In a changing labour market, workers will come under increased pressure to adapt to the skills needs of the future. To respond to this challenge, in 2019 the Government of Canada put in place the Future Skills Council, a ministerial advisory body made up of multi-sectoral representatives involved in workforce skills development, as well as the Future Skills Centre, an applied research organisation.
The Council provides advice on emerging skills and workforce trends, with input from varied networks, contacts and constituents, while the Centre supports a range of projects in the areas of skills research and skills delivery, that can be used to identify good practices and promising solutions to help prepare Canada’s workforce for the future. Their work demonstrates how social dialogue can inform and contribute to a comprehensive skills agenda, in the context of significant geographic, economic, and demographic diversity.
The Future Skills Council and Centre help Canadians secure the right skills for an emerging labour market, impacted by challenges such as automation, technological innovation and the transition to sustainable economies. These challenges imply that the workforce may need to upskill, or reskill, and adjust to new working conditions, requiring a concerted effort by all stakeholders involved. These two initiatives are complementary and their work fosters continued learning in the area of essential skills, such as critical thinking and communication. They also promote equity and enhance labour market access and participation through skills development.
Canada’s approach shows how social dialogue can proactively prepare for, and respond to, future skills needs. It also shows how social dialogue contributes to building a dynamic, agile workforce that anticipates and responds to labour market needs. This good practice case study emphasises the value of inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue for skills policy coordination, building trust in labour market institutions and promoting mutual respect and collaboration between governments, employers and workers.
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