Ministers and key partners chart path forward for education and skills in Canada
Education and labour market ministers of Canada's 13 provinces and territories joined together in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, this week with more than 200 key business and labour leaders, academics, representatives of student organizations, and other stakeholders to chart the path forward on aligning education and skills training systems with the evolving needs of Canadian labour markets.
Organized jointly by provinces and territories to meet the July 2013 request of Canada's Premiers, Skills for the Future included Canadian and international panelists brought together to share innovative ideas that connect people to jobs, today and to prepare for the future.
Provinces and territories are committed to ensuring Canadians have the skills they need to succeed in a global economy and today have taken a critical step forward by meeting together to define a more unified approach. Ministers were united in recognizing the importance of working collaboratively with stakeholders to achieve balance between the immediate needs of employers and the long-term needs of a prosperous economy and healthy society.
Inspired by what they heard during the symposium, ministers released a joint declaration today announcing three principles that will form the basis of future action:
- Education and training must empower Canadians to acquire the skills they need for success in the job market in a flexible and dynamic environment.
- Partnerships and alignment with business, labour, education, and training providers are key to ensuring synergy between education and skills training systems and Canada's labour markets.
- Access to accurate, relevant, and timely labour market and education data is essential to support Canadians to make smart career choices, as well as enable government and business to make evidence-based decisions in planning for the future.
"The Skills for the Future symposium has served as a catalyst for collaboration among provinces and territories on the skills and training needs of Canadians in the 21st century," said the Honourable Jeff Johnson, co-chair of the event, Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, and Minister of Education for Alberta. "As we heard from national and international experts at the symposium, our education systems are the foundation of Canada's future economic and social success. Key for students, government, and business, and job seekers will be timely communication of labour-market information which can aid in the development of appropriate programs and policies."
"Provinces and territories are committed to strong education and training systems that respond effectively to the labour-market conditions of each region of our country," said the Honourable Allen Roach, co-chair of the event, co-chair of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM), and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning for Prince Edward Island. "Provincial and territorial labour market ministers look forward to working with their education colleagues, business, labour, and all those who have a stake in Canada's economy to help every Canadian who is looking for work find it, and every employer has the workers needed for success."
The outcomes of the Skills for the Future symposium will help inform discussions at the federal- provincial/territorial meeting of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers taking place tomorrow.
Provincial and territorial education and labour market ministers will report back to Canada's Premiers in advance of their meeting in August. Ministers will also recommend to Canada's premiers that provinces and territories reconvene to ensure progress on the actions outlined in the joint declaration as well as to continue dialogue to determine next action steps.
JOINT DECLARATION OF PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL EDUCATION AND LABOUR MARKET MINISTERS
Skills for the Future
Provincial and territorial education and labour market ministers will ensure Canadians are equipped for employment success and full participation in society. Improved employment success of Canadians and enhanced responsiveness to employer needs across the country, now and into the future, will strengthen economic competitiveness.
Skills for the Future brought together education and labour market ministers from the provinces and territories with leaders from business, labour, academia, student organizations, and other stakeholders to engage in a dialogue on promising practices in skills training and consider innovative ways to align education and skills training systems, and labour markets to better respond to the needs of both individuals and businesses.
Provincial and territorial ministers know that their symposium is only one step in the ongoing work that must take place to ensure that Canadians can gain the skills they need and Canadian labour markets can respond effectively to the quickening pace of change that marks the world of work in the 21st century.
Provincial and territorial education and labour market ministers have therefore agreed to joint efforts to ensure that provincial and territorial skills training and education systems continue to innovate and that our economy remains among the most competitive in the world.
Three core principles will anchor the pathway forward:
- Pathways to employment success
Education and skills training systems must provide a variety of flexible ways for Canadians to acquire the knowledge and skills they need for success in the job market.
- Partnerships to strengthen skills alignment
Partnerships and alignment with business, labour, education, and training providers are key to ensuring synergy between education and skills training systems and Canada's labour markets.
- Informed choices
Access to accurate, relevant, and timely labour market and education information is essential to support Canadians to make smart career choices, as well as enable government and business to make evidence-based decisions in planning for the future.
The following pan-Canadian activities will be initiated as part of the ongoing efforts of all provinces and territories to align education and skills training with labour market needs so that all Canadians have the skills they need to succeed:
- Building on the success of Skills for the Future, provincial and territorial ministers will put together a toolkit of promising practices that will assist in the alignment of skills and education systems with the needs of the labour market. The innovative new ideas will be accessible to all jurisdictions. Ministers will present their conclusions to Canada`s Premiers.
- To support skills alignment and improved labour market data, partnerships will be expanded to ensure accurate and timely information exists for all stakeholders. Areas of common interest with the federal government on how best to support labour market data collection and analysis will be explored.
- Provincial and territorial education and labour market ministers will recommend to Canada's premiers that provinces and territories reconvene to ensure progress and measure success on both initiatives as well as to continue dialogue to determine next action steps.
SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada