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Skills—Where Are We Today?

Canada is a world leader in producing people with university, college, and trade credentials. But actual skills attainment in a number of key areas, such as critical thinking, numeracy, innovation, and employability skills, is underwhelming. We fall below the OECD average in adult numeracy, and the number of graduates from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines has stagnated over the past 20 years. We need to do a better job of educating and training people to acquire the right skills to succeed professionally and contribute socially.

Features


Canada’s Food Safety Performance

Canada earns top grades and ranks first among 17 OECD countries in our world ranking of food safety performance (produced in partnership with the University of Guelph’s Food Institute). Canada’s high ranking in the global survey is due largely to its consistently low number of food-borne illness cases and reported recalls. Canada’s new policy on allergen labelling, as well as an enhanced focus on transparency, also contributes to its high score.



Brighter Days Ahead for Provincial Economies

After yet another challenging year for many provinces, particularly in terms of job creation and business investment, the economic prospects of Canada’s provinces for next year look more positive. With Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and Manitoba leading the way, most of the provinces will post stronger economic growth in 2015.


Montréal: Millstone or Driving Force?

Montréal is a powerful economic engine, but its current performance is lagging—and the whole of Quebec is suffering as a result. If Montréal’s economic growth over the past 25 years had matched that of Canada as a whole, the Quebec economy would have thrived much more—up to $2,780 more in per capita GDP, even outside the large urban centres.



The Canadian Context for Strategic Workforce Planning

Canadian employers need to prepare for a changing business and workforce landscape. A falling unemployment rate and declining participation rates, coupled with an aging workforce, mean that Canadian organizations will soon be facing challenges recruiting and retaining employees. Strategic workforce planning is an important business-planning tool that can help organizations ensure they have the right people in the right places at the right time and at the right cost.



CBoC Highlights

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, delivered the closing presentation at the 2nd Skills and Post-Secondary Education Summit 2014.

What is the state of financial literacy in Canada? Find out in our latest infographic.

 

Kip Beckman talked to BNN about price manipulation in the oil market.

Check out our latest infographic (French only) on why all of Quebec benefits when Montréal does well.



In This Issue

  • Skills—Where Are We Today?
  • Canada’s Food Safety Performance
  • Brighter Days Ahead for Provincial Economies
  • Montréal: Millstone or Driving Force?
  • The Canadian Context for Strategic Workforce Planning

Previous Issues

Latest Blogs

Cyber and Hybrid Threats to Canada and Its Allies

by
  • Brent Dowdall
| May 06, 2019
<table class="blogAuthor"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="baImg"><img src="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/bios/retrieveImages.aspx?id=83526" alt="Brent Dowdall"></td> <td> </td> <td class="baText"><strong><a rel="author">Brent Dowdall</a><br> </strong>Senior Manager, Research and Business Development</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Cyber security threats are now considered a global security concern on par with traditional conventional military threats. Our interconnected world means that cyber threats and hybrid warfare incorporate a complex mix of hostile actors and a wide range of tactics. The rapid evolution of technology, combined with the ability of attackers to quickly adopt new offensive tools and techniques, further exacerbates the threat. Open liberal democracies have an interest in overcoming the risks of cyber attacks—to protect the critical infrastructure we rely on, personal privacy and business continuity, and even democratic institutions themselves.</p> <p>The Government of Canada is developing cyber capabilities to protect the country from virtual threats and to work within defence alliances. Among its key partners should be European countries, working both within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and with the European Union (EU) itself.</p> <p>With Europe on the front lines of hostile state and non-state actors, the EU has taken a more assertive role in organizing its own cyber security defences and those of its member states. The EU’s <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/">Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)</a> initiative has put cyber security at the top of the priority list for greater collaboration and cooperation among member states.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/project/cyber-rapid-response-teams-and-mutual-assistance-in-cyber-security/">Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRT) and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security</a> project is among the most advanced of the projects under the PESCO initiative. CRRT will allow member states to help each other to ensure higher level of cyber resilience and to collectively respond to cyber incidents. Lithuania leads the EU cooperation project in cyber defence, with eight more EU member states—Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Poland, Netherlands, France, Romania, and Finland—participating in the project (Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, and Germany are observers of the project).</p> <p>The aim of this project is to integrate the expertise among member states in the field of cyber defence. The rapid response teams are able to assist with training, diagnostics, and attribution forensics, and to provide assistance in operations.</p> <p>At the <a href="https://www.eucanada.eu/">5th&nbsp;European Union Security and Defence Symposium</a>, held in Ottawa on March&nbsp;20, 2019, the panel session PESCO in Action: Confronting Hybrid/Cyber Threats will outline the progress being made on the CRRT and how Canada and the EU can work together to strengthen our shared responsibilities in the field of cyber threats. The Conference Board of Canada is a partner in developing the program for the event. Participants include senior EU officials, Canadian governments officials, and experts from both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>Canada is far from exempt from the potential consequences of cyber threats. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s most recent threat assessment says that 2019 could be a particularly harrowing year for Canadian individuals, businesses, and institutions.<span class="sup"><a href="#ftn1-ref" name="ftn1" id="ftn1">1</a></span></p> <p>Given the high and rising threat of cyber attacks, it is also important to promote the concept of cyber resilience. Unlike cyber security, which is usually very focused on prevention and protection, cyber resilience recognizes that successful cyber attacks may be inevitable. Therefore, cyber resilience promotes the need to ensure organizations can maintain critical functions and quickly return to normal in the wake of an attack. Improving organizational cyber resilience will be the focus of the Conference Board’s <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a> conference.</p> <p>As governments and businesses alike face new threats, decision-makers and organizational leaders need to stay up to date on the latest cyber-security trends. Ongoing research and dialogue—by sharing the successes, weaknesses, and learnings—is perhaps the most effective defensive weapon we can collectively wield against these threats.</p> <hr> <h3>Related Conference</h3> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a><br> May 27, 2019, Toronto</p> <br><br> <p class="footnote" style="padding-top: 1.25em;"><a id="ftn1-ref" name="ftn1-ref" href="#ftn1">1</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cindy Baker, <a href="https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canada-is-a-prime-target-for-cybersecurity-attacks-in-2019/414201">“Canada Is a Prime Target for Cybersecurity Attacks in 2019.”</a> <em>IT World Canada</em>, January&nbsp;16, 2019.</p>

Four Employee Trends Disrupting Traditional Benefits Plans

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| May 01, 2019
<p>As workplaces become more generationally diverse, the needs of employees have become more complex. More than ever, HR professionals are looking for ways to respond to these varied needs.</p> <p>Employers have their work cut out for them when it comes to remaining cost-effective while providing today’s workforce with the most valuable health benefits.</p> <p>Based on the <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">2019 Benefits Benchmarking</a> report, here are the <strong>top four employee trends disrupting traditional benefits plans:</strong></p> <h2>Cannabis in the Workplace</h2> <p>Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, and the number of authorized users has grown dramatically. By mid-2018, 342,000 Canadians were registered to use legally.</p> <p>Due to the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, medical cannabis is expected to be more common. Employees are increasingly turning to their employers with questions about coverage. Yet, only a handful of the Canadian organizations we surveyed offer coverage for medical cannabis.</p> <p>Employers should consider creating strategies that are mindful of this new frontier.</p> <h2>Aging Workforce </h2> <p>The needs of Canadian employees have become increasingly complex as Canada’s largest generation continues to work past the typical retirement age. This has put pressure on the health care system. Employers find themselves challenged to address the needs of this generation head-on.</p> <p>Organizations are aware of this trend, and they are looking for technology to better manage health care needs.</p> <h2>Increase Use of Biologic Drugs </h2> <p>There has been an increase in the use of biologic drugs and a greater focus on paramedical services. This has made it difficult for organizations to decide where to invest resources.</p> <p>Given this growing trend, having a drug cost management strategy is becoming increasingly important for the long-term sustainability of benefits plans.</p> <h2>Virtual Health Care and Wellness </h2> <p>Organizations are seeking more cost-effective, creative, and proactive ways to maintain and improve employee health. Canadian organizations are increasingly turning to new technologies that focus on prevention, such as virtual wellness technologies to manage health and fitness and pharmacogenetic testing.</p> <p>Different industries align their benefits strategies with virtual wellness technologies in varying ways. Their focuses may include physical wellness, improving financial wellness, reducing stress, absenteeism, or productivity.</p> <p><strong>Get ahead of these disruptors by leveraging data from 217 Canadian organizations in the 2019 Benefits Benchmarking report.</strong> <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">Read on</a>.</p>

Five Trends That Will Change the Way Your Company Structures Benefits

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| Mar 20, 2019
<p>Employee expectations are changing, and nowhere is this more evident than in benefit offerings. </p> <p> Canadian employers are being challenged to appeal to a multi-generational workforce. Varied employee needs have given rise to an evolved style of benefit offerings: one that is flexible, but keeps an eye on cost. </p> <p> How can you stay ahead of the curve? We surveyed 217 organizations for our new <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html">Benefits Benchmarking&nbsp;2019</a> report, collecting data that reflect the experiences of 1.2&nbsp;million employees. </p> <p><strong>Here are five trends in employee benefits that will give your organization an edge:</strong></p> <h2>More Flexible Benefits</h2> <p>Flexibility is the name of the game in 2019. Increasingly, employers are managing costs by letting employees decide what supports are best for them and their families. In our survey, we found that a record-breaking <strong>two-thirds of Canadian employers are now offering more innovative health care spending accounts (HCSAs) to employees at all levels</strong>.</p> <h2>Wellness Apps Supporting Employee Well-Being</h2> <p>Wellness apps are proving to be a win-win. Employees who use these apps are reaping the rewards of being proactive about their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, employers benefit from happier, healthier employees.</p> <h2>Medical Marijuana Offered as an Employee Benefit</h2> <p>The green wave has arrived in Canada. It’s no surprise that medical cannabis is starting to find its way into employee benefit offerings. While only 6&nbsp;per cent of organizations currently cover medical cannabis, <strong>close to half (48&nbsp;per cent) of respondents report they are considering doing so in the future</strong>.</p> <h2>Outsourcing Benefits Administration</h2> <p>With the emergence of new HR technologies, outsourcing your benefits administration can significantly impact your bottom line while meeting employees’ wellness needs.</p> <h2>Offering Mental Health Support to Employees</h2> <p>Conversations around mental health in the workplace have hit critical mass, bolstered by the gigantic #BellLetsTalk movement. Approximately two-thirds of all responding organizations report enhancing or introducing strategies to support employees’ mental health and wellness. </p> <p><strong>How does your organization stack up? Optimize your employee benefits with data from 217&nbsp;organizations. </strong><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><strong>Get the Benefits Benchmarking 2019 report.</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><img src="/images/default-source/cboc-images-public/22685_benefits_552x147_final.jpg?sfvrsn=b9274e13_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="Benefits_552x147" title="Benefits_552x147"></a></p>

Upcoming Events

Module 1: Accountability and Change (The Directors College, Chartered Director Program)
Jan 15–17 | Vancouver

Oil and Gas Summit 2015: Fundamentals, Financials, Prices, and Politics
Jan 19–20 | Calgary

Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces Workshop
Jan 28 | Ottawa

Webinars

There for each other: a role for everyone in workplace mental health
Nov 14 at 2:00 PM

Compensation Planning Outlook 2020 Webinar
Nov 21 at 2:00 PM

Why Canada’s Arctic Matters
Nov 26 at 11:00 AM