Competency frameworks could be the answer to skill mismatches in Canada, report says

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Competency frameworks could be the answer to skill mismatches in Canada, report says

by ahnationtalk on April 8, 2015123492 Views


CALGARY, AB – A pan-Canadian system of evaluating and certifying competence would help ensure workers have the skills needed to do their jobs well and make the country a stronger international competitor, a report concludes.

The report, Competence is the Best Credential, advocates for the adoption of a competency certification system similar to those widely used in Europe, some regions of the United States, and other countries around the world.

Taking into account both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, competency frameworks set out clearly the skills, knowledge and attributes workers need to perform specific jobs. The report notes that while some institutions and industry associations have begun to develop their own competency frameworks, overall “Canada lags behind.”

“Canadian stakeholders can benefit from the experience of other countries,” the report states. “By learning what works, and knowing what practices to avoid, a Canadian system could be the answer to our widely reported skills mismatches.”

“The report was the result of collaboration between the Canada West Foundation and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

“We have more certificates, diplomas and degrees than ever before, and still have huge skill mismatches in our labour market,” says Janet Lane, Director of the Foundation’s Centre for Human Capital Policy, who wrote the report with Research Analyst Naomi Christensen. “While education is never wasted, students deserve a better return on their investment of time and tuition.”

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Academic degrees and diplomas have been used as proxies for the skills and knowledge needed to perform a job. While Canada has one of the best-educated and highly credentialed workforces in the world, those credentials don’t ensure our workforce is the most competent.

The report argues that Canadian firms need high levels of labour productivity to sustain wages that are higher than some international competitors. Pan-Canadian competency credentialing will also increase labour mobility and reduce time consumed in the recruitment and hiring process.

As Canada moves toward such a system, the report recommends:

  • awareness of the concerns of post-secondary schools
  • involvement of industry and government
  • a review of prior credentialing experience
  • respect for provincial jurisdiction, and
  • further information gathering

The full report can be accessed on and

The Canada West Foundation focuses on the policies that shape the West’s quality of life. Through evidence-based research and commentary, the Foundation provides objective, practical solutions. For more than 40 years, we have been a passionate advocate for western Canada.

Founded in 1976, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives is the senior voice of Canada’s business community, representing 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country. Its member companies collectively employ 1.5 million Canadians and are responsible for most of Canada’s private sector investments, exports, workplace training and research and development.


Doug Firby
Director of Communications
403-831-8812 [email protected] 

Sarah Reid
Communications Officer
613-288-3861 [email protected]


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