Ottawa launches Upgrade Your Skills campaign

Education savings benefits, volunteer and work placement opportunities available to youth, adults

Ottawa launches Upgrade Your Skills campaign

The federal government has launched a new campaign to help Canadians gain the skills needed to succeed in today’s labour market.

Upgrade Your Skills advertising campaign, Ottawa is informing Canadian youth and adults about government financial supports and programs available to them.

“Investing in the workers of today means experiencing a successful workforce tomorrow,” said Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, workforce development and official languages.

“We must provide for workers so they have the right skill sets to find higher paying jobs, protect our standard of living and build a stronger, more resilient Canadian economy.”

Canada Student Financial Assistance Program

The campaign is directing youth (age 18 to 24) looking to start their career and adults (age 25 to 54) looking to upskill and change or improve their career to a repository of information about resources that Canadians can benefit from.

These include:

This campaign reaches out to the target audience through social media, web, digital radio, public digital displays and national broadcast media.

It supports Ottawa’s efforts to help Canadians access support to overcome barriers to employment and gain valuable work skills and experience to be ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow, according to the government.

Previously, Google and the Saskatchewan government also announced upskilling opportunities for workers.

Why are people unemployed in Canada?

In December 2023, there were 706,000 job vacancies in Canada and 1.2 million Canadians were unemployed. Numerous factors play a role in this, according to the federal government, including:

  • More than one in five working-age Canadians (21.8%) are close to retirement age (between 55 and 64 years), an all-time high in the history of Canadian censuses.
  • With COVID-19 accelerating digitalization and automation, workers with digital skills are now in high demand.
  • More employees have flexible work arrangements and now make it part of their job search criteria. In fact, in 2023, 20.1% of workers were working from home, up from 7.1% in 2016, said the government. 
  • According to the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, second quarter 2023, businesses cited recruiting skilled employees as the second-most challenging expected obstacle, after inflation.
  • Among recent immigrants who arrived in Canada in the previous five years with work experience or post-secondary credentials from abroad, nearly 6 in 10 (58.2%) have faced difficulties finding work. Not having enough Canadian job experience (22.7%), having no connections in the job market (20.3%) and lacking enough references from Canada (18.5%) were their most common challenges.

A majority of organizations in Canada do not have a mentorship program in place, heightening the risk of brain drain as older employees retire, according to a previous report.

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