April 7th, 2008 by Maria Moriarty
Currently Canada is lagging behind both the U.S. and the U.K. in the in the area of workplace learning and there is an increasing awareness of the critical importance of workplace learning to address future labour market needs in light of an aging workforce and rapid technological change. So says a just-released report, Employer Investment in Workplace Learning prepared by the The Canadian Policy Research Network (CPRN) in partnership with the Work and Learning Centre of the Canadian Council on Learning. This is the report of the first of a series of regional roundtables ( including government, labour, business and NGOs) to be convened to look at the issues, barriers to, and promising iniatives in Workplace Learning ,and to look at some practical steps to be taken to increase the quantity and quality of workplace learning opportunities in Canada.
The Toronto roundtable was held in Dec. 2007. and the the report documents practical ideass and suggestions as to how to increase collaboration and information-sharing between all stakeholders to move a Workplace Learning initiative forward.
Although we may be falling behind in workplace learning union learning is alive and well in Canada. Recently the Labour Education Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Education and Work at OISE and supported by the Canadian Council on Learning released, Integrating Equity, Addressing Barriers : Innovative Learning Practices by Unions based on sketches of 35 union learning programs across the country and showing how unions are addressing issues of equity in their educational programming. With a long tradition of providing learning opportunities for members unions have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of “life-long learning” and there is much to be learned from and admired in these innovative union learning programs.