COVID-19 has been one of the largest disruptions in the Canadian labour market in the country’s history. Not only were some sectors like tourism nearly decimated, the economy as a whole took a hit – making it extraordinarily difficult for laid-off Canadians to find jobs that they could easily transfer their skills to.

Retraining workers who have lost their jobs so that they can successfully transition into a new field has been an elusive goal for governments. This is partly because skills retraining is a difficult to sector to navigate for policy-makers, but also because studies have shown mixed results in the benefits and drawbacks of this training, which has shaken the public’s confidence in whether or not it’s an economically viable solution.

But given the pandemic’s toll on our labour market, it is time for governments to start taking a serious look at skills training, and to develop a functional system so that workers can find not just any job, but the right job for them.

Kelly Pasolli, along with Karen Myers and Simon Harding of Blueprint, conducted a study for the IRPP that examined previous research on skills training to find what worked and what didn’t. Through this research, they found two promising systems that Canadian workers could benefit from.

For this episode of the Policy Options Podcast, we speak with Kelly Pasolli about these systems, and what Canadian governments need to do to successfully retrain under- or unemployed workers for the post-pandemic future.

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