Reports & Data
As the world struggles with the uncertainty of a major economic downturn, the need to ensure that Canadians have the right skills and knowledge for a sustainable economy—now and in the future—is suddenly thrown into high relief. With jobs becoming vulnerable or disappearing, many Canadians are being forced to rethink their future. They are asking themselves, “What can I do now? Do I have the skills I need?”
The Canadian Council on Learning’s third annual report on the state of PSE in Canada offers a much-needed perspective for informed public discussion about the future of PSE in this country and how the sector can best help Canadians to find success.
An in-depth look at the stories behind some of the findings in CCL’s 2008–2009 report.
Post-secondary education (PSE) refers to the skills and knowledge acquired through academic, technical and vocational courses and programs provided by universities, colleges and trade schools, including apprenticeships. Each component of the PSE sector makes a vital contribution to Canada’s social and economic development. All three are necessary to ensure Canada’s continued progress and must be valued equally.
Post-secondary education (PSE) empowers people to fulfil their potential, reduces poverty and social disruption, makes communities resilient and keeps economies productive and competitive. This has always been true, but PSE has never mattered more to Canada’s long-term welfare. Roughly two-thirds of all job openings now require some type of post-secondary credential. Compounding this new reality, Canada's population of children has declined over the last decade while the Baby Boom generation is entering retirement. The impending exodus of skilled workers demands that Canada maximize the learning potential of all Canadians. Most pressing, Canada’s labour market is out of sync. While jobs are being lost in some industries, positions in other sectors are going unfilled for a lack of appropriately skilled workers. These trends reinforce that post-secondary education is more crucial today than at any time in our country’s history.
The Canadian Council on Learning’s third report on PSE set out to determine whether Canadians have the right skills and knowledge to adapt to a fast-changing economy and how well Canadian PSE responds to their requirements. Meeting our Needs?—the most comprehensive analysis of Canadian post-secondary education ever produced—reveals numerous imbalances that compromise Canada’s capacity to excel in the 21st century. The research-driven report provides context, global comparisons and a vision of what PSE could be. It is intended to inform public discussion about the future of PSE in this country and how the sector can better enable Canadians to succeed.
Note: This report does not contain data made available after Dec. 1, 2008.