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Future of Work

Q&A with the Hon. Monte McNaughton

Monte McNaughton Header
Monte McNaughton Header

Mediaplanet sat down with the Hon. Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, to discuss the future of Canada’s workforce.


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What trends have made reskilling and upskilling more important than ever in the new economic landscape?

Now, more than ever, workers are competing not just with similar candidates in their city but also with those on the other side of the country or even the world.

At the same time, in Ontario, almost 400,000 jobs are going unfilled daily. The vast majority of these are in lucrative fields like technology and the skilled trades. So, in some ways, there has never been a better time to be a skilled worker in our province. 

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Why is it essential to upskill in the workforce and bridge the skills gap?

While the labour shortage is good for job seekers, it’s also one of the great economic challenges of our time. It contributes to supply chain disruptions, rising family costs, and billions in lost economic growth. We need all hands on deck to build the homes, hospitals, schools, and other key infrastructure Ontario needs. 

More importantly, at an individual level, every job going unfilled is a paycheque left uncollected and a missed opportunity for a meaningful career and a better life.  

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How can Canadians future-proof themselves?

Ontario is lucky to have the best workers in the world, and my job is to ensure we’re not leaving anyone behind. 

That is why my Ministry is investing billions in innovative training programs that bring better jobs and bigger paycheques within reach for more people by giving them the in-demand skills employers need. To knock down barriers that several face to these life-changing careers, we’re covering costs for transit passes, work boots, child care, and other living expenses. 

We need all hands on deck. For the first time, we’ve opened training programs like Better Jobs Ontario to people on social assistance, newcomers, and young people. 

I’m especially proud of a program we funded in Hamilton, which has connected 66 people with involvement in the justice system to well-paying jobs with local manufacturers. This common-sense approach lifts people up, building strong families and stronger communities for all of us. 

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What do the future of employee training and the landscape of the future of work look like to you? 

As technology evolves, governments too often fail to keep up. We have a responsibility to close the technological gap, and I’m proud to have been the first to move on several key issues. 

For example, our government has introduced the Right to Disconnect so workers can spend more time with their families, banned non-compete clauses to increase wages, and required employers to tell their employees if, how, and why they’re being monitored electronically

We’re also the first province in Canada to create foundational rights for gig workers. We will also be the first jurisdiction in North America to bring health care and dental benefits to millions of part-time and precarious workers.

All these actions are taken with the single goal: making sure our province is the best place to live, work, and raise a family. 

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