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Building Connections:

6 Platforms for the Future of Education and Skills in Canada

The Conference Board of Canada has spent the past five years examining the advanced skills and education challenges facing Canada today through a multi-stakeholder research initiative called the Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education. 

In collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders, we studied important themes and issues in education, skills development, and future skills needs, with special emphasis on postsecondary education and advanced skills. 

This initiative looked at education and skills through a national lens, while recognizing that education and skills development are typically the mandates of provincial and territorial governments. Where possible, we convened stakeholders across government, industry, and education sectors to take a truly pan-Canadian view of the issues.

Through our research and convening, we identified six cross-sectoral, multi-stakeholder platforms and some over-arching aspirations for each.

This document distills the challenges and disruptors, best practices, and recommendations from our 40+ research reports, briefings, and events. It also identifies a number of intersecting goals. 

Read the full document to learn more about the goals set forth by this research initiative.



That Canada’s skills and post-secondary education (PSE) sectors are universally accessible, equitable, and representative of Canada’s diversity; produce, in partnership with early childhood, elementary, and secondary school systems, skilled graduates for the future of work; generate high-quality, socially, culturally, scientifically, and commercially relevant research; that they operate sustainably; and that evidence-based decisions are made in Canadian public schools and PSE systems.  

1. Accessibility 

Aspiration: Canada’s PSE systems are universally accessible, equitable, and representative of Canada’s diversity.

2. Skills 

Aspiration: Learners have the advanced skills and knowledge they need to contribute as global citizens and to the future of work.

3. Learner Pathways 

Aspiration: Canada’s skills and PSE systems enable the fluid and efficient movement of learners between K–12 and PSE and through PSE to employment.

4. Institutional Sustainability

Aspiration: Governments and institutions collaborate and commit to sustainability frameworks that prioritize flexible funding regimes, education accessibility and quality, support for basic research, and a responsiveness to emerging challenges.

5. Data 

Aspiration: Stakeholders have access to high-quality, uniform, accessible data on the performance of Canada’s PSE systems.

6. Knowledge Mobilization and Research Impact   

Aspiration: Canada becomes a recognized leader at mobilizing evidence-based research for end-users in all sectors. Canada’s researchers span boundaries, collaborate, and connect their work to new services, products, processes, systems, public policies, and innovations with social, economic, cultural, commercial, and scientific value.

Moving Forward

The next phase of our work will focus on continuing our education and skills research, informing evidence-based policy development and decision-making, and bringing together stakeholders to work toward strengthening Canada’s education and skills sectors. 

Please note: This document reflects the work we have done to date as part of the original SPSE mandate. It is not meant as a comprehensive statement on skills and education or the people these sectors impact. It remains a “work in progress” and we aim to update it through additional consultation and feedback, prior to the launch of our new research centre.


On that note, please get in touch with us. We are actively looking for new partners and are keen to engage with educators, learners, and decision-makers in our consultations and research. Contact us to participate.


Building connections coverBuilding Connections: Platforms for Education and Skills in Canada

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