Three HR policies to promote Canadian prosperity

Bravery gap series, part 2

Heather Stockton on Canada’s future prosperity: promote economic diversity, ensure students have marketable skills and reform immigration.

By Heather Stockton

What will Canada look like in 2025? The policy decisions we make today will have a significant impact on the way we work and live a dozen years from now.

In CanadaWorks 2025, the Human Resources Professionals Association and Deloitte’s Human Capital consulting have identified some fundamental drivers of change that will help ensure a prosperous economy. These aren’t esoteric concepts, but choices we can champion today.

Here are three issues we can get behind now:

Promote economic diversity

While Canada has relied on a successful resource sector, it shouldn’t be the only driver of employment and economic success. Government can’t be expected to look into a crystal ball to pick the successful businesses of the future. However, it can selectively champion industries that demonstrate strength. These currently include high-value manufacturing, resource sector spin-offs and already profitable green industries. Support for these industries can be in the form of improved tax credits and simplified research and development tax support, or building public/private partnerships that promote the growth of these industries while helping them meet the challenges of a world market. By promoting economic diversity, more Canadians will have access to good jobs across a wider geographic area. 

Students are missing out on opportunities in the country’s financial sector. 

Encourage students to pursue math, sciences and finance

While Canadian businesses currently face a shortfall in the number of skilled high-tech and financial workers, students are giving up on programs in computer engineering and sciences and missing out on opportunities in the country’s competitive financial sector. We need to do a better job of showing students how their education choices affect their employment future and help them match post-secondary courses to market realities. We also need to give schools greater access to advanced technology in the classroom, do a better job of teaching financial literacy and encourage students to pursue math, engineering and computer sciences early on. 

Reform immigration policies

Canadian businesses have immediate vacancies for skilled jobs that the domestic workforce in its current configuration simply cannot fill. Only by streamlining the immigration system to allow for the entry of qualified workers can those positions be filled in a timely fashion and our country maintain its competitive edge. Canada currently lags behind the U.S. and the United Kingdom as the destination of choice for potential immigrants. We could be doing much more to encourage qualified immigrants to make Canada their first choice. For example, we can build online systems that allow skilled immigrants to complete their education upgrades, seek Canadian-equivalent accreditation in their own countries, and match their capabilities with available positions so they are readily employable once they arrive here. 

Canada continues to re-invent itself to the benefit of its citizens and the world. By embracing policies that reflect economic realities, we can help build a prosperous future for all Canadians. 

How would you boost academic enrolment in engineering, computer science, and math?

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