The world of work is changing. Digitalisation, globalisation, the green transition and population ageing are having a profound impact on the type and quality of jobs that are available and the skills required to perform them. The extent to which individuals, firms and economies can reap the benefits of these changes will depend critically on the readiness of adult learning systems to help people develop and maintain relevant skills over their working careers.

Career guidance for adults is a fundamental policy lever to motivate adults to train and to help address the challenges brought about by rapidly changing skill needs. Such services are particularly important amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, as many adults have lost their job and require assistance in navigating their career options in the rapidly evolving labour market.

To explore this issue, the OECD has undertaken an ambitious programme of work on the functioning, effectiveness and resilience of adult career guidance systems across countries. As part of this project, the OECD carried out an online survey in 10 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States) between 2020 and 2021 to better understand the user experience of adults with career guidance, and any barriers adults might face in accessing these services. The OECD also prepared a policy questionnaire to collect information on good practices across OECD countries in the area of career guidance for adults.

This report provides a review of career guidance in Canada. Chapter 1 presents the current Canadian labour market context and provides an overview of the system of career guidance across the Canadian provinces and territories. Chapter 2 assesses the coverage and inclusiveness of career guidance services, with a particular focus on vulnerable adults. Chapter 3 reviews different dimensions of quality in career guidance and suggests policy measures to improve service provision. In addition to new survey evidence, the analysis of the report draws on interviews with Canadian stakeholders and policy questionnaires completed by federal and provincial ministries.

Magdalena Burtscher and Katharine Mullock from the Skills and Employability Division of the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs are the authors of this report. Erika Xiomara Chaparro Pérez provided valuable statistical research. The work was carried out under the supervision of Glenda Quintini (Manager of the Skills Team) and Mark Keese (Head of the Skills and Employability Division) and benefited from helpful contributions from members of the Skills team. Special thanks are due to the many Canadian stakeholders for sharing their expertise and insights during virtual interviews in June and July 2021, and to the Future Skills Centre and Labour Market Information Council for their active collaboration.

This report is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD, with the financial assistance of the Future Skills Centre and the Labour Market Information Council. The views expressed in this report should not be taken to reflect the official position of the Government of Canada nor those of any other OECD member country.

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