Thursday, April 05, 2012

Some studies have us scratching our heads

There’s a quote that says that 95% of what you worry about never happens. If you read the recent report released by the Human Resources Professional Association together with the financial services firm of Deloitte, you would think that Canada is doomed. The alarming report, titled, Canada Works 2025, claims that aggressive outsourcing will hollow out Canadian business; prolonged economic recovery will have left people without jobs and jobs without skilled people; and immigration will sputter in response to the country's lacklustre global brand.

This is the projection if Canada keeps to the status quo. The report is an analysis of the demographic, technological, environmental and economic factors that will shape Canadian society in the upcoming years and draws on insight from 52 world thinkers within the business, academic and government sectors, as well as extensive in-house and secondary research.

On one hand, these reports are good to shed light on situations that may happen -- at the very least, it should initiate interesting discussions about what to and what not to do to sustain the future of Canadian life. On the other hand, if we examine what these “thinkers” were examining, we’ll see that many of the recommend strategies are already in place.

The Canadian government and private sector companies are already making some of the necessary changes to create a strong, sustainable Canada.

One recommended strategy includes making formal adjustments for the aging workforce such as: flexible work-time arrangements; pension incentives; phased retirement; wellness programs; and self-paced work environments. Both the private and public sectors have already implemented these strategies. Even the recent changes to the retirement age will have a positive affect going forward.

Another recommend strategy is matching post-secondary course offerings to employment market demand. Hmmm, community colleges have been doing that for years. Course offerings have to be relevant to the marketplace or the college wouldn’t survive.

Another area is reforming immigration to more effectively leverage the contributions of new Canadians. This has been a topic of discussion for the last two years and no doubt the government will address the issue in upcoming sessions.

The report also suggests that Canada make calculated investments in industry and infrastructure. While it’s true that cost-cutting may have its drawbacks, it’s also a good idea to invest in these areas – when the money is available, which is likely in the very near future. The Canadian government has shown it has the wherewithal to protect and grow the economy.

Yes, it’s important to have studies to see where we’re at and where we are going but we need to be wary of doom and gloom predictions, especially in areas where changes are already taking place.

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