Media Release - October 17, 2005Seismic Shifts In The Workforce Threaten Canada’s Prosperity
Ontario colleges launch province wide consultation on a national skills strategy
HAMILTON, ON – October 17, 2005: “Canada must urgently develop a comprehensive national skills strategy to address the seismic shifts in the workplace that are threatening the country’s prosperity,” Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes said today.
“Rapidly changing technology, the outsourcing of jobs to overseas companies, and the looming skills shortage all threaten Canada’s long-term prosperity and productivity,” said Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “Our country needs a comprehensive skills strategy to ensure Canada stays ahead of global changes.”
To contribute to the creation of a national skills strategy, Ontario’s 24 colleges today launched Pathway to Prosperity – a province wide consultation on Canada’s workforce challenges for the 21 st century. Mohawk will play its part by hosting a Program Advisory Committee breakfast on November 10.
Pathway to Prosperity includes a discussion paper and a new website, www.pathwaytoprosperity.ca, to gather public input about workforce challenges. The colleges will host round-table meetings and other public forums to discuss these issues. A final report will be presented to the Ontario and Canadian governments prior to the First Ministers meeting on postsecondary education and the skills agenda.
The workforce is undergoing seismic shifts that haven’t been seen since the industrial revolution. The Pathway to Prosperity discussion paper describes some of the forces putting Canada at risk:
- Countries such as India and China are competing with Canada for business, with a number of Canadian jobs being outsourced overseas.
- Rapidly changing technology is making many of today’s work skills obsolete.
- Canada has an aging population and faces a shortage of skilled workers as more workers retire.
The Pathway to Prosperity consultation seeks to gather as much information and as many ideas as possible. The discussion paper, which can be found on the website, asks people to respond to three questions:
- What are the workforce and skill-requirement needs for you and your sector today and in the next five to 10 years?
- What is needed from educational institutions, employers, government and individuals to help resolve our labour and skills shortage?
- What should be the priorities for a National Skills Strategy?
“Prime Minister Paul Martin was correct last month when he said we need ‘immediate and sustained action’ to meet the challenges in the world economy,” stated Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “The challenge now is to develop concrete plans to ensure Canada is competitive and strong.”