One of my first tasks when I joined LMIC last March was to take stock of the considerable efforts undertaken in the past decade to identify labour market information (LMI) gaps in Canada.
In doing this assessment — which is expanded upon in our first LMI Insight — it was important to keep a few things in mind:
- LMI needs have evolved along with changing policies, programs, and the broader economic landscape.
- How information is browsed and consumed by individuals and organizations has also changed dramatically.
Evaluating the gaps in today’s context
Having worked in this area for several years, I knew that we were not starting from scratch and I was acutely aware of the challenges facing Canada’s LMI system. Indeed, all of us at LMIC recognize that the creation of this new not-for-profit was motivated by a call to action by a wide variety of stakeholders to improve pan-Canadian LMI. We are all excited to be part of the solution.
Identifying persistent gaps
We reviewed a number of reports published in recent years, but we also met and talked with our partners in federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions, as well as in our National Stakeholder Advisory Panel and our Labour Market Information Expert Panel. In doing so, we identified four main persistent gaps, still relevant today:
- Information not tailored to specific users: LMI is not easily accessible to Canadians and is rarely provided in a format that lends itself to informed decision-making.
- Absence of local granular data: Lack of sufficiently local and granular data has been consistently identified as a shortcoming in helping Canadians make informed decisions.
- Confusion regarding labour and skill mismatches: Employers and policy makers have long called for LMI that provides insight into skills, in addition to occupations. This lack of insight contributes to a disconnect between the ability of employers to find people with the right skills and for individuals to know what skills and training to invest in. This disconnect is further intensified by dramatic changes in the workplace, such as shifting demographics and new technologies.
- Limited insights on labour market outcomes of Canadians: There is a lack of timely and comparable information and insights on how Canadians — including students, youth, and under-represented groups — are succeeding in the labour market.
Moving forward, LMIC will work with its stakeholders to assess potential approaches and develop solutions to closing these labour market information gaps, including clarifying the respective roles of each stakeholder and that of LMIC.
Where can you learn more?
Each of these gaps is analyzed in greater detail in our inaugural LMI Insight, a new signature publication from LMIC, where we will dig deeper into a range of labour market information issues. In the current LMI Insight, in addition to assessing prevailing LMI gaps and progress to date in key areas, we also highlight the importance of working collaboratively and sharing updates regarding upcoming LMI initiatives across Canada.
We are very proud to share with you the first in our series of LMI Insights.
Emna Braham is a Senior Economist with LMIC. She is currently working to assess the state of labour market information in Canada and conducting forward-looking research in collaboration with stakeholders.