know Canada is 150 years old. Lots of people have helped make us the great country we are today. It’s going to be your turn next. It’s by you using your talent and your potential that Canada will continue to succeed in the future

That means we need to encourage more young women from all kinds of families, cultures and backgrounds to learn the digital skills they need for the jobs of the future.

I talked about my daughters earlier. Having more women in these fields is important to me because I am the father of two girls.

They’re six and nine so they’re slightly younger than you.

But I want them—and more women—to reach the highest levels of achievement.

And that’s what I want for all of you as well.

You are our next great app developers, engineers, scientists and inventors.

You might even be our future astronauts.

I would also like to thank the teachers and mentors who are here today.

Thanks to you, many of the young Canadians here today are inspired to learn new skills, set new goals and chase new dreams.

As a former teacher, I commend you for nurturing young minds.

We do it because we care about the young people here today and want to give them the best start in life.

I want to close by encouraging all of you to keep working hard, keep being curious and keep learning.

Because you just might become the next person to discover something that changes the world.

Thank you.


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