Today’s world is more interconnected, more competitive and more fragile than it has ever been. The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, disruptions to global supply chains, climate change and a historic labour market shortage have all highlighted this for our country in stark terms.
Canadian employers are struggling to fill job openings with highly skilled workers, while workers in vulnerable sectors worry about their livelihoods and will need access to up-skilling and re-skilling.
Canada is facing a talent crunch and cannot afford to fall behind in what is now more than ever a global competition. We face an environment in which we will have to become more innovative to compete globally for a prosperous and sustainable future for Canada.
The solution to these challenges is investing in people and ideas – Canada can succeed if our workforce is diverse and full of adaptable people working to discover, innovate and commercialize new ideas.
The upcoming federal budget therefore represents an important crossroads in a changing and competitive world. International peers and global competitors are investing in research and formulating new innovation policies, while recent Canadian investments are flatlining and sunsetting. Canada cannot be complacent.
Universities can contribute to Canada’s future prosperity by attracting and teaching learners throughout their lives, by conducting the research that powers economic growth through innovation, and by maintaining and building on a well-deserved global reputation for inclusive excellence.
Universities Canada welcomes the chance to share our recommendations with the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance on how universities can be empowered to be of continued service to Canada. We have an important opportunity as a country to make transformative investments in our own future, and universities are ready to deliver on Canada’s needs.