The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards and accreditation services. The Council takes it’s mandate from the Standards Council of Canada Act so as to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization in the country. SSC is governed by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development with support from Standards Committees. The adjacent figure presents the stakeholders involved in the process of standard development. The following is a breakdown of the standard development process:
There are 34 Sector Councils in Canada which are supported by a Sector Council Program. This federal level Program extends support to the network of sector councils with a view to:
The Sector Councils in the country are set up on the initiative of key stakeholders in the sector – business, labour and education – in the light of current and emerging human resources and skills issues, such as a labour shortage in the sector, the fear of lay-offs or the need to upgrade the skills of existing workforce.
Sector Councils are endowed with the key responsibility of developing national standards, forecasting and analysis i.e. up-to-date labour market information and creating awareness about careers by taking actions.
The council was established in 1992 as the as the Software Human Resources Council. However, it adopted it’s new name as Information and Communications Technology Council to reflect an expanded mandate. ICTC is regarded as a centre of expertise in digital Economy research, labour market intelligence, policy development, program management and delivery. The council has established a strong network of industry, academia and government via which it accelerates Canada’s future economies by empowering industries to maintain a globally competitive advantage through a highly-skilled and innovative workforce.
o Each sector council (including ICTC) is required to develop a five year plan. This strategic plan is evaluated and updated annually. The Sector Council and Sector Council Program jointly identify projects that meet industry needs and align them to the country’s policy priorities.
o There is a comprehensive and rigorous annual assessment of the performance of each individual Sector Council including ICTC. Sector Councils are required to fill out an Annual Performance Survey covering issues such as key human resources challenges, sector’s contribution to the GDP, the significance of the the degree of responsiveness of the Council to needs in the sector, the level to which the Council is connected to other stakeholders (i.e. to the education and learning system, the provinces and territories, departments, other Councils, etc), quantitative and qualitative outputs, results and impacts achieved by the Council.
Stakeholders are a part of standard development process from the very beginning and their representation reflects their importance in the sector. The representation takes into account: regions, industry or business size, industries according to the goods and services offered and the processes of manufacture or processing in the sector, unions and associations of workers, and experts in the industry or business.
o With the aim of fostering industry-education partnerships, and exploring innovative models of work-integrated learning, ICTC has partnered with academic institutions such as Carleton University and Bow Valley College.
o Focus on IT (FIT) is an innovative program that allows students gain essential ICT and business skills while completing their high school diploma. The program is developed alongside top educational and industry professionals and aligns professional skills with provincial curricula and provides a clear pathway of courses for students to follow. This ensures that students gain relevant knowledge and skills demanded by industry by the time they complete their graduation course.
o With close ties to business, industry and community partners, public colleges and institutes benefit from business and industry input for curriculum development through Program Advisory Committees (PACs). PACs ensure programmes are current and relevant to industry, business and society. In guiding the development of college programmes, they help to ensure graduates are well prepared to begin their careers.
ICTC has undertaken a national pre-arrival initiative, ‘GO Talent’ for newcomers with experience in the ICT sector. The initiative is centrally focused on assisting internationally educated professionals maneuver the Canadian ICT labour market through the development and implementation of integration programs. These programs provide assessment, skills development and work practicum opportunities that address language, culture, soft and business skills required at Canadian workplace. This initiative brings advantage to both employers and job-seekers. It enables immigrants navigate job opportunities and skills required by Canadian employers. Employers on the other hand use GO Talent as a platform to demonstrate demand for internationally educated ICT Professionals.
ICTC works and collaborates with employers in emerging technological areas such as fintech, advanced manufacturing, intelligent retail, cyber security, artificial intelligence, and various other sectors to develop new models for industry and education.
o Approximately, 216,000 technology related positions will need to be filled in Canada by 2021 according to ICTC’s Labour Market Outlook Report 2017-2021. One of the most crucial instrument helping Canada achieve this goal is based in equipping students with relevant skills that can meet current and future industry needs. Owing to technological changes, Canadian ICTC has undertaken a new initiative, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) that focuses on shaping the country’s future workforce. This initiative is expected to help in developing talent for the emerging ICT sectors, support businesses, and increase digital adoption in the country. It also enables students and recent graduates to work, learn on the job, and develop the skills necessary to successfully integrate in the changing labour market of the digital economy
o Digital Development and Acceleration of Skills Hub Initiative (DASH) Initiative is a 17-month program for grades 6-12 aimed at developing digital skills among the existing youth that will open pathways towards digitally-enabled careers. The initiative identifies real-world, in-demand and emerging skills, and map them to existing provincial curricula by fostering partnership with educators and industry players. The partnership is believed to help integrate and augment digital skills development both inside and outside classroom. ICT Council expects that this will offer solution to Canada’s skills shortages, while equipping the youth with the tools to navigate an ever-changing career environment.
The Advancing Tech Women (ATW) initiative is aimed at strengthening women’s economic prosperity by increasing their retention and career advancement opportunities in ICT occupations across four major sectors, namely—natural resources, construction, manufacturing, and trades. The initiative also addresses the systemic barriers that women face in the ICT sector.
It is interesting to note that workers/Association of workers are one of the key actors involved in standard development process. This is suggestive of the fact that other than industry players, union members and sectoral members, the people who are actually implementing the job i.e. workers are giving their feedbacks basis which the standards are developed.
There are a series of bilateral MOU’s between the two countries that reinforce collaboration in 8 priority sectors, namely agriculture, civil aviation, energy, rail, transportation, education, higher education and Information and Communications Technology.
The All India Council for Technical Education and Carleton University have come into partnership, supporting women entrepreneurship and to promote collaboration between India and Canada. The partnership will help 50 women-led Tech startups from each country, through an exchange program, mentorship, internship opportunity, and potential seed funding. Both the countries have identified woman entrepreneurship as an enabler of social and economic empowerment. However, the goal of the program is not only to support women entrepreneurship but also foster collaboration and trade between India and Canada.
In feb 2018, an MoU has been signed between Canada-based public-private innovation hub Communitech and Hyderabad-based startup incubator T-Hub . This has been done to collaborate and extend support to global commercialization of each other’s technology companies. This partnership is believed to help Canadian startups and technology firms have direct access to Indian markets and support on the ground to make India’s ecosystem vibrant and technology driven.
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