OTTAWA — The federal liberals want to expand the reach of vocational training programmes, while Canada spends about half of that spent by comparable countries to ensure that workers remain in the game.
A communication given to a committee of deputy ministers in January 2018 warns that Canada will be more difficult to adapt to the changes of labor if it does not put more emphasis on training. The canadian Press obtained the report of the session information through the Law on access to information, and while the liberals conjure up publicly the possibility of using the budget in 2019, the last before the federal election of October next, to focus on skills training.
In the presentation in January, it was estimated that Canada spent about 0.1 percent of its economic production to training programs for workers who have been displaced by the computer, or other changes. However, this rate was on average double (0.2 percent) in 2015 in the countries of the Organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD). Denmark has devoted to 0.6 per cent, closely followed by Finland, Austria and France.
Canada is ahead of Poland, Australia and Hungary as to the number of workers participating in training programs financed by public funds. Often, more workers have had to resort to such programs in Austria, Belgium, Finland and Denmark, countries at the top of the rankings of the OECD. The documents obtained also suggest that professional training programs should be more tailored to the needs of workers at high risk of being left behind by the system, such as Aboriginal peoples, newcomers and persons with disabilities.
In their previous budgets, the liberals of Justin Trudeau have spent billions of dollars to vocational training programmes, which are primarily the responsibility of provincial governments, in the hope to integrate more people to the labour market in order to reduce poverty and fuel growth of the economy. Despite all this, the statement of January 2018, indicated that Canada was still lagging behind.
In an interview in the end of the year, the minister of social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, admitted that the federal government should do more to help provinces that are short of money, to fund training programmes, while technology eliminates some jobs but creates new ones. “We also need to be better able to share in Canada that is done better in some areas,” said Mr. Duclos.
The victims of the automation
The canadian economic growth appears to be slowing after 2017 very vibrant. According to forecasts of the ministry of Finance and the parliamentary budget officer, economic growth could be between 1.5 and 2.0 per cent over the next few decades, as the working population ages and diminishes.
More people are likely to leave the labour market than to incorporate it. This change will therefore enhance “the importance of technological progress for the economic future of Canada”, according to the report presented in January to the highest officials of the government. These technological advances should make some jobs obsolete, mainly because of automation. The percentage of employed canadians at high risk to be affected by automation over the next two decades ranges from 42 to 9.0 percent, according to the different studies.
But federal officials do not know if the large changes in the workforce will create enough jobs to replace those that may be deleted. This is why the liberals are closely examining what might be done in chapter training programs.
“The training and retraining professionals will be increasingly important, has recognized the minister Duclos. We need to work with our partners, the provinces and the territories, but as the challenges faced by the provinces and territories are often common, the federal government may have a role to play.”
The spokesperson for conservative Karen Vecchio believes that this collaboration with the provinces and territories should include an analysis of what is happening in the school system so that students acquire the skills needed to fill several jobs.
But retraining may not be suitable for everyone. The prime minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview in the end of the year to The canadian Press that the liberals also seek ways to help these older workers who are not yet ready to retire, but that would not be quite ready to be recycled from one day to the next day analyst programmers.