A new report from the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) highlights what some of Canada’s leading companies are doing to address their ongoing and future talent challenges and what more can be done to strengthen Canada’s upskilling and reskilling ecosystem.

BHER’s new report, Upskilling and Reskilling: how employers are retraining and retaining Canada's workforce, stems from an industry working group made up of BHER members and members of the Business Council of Canada. The goal was to better understand what some of Canada's biggest companies are doing when it comes to upskilling and reskilling their workers, what's driving demand for upskilling and reskilling, what's working, and what's not. The group included business leaders from forestry, financial services, energy, advanced manufacturing, automotive, information technology, construction and real estate.

“We know industry leaders are committed to upskilling and reskilling their workers so we wanted to hear directly from them about what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with, and what remains to be done,” said Val Walker, CEO, BHER. “What we found is that despite being at different stages and responding to unique circumstances, there are common attributes of quality upskilling and reskilling initiatives and no shortage of opportunities to collaborate with post-secondary institutions along the way.”

Key recommendations include:

  • For industry: Industry-led doesn’t need to mean industry-alone. Post-secondary institutions have proven knowledge, infrastructure, and experience in creating quality training programs, particularly through work-integrated learning.
  • For post-secondary institutions: Communicate your capacity and impact. Post-secondary institutions should communicate the value they can provide to support upskilling and reskilling efforts. In many cases, certificate programs and Continuing Education units are good starting points to initiate a discussion about a potential partnership on upskilling or reskilling.
  • For governments: Reduce barriers to upskilling and reskilling for businesses, and invest in what works. Prioritize initiatives that reduce employer barriers to accessing tools, resources, and funding to develop upskilling and reskilling programs. While skills challenges affect businesses of all sizes, SMEs require capacity-building support to invest in upskilling and/or reskilling activities.

“Canada doesn’t need a one-size-fits-all national upskilling strategy. There’s a role to play for everyone. It’s more about coordination, collaboration, and leveraging organizations like BHER to bring people together, avoid the duplication of efforts, and drive real change,” said Walker.

Valerie Walker, CEO, BHER and Matthew McKean, Chief R&D Officer, BHER are available for media interviews to discuss the report and its findings. To schedule an interview, please contact, Nina Lewis, Manager of Communications: @email

Join the conversation:
Twitter: @bhercanada | Facebook: @BHERCanada
LinkedIn: BHER | YouTube: @BherCanada