On October 17, 2018, the House of Commons Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities tabled their report on “Experiential Learning and Pathways to Employment for Canadian Youth.” Engineers Canada, along with Annette Bergeron, Engineers Canada President, were mentioned directly in the presentation of findings, based on several recommendations we made in June:
- Paid engineering co-operative placements: The report made a general recommendation in this area, widening the focus to cover other areas.
- Wage subsidies for post-secondary engineering co-op placements: The report made clear that wage subsidies should be provided.
- Support bridging programs for international students who attained an engineering degree from an accredited post-secondary program: Support for newcomers was mentioned throughout the report.
In total, there were seven recommendations from the committee in the report:
- That ESDC work with Statistics Canada to add additional questions to the National Graduate Survey and the Labour Force Survey to better capture data on a broad spectrum of experiential learning opportunities and outcomes, as well as the incidence of paid and unpaid internships.
- That ESDC ensure that Statistics Canada and the Labour Market Information Council deliver across all regions, through interactive platforms, up-to-date, and standardized labour market information that is:
- accessible and engaging to youth
- details the skills and jobs which are in demand in their communities and nearby areas
- includes trade and apprenticeship information
- details training, experience, education, and credentials that are required for different occupations
- That the government be encouraged to expand the opportunities available for Canadians in experiential learning. And that ESDC work through the Horizontal Skills Review, with all departments to expand and continue to support experiential learning programs.
- That Public Service Commission work across all government Departments and Agencies to prioritize hiring to increase experiential learning opportunities for students and increase opportunities for youth, newcomers, and youth from vulnerable populations and at-risk youth.
- That ESDC and Finance Canada analyse and consider financial incentives for apprenticeship training that are easily accessible to employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, such as wage subsidies and a tax credit for training investments.
- That ESDC work with all of government, provinces and territories, and all Canadian employers, to strongly prevent uncompensated internships in Canada. Compensation should take the form of remuneration or course credit in an educational institution but situations where only experience is offered as compensation should not be allowed.
- That ESDC and Statistics Canada work together to collect and disseminate data on employer spending on employee training, experiential learning, employee retention and their correlation. ESDC should use this data to education companies about the value of training in-house and providing adequate levels of ongoing employee training.
Engineers Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to promote the need for paid engineering co-operative placements and will monitor any changes made to the Youth Employment Strategy.