Ottawa is launching a $250 million training program targeting skills needed for high-growth sectors, federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Friday.
The program, funding for which was announced in the 2021 budget, will help 15,000 mid-career workers transition to new positions in sectors including cleantech, cybersecurity and biomanufacturing, he said.
“I am one of those who believe that we have everything that the new economy needs and wants. It starts with the people,” Mr. Champagne said.
The Upskilling for Industry initiative will be delivered through the non-profit organization Palette Skills, which was chosen after a call for applications closed last year, the minister said.
Mr. Champagne said the initiative will connect industry, employers, post-secondary institutions and private training providers to offer skills enhancement programs.
The funding will support the development and implementation of short-cycle skills upgrading programs based on industry needs, it said.
“Tectonic shifts” are occurring with the move toward a green economy and a more digital world, Champagne said.
“Canada has what the 21st century economy needs,” he said.
Palette CEO Rhonda Barnet said organizations across the country, such as training organizations and post-secondary institutions, will be able to propose programs and apply for funding.
Specific training programs will last between four and 16 weeks, he said.
Speaking at a Canadian Club event in Toronto on Friday afternoon, the minister said Canada faces generational opportunities that must be seized.
He said Canada’s greatest asset is talent, and he said that’s what allows the country to attract big investment in key sectors.
He said Canada has seen unprecedented investment in emerging technologies because it has the fundamentals to back it, citing a hydrogen plant Air Products Canada is building in Alberta as an example.
“I am very pleased to say that Canada continues to be a great magnet for talent,” he said.
Mr. Champagne said that food security, energy security and supply chain resilience are top of mind for leaders around the world, and he believes that Canada can play an important role in all three of these areas.