What's this about?
Ontario boasts a highly educated workforce and one of the highest rates of postsecondary attainment in the OECD. Despite our human capital advantage, key sectors are facing skills shortages. The mismatch between labour supply and demand is a significant barrier to economic growth.
There are clear signs that some groups are being left behind, and that our training and education systems could do more to create a workforce suited for the 21st century.
Our aim is to work with all levels of government, the postsecondary sector, and businesses to ensure Ontario has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy.
We understand that a highly skilled workforce is the product of a responsive education system, an immigration system that works for employers, and training programs that respond to shifting economic realities.
All actors have a key role to play in closing Ontario’s skills gap:
- The federal government must transform the Employment Insurance (EI) system by eliminating regional discrepancies in coverage by delinking training funding from EI and instead funding training through general revenue.
- Ontario’s apprenticeship system needs to be more flexible. By bringing the journeyperson to apprenticeship ratio across all trades as close to 1:1 as possible, Ontario will join the majority of Canadian provinces that have already taken this step.
- Ontario needs to reinvent its employment and training services to ensure that programs are getting results and taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck. Businesses also need to play a greater role in the training space through participation in the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.
- Ontario’s universities and colleges should expand recruitment initiatives aimed at international students. Postsecondary institutions should promote the Canadian Experience Class program to all foreign students without a job offer to transition to permanent resident status.
- Businesses need to take better advantage of opportunities through the new immigration systems like Express Entry, to win the global race for talent.
- The federal government must close the funding gap for on-reserve Aboriginal education.