Mississauga, ON (Feb.15, 2019) – The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) welcomes today’s announcement by The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance regarding the launch of the Future Skills Council and the Future Skills Centre. Future Skills will help Canadians prepare for, get and keep jobs as technology and business innovations continue to transform the labour market.
ITAC has been a strong advocate for investment in skills development in the face of growing demand for technology professionals, as well as changes across the Canadian economy. The Association has called for a near doubling of the growth rate of the highly qualified professional information, communications and technology (ICT) workforce, to expand it from 550,000 in 2018 to 750,000 by 2025. ITAC also projects accelerating demand for mid-skilled technicians and related professionals – currently 300,000 strong – in the coming years.
“People with the right tech skills create their own opportunities and are a magnet for investment,” explained Denise Shortt, acting ITAC president and CEO. “Our vision is to grow Canada’s tech talent force well beyond projected demand. Across the economy, we can gainfully employ a disproportionately high share of workers to design and develop innovative, export-oriented tech-based products and services. Future Skills has great potential to help move us in this direction.”
Ms. Shortt is an interim member of the Future Skills Centre Advisory Board. ITAC National Board Director Jeremy Auger (and Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of D2L) has been appointed to the 15-member Future Skills Council. ITAC Talent Special Advisor David Ticoll has also been appointed to the Council in his capacity as Chair of the National Stakeholder Advisory Panel of the Labour Market Information Council.
“Innovation is changing the way Canadians work. Disruptive technologies provide opportunities and challenges for workers, employers and educators,” added Mr. Auger. “We need to find new ways to understand and develop skills for the future and to ensure inclusive growth that benefits all Canadians.”
ITAC has also called for the Government of Canada to support initiatives to increase the proportion of women and Indigenous Canadians in tech occupations by 50 per cent by 2025 and is pleased that Future Skills is specifically mandated to address under-represented groups.
“Addressing – and fixing – equity and inclusion in the ICT sector is an important area of focus for ITAC. To remain a technology powerhouse, Canadian businesses, including the ICT sector, must engage more women, Indigenous Canadians, people with disabilities and displaced workers if we are truly to see a transformation,” notes Ms. Shortt, who also directs ITAC’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
To achieve this goal of transformation, ITAC has partnered with Ryerson University, Ryerson’s Diversity Institute and Magnet. Together, these organizations will help to develop innovative approaches to Canada’s future skill requirements. Ryerson’s University and Diversity institute have a long and positive history in driving evidence-based innovation, translating theory to practice. Magnet is also a great example of a Canadian-grown innovative technology platform that brings together stakeholders, bridges fragmentation and helps match job seekers with opportunities. By continuing to work together – along with the diverse range of stakeholders participating in the Future Skills Centre and the Future Skills Council can play a role in driving Canada’s economic and social development and find real solutions to the challenges that need to be addressed.
About Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
As Canada’s national ICT business association, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) champions the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada. A vital connection between business and government, we provide our members with the advocacy, networking and professional development services that help them to thrive nationally and compete globally.
A prominent advocate for the expansion of Canada’s innovative capacity, ITAC encourages technology adoption to capitalize on productivity and performance opportunities across all sectors. A member-driven not-for-profit, ITAC has served as the authoritative national voice of the $170 billion ICT industry for over 60 years. More than 36,000 Canadian ICT firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more productive, competitive, and innovative society. The ICT sector generates over one million jobs directly and indirectly and invests $4.9 billion annually in R&D, more than any other private sector performer.
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