The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Canadian workers with many facing job losses and the need to upgrade or learn new skills to re-join the workforce. The Government of Canada has been there for workers and their families throughout the pandemic and continues to make ground-breaking investments to create jobs and help businesses come roaring back. Making sure that workers can improve or acquire new skills is key to achieving that goal.
Today, during a virtual meeting with stakeholders, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, launched Skills for Success, a new skills training program to help Canadians improve their foundational skills so they can find and keep good jobs. The program will provide training to nearly 90,000 Canadians and help get them back to work.
Skills for Success will fund organizations to provide tools, resources and training to Canadians of all ages and at all skill levels. Developed with the assistance of key stakeholders, it will focus on the nine main skills that Canadians need to adapt and thrive in today’s economy:
- Reading -The ability to find, understand, and use information presented through words, symbols, and images.
- Writing – The ability to share information using written words, symbols, and images.
- Numeracy – The ability to find, understand, use, and report mathematical information presented through words, numbers, symbols, and graphics.
- Digital – The ability to use digital technology and tools to find, manage, apply, create and share information and content.
- Problem solving – The ability to identify, analyze, propose solutions, and make decisions. Problem solving helps you to address issues, monitor success, and learn from the experience.
- Communication – The ability to receive, understand, consider, and share information and ideas through speaking, listening, and interacting with others.
- Collaboration – The ability to contribute and support others to achieve a common goal.
- Creativity and innovation – The ability to imagine, develop, express, encourage, and apply ideas in ways that are novel, unexpected, or challenge existing methods and norms.
- Adaptability – The ability to achieve or adjust goals and behaviours when expected or unexpected change occurs, by planning, staying focused, persisting, and overcoming setback
Later this year, the Government will launch a call for proposals to fund organizations to design and deliver this training. The program will respond to Canada’s immediate and long-term training needs, particularly for under-represented groups in the labour market, including Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized Canadians. It will also build the capacity of organizations and employers, and support the work of provinces and territories as the economy recovers.
Budget 2021 committed $298 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, to support Skills for Success. This new program is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to create 500,000 new training and work opportunities for Canadians. This initiative will give them the tools they need to thrive in this rapidly changing economy and ensure they have the skills they need to adjust when necessary – allowing us to come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever before.
“Never has the ability to adapt been more important than now. Skills for Success will allow more Canadians to improve their skills, find a job and be able to adapt when needed. This modern and innovative approach to essential skills is what Canadian workers need and what our economy needs as we work to recover from this pandemic. Our goal is to leave no one behind and for all Canadians to thrive in the workplace.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“Skills for Success will make a difference for so many Canadians needing to reskill and upskill in the face of unemployment and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach this new model offers will be a game-changer in strengthening skills upgrading and helping Canadians who face barriers to education and employment succeed post-COVID and well beyond.”
– Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada and Member of the Future Skills Council
Skills for Success are the skills needed to participate, adapt and thrive in learning, work and life. Skills for Success include foundational skills, like writing, reading and numeracy, which are those skills on which all other skills are built, and socio-emotional skills – the human skills required for effective social interaction. These skills can overlap and interact with each other, and with other technical and life skills.
Currently, 45 per cent of Canadians lack the literacy, numeracy, and digital skills that are increasingly necessary to succeed in jobs in the knowledge economy.
According to a 2016 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), adults with higher proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem solving have better labour market outcomes with greater chances of employment and higher wages when employed than those with lower levels of skills.
It is estimated that a 1% increase in average literacy rates in Canada, over time, would increase the gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 3% and productivity by up to 5%. Investments in women and individuals with the lowest literacy levels would have the greatest effect on growth.