Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s skills development programs provide Canadians with an important gateway to the Canadian economy by equipping them with the skills they need to participate in a changing labour market. Programs offered by both governments and non-governmental organizations are designed to support people on the path to employment and career development success, and to develop skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern economy.
Canada needs a robust training system with policies and programs that anticipate skill needs, maintain the relevance of training, ensure accessibility for all residents of Canada, and continuously evaluate the social and economic outcomes of training (International Labour Office, 2011). With its mandate to promote skills development, labour market participation and inclusiveness, and labour market efficiency, ESDC’s Skills and Employment Branch relies on research and analysis of the skills gaps, learning needs, and barriers faced by Indigenous Peoples and other equity deserving groups in order to adapt and target its programs and services.
To support this objective, Budget 2019 provided ESDC with funding to develop a strategy to improve the Department’s capacity to better measure, monitor, and address gender disparity and promote access of underrepresented groups across its skills programming, while also improving inclusivity and reducing employment disparities. The Branch’s Strategic Integration and Corporate Affairs (SICA) Directorate has been tasked with developing this strategy, which calls for a comprehensive overview of the most up-to-date research and practice-based evidence.
SRDC was previously commissioned by ESDC to conduct a review of the systemic barriers, skills gaps, and learning needs of different equity deserving groups. These, together with observations and promising programming practices, are outlined in our final report in 2021.
For this second phase of work, The Skills and Employment Branch (SEB) at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) engaged SRDC to undertake a case study analysis of best practices to provide concrete recommendations for how ESDC’s skills and training programs can better measure, monitor, and report client outcomes for Indigenous Peoples and other equity deserving groups.
This research focused on the breadth and depth of reporting by recommending different interventions that could a) improve the frequency of voluntary client reporting and b) improve the ability of programs to better measure and monitor outcomes of Indigenous Peoples and other equity deserving groups. The recommendations will apply to programs where clients are directly served by ESDC, as well as programs delivered by third-party service providers through grants and contribution agreements (i.e., provincial and territorial governments, not-for-profit organizations).
The findings can be used to inform the program and policy design of ESDC’s skills and training programs. To learn more, read the full report here!