Canada: Digital Talent – Road to 2020 and Beyond

Brussels and Ottawa - Digital Talent: Road to 2020 and Beyond is Canada’s first national digital talent strategy. It highlights the opportunities and challenges facing Canada’s digital economy and underscores the importance of digital talent as one of the most critical advantages for Canada in a global economy. The strategy is aimed at ensuring that Canadians are well prepared to succeed as skilled workers and entrepreneurs in this fast pace economy, as well paving the way for greater participation as consumers and citizens in an increasingly digital world.

 

This digital talent strategy has been developed by ICTC in partnership with Microsoft Canada and was launched on 9 March 2016. It highlights the opportunities and challenges facing Canada’s digital economy and underscores the importance of digital talent as one of the most critical advantages for Canada in a global economy. To develop the strategy, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) consulted with industry, education, government, and professionals in information and communications technology (ICT) sector from across Canada to ensure a broad representation of stakeholders and supplemented those insights with an extensive review of published research as well as data from Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Statistics Canada.

In total, the strategy reflects the inputs of more than 500 individuals and organizations who contributed their ideas over a three-month period. The strategy is a living document that will continue to evolve through ongoing stakeholder engagement with a view to implementing the recommendations. As the strategy sets a path to move forward, three national taskforces, comprised of industry, education and government leaders, have been formed: 1) Education and Skills; 2) Industry Growth; and 3) Diversity and Inclusion. The taskforces will set the course for 2020 and beyond and will engage a wide array of stakeholders to support the move from strategy into action.

The purpose of the Digital Talent Strategy is to provide practical recommendations that will position Canada’s talent as a comparative advantage in an increasingly global and rapidly evolving digital landscape. This strategy is aimed at preparing Canada’s workforce and entrepreneurial capacity to fuel the economy, and ensuring that Canadians have the digital skills to fully participate as consumers and citizens in an increasingly digital world. This strategy is also unique in that it targets both the “vertical” ICT industry and the “horizontal” adopters of ICT and digital technologies, both of which depend on a strong, vibrant digitally-savvy workforce. This strategy contains practical recommendations aimed at building Canada’s digital talent base for today and the future. Those recommendations are organized according to the following categories:

1.       Nurturing a strong youth talent pipeline

2.       Leveraging Canada’s diverse talent

3.       Supporting work force upskilling to enhance digital adoption

4.       Attracting and retaining global digital talent

5.       Strengthening digital literacy and digital skills for Canadians

6.       Fostering digital entrepreneurship

7.       Building labour mobility pathways to fill high demand occupations.

According to ICTC, implementing this strategy will contribute meaningfully to the promise of real change for Canadians. It will ensure that SMEs, the engine of our economy, and all Canadian businesses are well equipped to respond to a rapidly evolving global economy. Moreover, it will ensure that Canadians, particularly youth, will be well prepared to succeed as skilled workers and entrepreneurs in our increasingly digital and global economy. Especially the categories 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the digital talent strategy have a relationship to e-leadership skills development.

The policy strategy document was recently launched and is a timely strategy as ICT and STEM skills shortage abound. As such, in collaboration with an extensive network of partners, ICTC is bringing together key leaders representing education, government and industry across Canada to form three national taskforces to action the goals for this strategy and establish key metrics for its success.

Contractor

A service contract has been awarded in December 2013 by the European Commission to a consortium led by empirica to undertake this work.

The event is supported by the EC in the scope of the service contract to promote e-leadership in Europe (LEAD)