The labour market shift: Training a highly skilled and resilient workforce in Ontario

Released September 2017

In Working Paper 29, The labour market shift: Training a highly skilled and resilient workforce in Ontario, the Institute examines Ontario's changing labour market and skills, employer-driven training, and government skills training programs. Ontario’s labour market has changed. For Ontarians to remain resilient in face of this change, they must be equipped with skills that are transferable across occupations and sectors.

Main findings: 

  • Most workplace spending on training is concentrated among large, private-sector firms and for highly educated individuals.
  • Employment Ontario programs have not kept pace with the changing labour market.

The report proposes ten recommendations for employers, government, and educational institutions to prepare Ontario's workforce to be resilient in the face of current and future labour market shifts.

Employers need to focus on:

  • Skills-based hiring to expand hiring opportunities.
  • Finding shorter, cost-effective ways to offer training to employees.
  • Collecting and sharing training data and metrics.

Government needs to focus on:

  • Expanding the criteria of the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.
  • Changing the way Employment Service organizations and training programs are evaluated and funded.
  • Allowing service providers and training programs to adapt to local needs.
  • Expanding the role of the Local Employment Planning Councils.

Educational institutions need to focus on: 

  • Teaching broader skill sets.
  • Creating shorter, more flexible programs.
  • Coordinating with employers to ensure university and college training curriculum are meeting employer needs. 

The Institute would like to thank the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship for their collaboration and support on this project, and the Data Analytics Unit within the Ministry for Advanced Education and Skills Development for their data sharing partnership and sage advice. 

Topics: Economic policy, growth, and strategy, Social policy