MRO Magazine

Canada needs clarity on entrepreneurial skills

Canada's standard of living and its values as a nation are at risk without a more entrepreneurial culture and a determination to create many more opportunities for Canadians to put their skills to wor...


September 1, 2000
By MRO Magazine

Canada’s standard of living and its values as a nation are at risk without a more entrepreneurial culture and a determination to create many more opportunities for Canadians to put their skills to work in Canada, an independent Expert Panel on Skills has concluded.

The panel, established by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACST) and co-sponsored by Industry Canada and Human Resources Development Canada, came to these conclusions in the report Stepping Up: Skills and Opportunities in the Knowledge Economy. An adequate supply of skills is but one of several inter-related and essential ingredients that are necessary for growth and wealth creation in the knowledge-based economy.

While the panel found no evidence of a general shortage of technical and scientific skills in the Canadian industry sectors and no evidence of a large-scale brain drain, it did find “worry and frustration across sectors and stakeholder groups, about how fragile our apparent economic success really is and what the future holds unless we refocus our thinking, invest our resources smartly and create new structures for decision-making and action,” according to Jacquelyn Thayer Scott, president and vice-chancellor of University College of Cape Breton, and panel chairman.

Amongst the changes the panel calls for are: improving the functioning of Canada’s labour markets; leveraging its R&D capacity to create new opportunities for enterprise and employment; strengthening cradle-to-pension learning systems; and improving the efficiency of school-to-work-to-school transitions. The report urges completion of the national telecommunications infrastructure and outlines new structures for decision and action. It also challenges industry, the education and training sector, governments and individual Canadians to develop a new mindset about entrepreneurship.

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The ACST established the Expert Panel on Skills in September 1998 to provide independent advice on critical skills in a number of industry sectors where Canada is strong already or where opportunities for economic growth and for job creation are especially high, namely, aerospace, automotive, bio-technologies, environmental technologies, and information and telecommunications technologies. The report is available on line at http://acst-ccst.gc.ca, and as a hard copy along with a CD-ROM containing all of the background materials. For further information, contact Gilles Jasmin, secretary to the Expert Panel on Skills, at (613) 952-1053, e-mail jasmin.gilles@ic.gc.ca.