Three must read reports for EcDev professionals regarding the changing Canadian workforce


In the face of an aging population, climate change and an increasingly digitized world, the Canadian workforce is being pressured to adapt in preparation for the future. While common assumptions may assert that immigration, environmental challenges and technological advances will be the greatest factors influencing the future of work in Canada, the breadth and depth of these changes may not be well understood.

The following are three must-read reports for economic development professionals looking to gain greater insight into the changing landscape of the Canadian workforce.

Turn and Face the Strange: Changes impacting the future of employment in Canada – Brookfield Institute

The study identified 31 trends that will impact the future of employment in Canada. For example, the study found that while the emergence of Artificial Intelligence may result in the digitization and automation of many aspects of life, trends show there is also a desire for digital detox, possibly resulting in increased demand for offline tourism and leisure experiences. Some of the other predictions include:

  • Tech Talent Immigration
    • Increased talent immigration could result in new Canadian innovations
  • Working into retirement
    • With no defined retirement age, employers will have to accommodate for all ages in their workplace
  • Alternative energy
    • Rise in resource scarcity may generate growing demand for alternative energy
  • Mandatory Creativity
    • To maintain a competitive edge in the age of innovation, creativity may become a coveted skill in the workplace

Read the full report here:

Is this a skill which I see before me? The challenges of measuring skills shortages. – Labour Market Information Council

Creating stability in a constantly changing workforce requires competent and capable workers.  The report explains that while “skills shortages in Canada have been a major concern for policy makers for a number of years”, discrepancies surrounding how skills are defined “limits our ability to measure skills and skills shortages”.

The report suggests that creating a skills taxonomy would enable job seekers, employers, and educators to speak a common language when discussing skills. Clarifying definitions of skills will help to streamline job searches and talent seeking processes.

Read the full report here:

The Labour Force in Canada and its Regions: Projections to 2036 – Statistics Canada

A recent Statistics Canada report offers a window into the future, highlighting projections of the Canadian workforce into 2036. In the study, labour force participation rates of Canadians are examined under various scenarios of immigration, birthrates and workforce participation. The report found that:

  • In 2017/2018, 80% of Canada’s population growth was the result of migratory increase
  • Greater workforce participation among older workers will not compensate for the aging labour force
  • By 2036, CMAs will experience a sharp increase in ethnocultural diversity. However, several non‑metropolitan areas may see labour forces decline in the coming years, and may maintain low levels of ethnocultural diversity
  • All labour force scenarios predict a strong increase in ethnocultural diversity, however it will be more challenging for rural areas (Non-CMA)

While Canada’s aging population poses challenges, increased immigration levels will help to stabilize the labour force in the future, shaping Canada to be an increasingly ethnoculturally diverse nation.

Read the full report here:

Without a doubt, the Canadian workforce will undergo significant changes in the coming decades. These reports begin to illuminate some upcoming trends that economic development professionals will need to consider in their future practice.


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