The pandemic exposed gaps in our social and digital infrastructure. Innovations and investments are needed in areas like child care, mentorship, and broadband Internet to allow Canadians to participate fully in education and work opportunities.
Education and skills leaders agree that social infrastructure (including child care and mentorship programs) and digital infrastructure are critical for people to access employment and education. Reliable access to these infrastructures will foster inclusion, allow individuals to contribute to the growth of their communities, and increase economic well-being.
Mentorship is important at every stage of employment, not only in the job search process. It will be central to retaining international students to fill growing talent shortages as Canada’s population ages.
We need major investments in social infrastructure to support women in the workforce. Affordable child care, flexible work environments, and more robust health and safety workplace practices in women-dominated industries will foster gender equity in Canada’s economic recovery.
Many rural and remote communities still do not have adequate broadband connections. A lack of telecommunications infrastructure makes employment and education difficult to access and impacts essential services like health care.
Businesses need support to participate in the growing digital economy. Governments, post-secondary institutions (PSIs), and industries should collaborate to help organizations understand the benefits of technology and equip workers with digital skills.