Canadian employers launch national initiative on workplace learning and development

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Date: April 13, 2015

Related Issues Innovation and Competitiveness, Jobs and Skills

Related Initiatives Taking Action for Canada

Canadian employers need to prioritize workplace learning and development to ensure their competitiveness in the rapidly changing global economy, a group of prominent Canadian business leaders said today.

At a conference in Ottawa titled “Creating Opportunities: Jobs and Skills for the 21st Century”, the business leaders said they hope to foster a national conversation about the importance of employer-sponsored skills development.

“Canadian employers as a group can and should do more to ensure that Canadians have the education and skills needed to find and keep good jobs now and in the future,” said Elyse Allan, President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Canada, who is spearheading the initiative on behalf of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

“Investing in workplace learning benefits individuals and organizations alike. Employees gain job satisfaction, security, and better pay. For employers, training represents a valuable recruitment and retention tool and a driver of competitiveness and innovation.”

A recent Conference Board of Canada study suggested that, on average, Canadian employers spend roughly two-thirds as much as their U.S. counterparts on employee training and education.

The Conference Board based that conclusion on data from 115 organizations across the country. Roughly half were government departments, Crown corporations, public agencies or non-profit organizations. The rest were small, medium or large companies.

Employers that took part in the Conference Board study said they invested an average of 1.4 percent of their annual payroll in structured, formal training and education. So-called “informal” learning – learning that occurs spontaneously on the job – was not included in the analysis.

Meanwhile, an internal CCCE survey of 20 large Canadian companies in 2013 found that they invested between 2.1 and 2.4 percent of their annual payroll in employee learning and development.

To raise awareness of the importance of employer-sponsored learning development, and promote increased learning opportunities in the workplace, the Council will:

  • Work with its member companies to develop common approaches to measuring their investments in education and training;
  • Conduct regular surveys of large Canadian private-sector employers to enhance public understanding of their training activities and track changes over time;
  • Develop a network of senior private-sector human resource professionals to help share best practices and exchange ideas on how to improve employer-sponsored training in Canada.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is the senior voice of Canadian business, representing 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country. Its member companies collectively employ 1.5 million Canadians and are responsible for most of Canada’s private sector investments, exports, workplace training and research and development.

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