Education & Skills

The Conference Board of Canada helps inform and improve Canada’s education and skills sectors. Through independent and collaborative evidence-based research and analysis, we examine and address key issues in the country’s fast-changing learning ecosystems. Our work provides leaders with the actionable insights they need to build a stronger future.

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Recent releases

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Digital Skills for a Future-Ready World

Our world has become more and more digital in recent decades. Prior to the pandemic, the pace of digitalization was consistently increasing with the non-stop introduction of new digital tools and technologies. The pandemic hit, and that pace accelerated even more.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 11, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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Strengthening Social and Emotional Skills in Adults: The Learning Experience at Canadian Colleges

We know that social and emotional skills (SES)—such as communication, collaboration, and leadership—are critical for life success. Yet the bulk of programs that teach SES end after high school. We continue developing SES in adulthood—through informal experiences like employment, co-ops, volunteering, extracurriculars, and caregiving, as well as formal instruction. These skills are important. So how are post-secondary institutions teaching them?

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 13, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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Bridging the Gap Between Identity and Social and Emotional Skills

According to previous work by The Conference Board of Canada, the changing nature of work is increasing the demand not only for technical skills, but also for social and emotional skills (SES). SES are associated with employability and include skills like leadership, cultural competence, active listening, problem-solving, resiliency, collaboration, and communication.

Issue briefing  |  9-min read
April 13, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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Transforming Learning in a Pandemic Context

Across Canada, in-person learning opportunities for nursing students became limited or stopped completely at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet learning criteria, nursing programs had to pivot. For example, some expanded the use of virtual simulations and scenarios as an alternative to in-person care in hospitals, long-term facilities, or community-based experiences.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 7, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

The Only Constant: Changing Nature of Work and Skills

For several years, education and skills leaders and employers have been thinking and talking about the future of work. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the volume way up on those conversations. It has not been an easy time for employers: seven in 10 small businesses have taken on debt due to COVID-19, and four in 10 businesses say they do not anticipate normal profits again before early 2022.

Impact paper  |  17-min read
March 14, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Essential Skills for Learning and Working: Perspectives From Education and Employment Leaders Across Canada

How can workers be sure they have the skills they will need to succeed? How we learn and demonstrate skills through qualifications is also changing. For example, while there is much uncertainty around the future of microcredentials, these new, short-term offerings are becoming increasingly common.

Impact paper  |  16-min read
March 10, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Social and Digital Infrastructure: Laying the Groundwork for an Inclusive Recovery

Gaps in Canada’s infrastructure leave many without the social and digital supports they need to succeed. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified these gaps. Too many Canadians, without basic services including child care and broadband Internet connection, are unable to access employment and education. In partnership with the Future Skills Centre (FSC), The Conference Board of Canada brought together leaders in education, skills, and training to discuss how to best support the diverse needs of Canadians across regions.

Impact paper  |  18-min read
March 8, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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Beyond the Classroom: The Future of Post-Secondary Education Has Arrived

Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many plans for the post-secondary space, it accelerated positive changes: streamlined virtual learning options made learning more inclusive to older students and those living in remote communities, experiential learning opportunities were expanded outside of major cities, and enrollment across post-secondary education (PSE) programs increased. For many education stakeholders, these pandemic developments are key elements of how to re-envision existing PSIs to ensure a brighter future for Canada.

Impact paper  |  21-min read
March 3, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Recovery for All: Finding Equities in Education and Employment

The pandemic has intensified existing challenges. For example, the nearly two-thirds of rural households with no access to high-speed Internet have had much greater difficulty accessing school, work, and services than those living in urban areas with near-universal Internet access.

Impact paper  |  23-min read
February 17, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

The future of work is now: All must have the opportunity to participate

Canada achieved an important milestone in September, with employment returning to its pre-pandemic peak. However, with the arrival of the Omicron variant, we anticipate a longer runway to recovery, which continues to be uneven, with many groups not fully participating. Addressing these inequities will require a multi-faceted approach so that everyone can share in the country’s prosperity.

Op-ed  |  4-min read
February 8, 2022
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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How Ontario Universities Benefit Regional Economies

The purpose of this study is to quantify the collective economic impacts of Ontario universities in the various regions of the province. Universities create economic and social value for their host communities through a multitude of channels. First, universities support economic activity via spending related to their activities.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
December 9, 2021

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Searching for Strengths: Gaps and Opportunities for Social and Emotional Skills Development in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector

The tourism and hospitality (T&H) sector was hit especially hard by the pandemic. The International Monetary Fund reported that the industry “will continue to struggle until people feel safe to travel en masse again.” Helping displaced workers in the sector find new and meaningful employment is crucial to both the people who have been directly affected and the broader economic recovery.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
September 21, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Finding Value: Identifying and Assessing Social and Emotional Skills in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the tourism and hospitality (T&H) sector, leading to business closures and employee layoffs. Traditionally, the T&H sector attracts young Canadians with little to no work experience. Yet young T&H workers who have no work experience outside of the sector have been severely impacted by layoffs.

Impact paper  |  15-min read
September 21, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Helping Canadians navigate a changing job market

The global pandemic has hit Canada’s employment landscape hard and forced many Canadians to transition to new opportunities in search of stability. Many jobs in industries such as travel, hospitality and retail have temporarily vanished, causing tens of thousands of people to look for new employment opportunities. Helping Canadians adapt to these very real and accelerating changes in their careers is a central challenge in how we envision a future of shared prosperity in Canada.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
April 9, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

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OpportuNext: Online Career Transition Tool

A new solution for a changing job market. Switching careers can be hard—but what if there were an easier way to identify, assess and pursue new opportunities? The Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre are excited to launch a free online tool designed to help job placement professionals, jobseekers and employers quickly and easily explore viable career transition pathways.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 8, 2021

Flexibility key for employers and job seekers in a post-COVID world

Succeeding in the post-pandemic labour market will require Canadian employers and employees to embrace a paradigm shift when it comes to seeking and filling jobs. Labour markets in this country were rocked in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment in Canada fell by more than 15 per cent in just two months. Certain sectors were hit harder than others, and both workers and employers have struggled to find their footing again. In many cases, workers are finding that there is no job to return to.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
March 17, 2021

A Path Forward: Job Transitions in Canada

Workers considering a career change need to better understand how to capitalize on their current skills, education, abilities, experience, and knowledge. Similarly, human resource professionals, educational institutions, and labour market policy-makers need a better sense of what skills, education, abilities, experience, and knowledge characteristics make someone more employable, today and in the future.

Impact paper  |  25-min read
March 16, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Modelling Job Transitions in Canada

Employment in Canada is going to look different in the future. The types of education, abilities, skills, and experiences that employers seek are evolving amid a confluence of forces reshaping the nature of work around the world. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, unmanned vehicles, and the Internet of Things, the growing share of knowledge-based services, and the rise of technology-enabled platforms will reshape careers.

Primer  |  20-min read
March 16, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Tradespeople face triple threat of COVID, digitization and shifting economy

Despite significant disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, strong demand for skilled tradespeople persists across Canada. Ongoing demand means the talent development pipeline is more important than ever and Canada’s apprenticeship systems will need to adapt to labour market changes. The two top priorities are reducing barriers to digital learning for apprentices and integrating a stronger focus on social and emotional skills development throughout the apprenticeship pathway.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
February 5, 2021

Social and Emotional Skills Are Top of Mind Across Canada

When we asked people across Canada to identify the most important skills for career success, they overwhelmingly identified social and emotional skills (SES), like communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills, along with leadership and adaptability.

Summary for executives  |  4-min read
January 25, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

What Are Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions Saying and Doing?

Beyond what institutions are saying, we also wanted to understand what they are doing to develop student SES. Post-secondary activities that promote SES development fall into two categories: extra-curricular or embedded within programs and curricula. We scanned PSI program and departmental websites to find examples from across Canada.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
January 21, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Working Students, Building Futures

To stay competitive in the wake of COVID-19, Canadian businesses will need talent with practical experience and future-relevant skills. One of the most promising ways to do this is by expanding access to work-integrated learning (WIL).

Online experience  |  8-min read
January 13, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Featured researcher

Heather McIntosh

Heather McIntosh

Associate Director, Education & Skills

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