The Future of Work & Learning | Canada West Foundation

This publication has been derived from Canada West Foundation.

“What disruptions are affecting the labour market? Which skills and competencies are required for new and evolving jobs? How can people and institutions adapt to the future of work and learning? Through this monthly brief, keep on top of developments in the workforce and how education and training are changing today to build the skills and competencies needed for the future.”


The Canadian labour market is extremely tight with 1 million vacant jobs and just over a million unemployed Canadians to fill them.

In contrast, in 2017 there were 1.32 million people looking for work but just 400,000 vacant jobs, a ratio greater than 3:1. Today that ratio is close to 1:1. One factor that contributes to the current state of the labour market is inflation.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem sees job vacancies as a sign of excess consumer and labour demand in Canada. Macklem hopes to reign in demand through interest rate increases which would decrease inflation and with it job vacancies in Canada.

Wage increases have yet to catch up even as Canadian companies are desperate to attract workers and cost of living rises, leading RBC economist Claire Fan to say “wages might still accelerate.”  BMO Chief Executive Douglas Porter points to the 6.2 per cent year over year increase in wages, one of the largest increases over the past 30 years.

The price of gas is also affecting the search for work. With the increase in energy prices, Canadians want to work closer to home to save on commute costs. This parameter has narrowed the job search radius for unemployed Canadians which decreases potential work opportunities.


Data collected from B.C.’s Ministry of Health reveals that virtual care by physicians increased nearly 2,000 per cent at the height of the pandemic when restrictions were in place. The number of virtual care services jumped to 13,946,806 in 2020-21 from 684,059 in 2019-20. 

In Alberta, the Edmonton Zone Virtual Hospital has 60 virtual beds. The joint University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services project serves patients with multiple medical issues who have been discharged from acute care. Connecting patients with primary care physicians,  project care includes medication management, complex care management and self-care education. The project has led to a 51 per cent reduction in emergency room visits. Alberta Health is looking to expand the model across the province. 

The Alberta government has expanded its smartphone app designed to prevent fatal overdoses in people using drugs when alone. The app, called the Digital Overdose Response System, alerts emergency responders if a participant becomes unresponsive to a pre-set timer. 

The Future of Work & Learning Brief is compiled by Stephany Laverty, Janet Lane, Justin Rodych, Connor Watrych and Jasleen Bahia.