Budget 2018: What it Could Mean for Career Professionals
By Cathy Milton.
The title of the Canadian federal government’s 2018 budget, presented in the House of Commons on February 27th, 2018, is “Equality + Growth – A Strong Middle Class.”
The full budget document is 369 pages long, but for the purpose of this article, I decided to focus on the area of progress. Here’s a compelling statement from the introduction to the chapter on progress:
“The innovations we make today will create new and exciting job prospects for existing workers and better opportunities for our children and grandchildren. We ask them ‘what they want to be when they grow up,’ but many of them are likely to work in jobs and industries that haven’t been invented yet. After all, the largest companies in the world today didn’t exist just a generation or two ago.”
What I found striking in the above statement was the thought that many of our children and grandchildren are likely to work in jobs and industries that haven’t been invented yet.
If the government’s ambitious goals related to progress come to fruition, here are three ways that Budget 2018 may impact our future work as career professionals.
1) Changes/growth in client demographics
Globe and Mail parliamentary reporters identified that “in the federal Liberals’ first budget, in 2016, the word ‘gender’ appeared twice. This time around, ‘gender’ was used 358 times.” Certainly, gender equality was a major theme of the 2018 budget and, among other supports, it promises increased access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
The budget also allocated $3.8 billion to support the work of researchers and to provide them with state-of-the-art tools and facilities.
The government will invest $447 million over a five-year period to create an Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. The focus of the program will be on training for higher-quality, higher-paying jobs.
The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program will receive $448.5 million to help businesses and not-for-profits offset the cost of students they hire. In 2019-2020, the program will double the number of work placements it funds.
As a result of these budget initiatives, career practitioners may observe a growth in the number of clients in the following categories:
- Women entrepreneurs
- Women in senior leadership roles and on boards of directors
- Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) roles
- Culturally diverse entrepreneurs
- Researchers and research associates
- Students seeking work in their area of research
- First Nations workers
- Summer student workers
2) The emergence of new industry segments and innovations in traditional industries
“Budget 2018 proposes an investment of nearly $4 billion in Canada’s research system to support the work of researchers and to provide them access to the state-of-the-art tools and facilities they need. These investments are not simply to enhance the status quo. In recognition of the historic opportunity for real change, investments made though Budget 2018 will be tied to clear objectives and conditions so that Canada’s next generation of researchers—including students, trainees, and early-career researchers—is larger, more diverse and better supported.”
Budget 2017 launched the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation, and this year’s budget builds on the plan. As evidence of its commitment to research and progress, the government already has five significant initiatives, called “innovation superclusters, underway. These five were selected from competing proposals that were submitted from across Canada. Companies are currently:
- Building artificial intelligence-powered supply chains (SCALE.AI) in Montreal and the Quebec City-Waterloo corridor.
- Promoting next-generation manufacturing (Advanced Manufacturing) in Southern Ontario.
- Developing data-driven enterprises (BC Digital) in British Columbia.
- Unleashing the potential of Canadian crops (Protein Industries Canada) in the Prairie Provinces.
- Maximizing Canada’s ocean economy (Ocean) in Atlantic Canada.
Based on focused investments being made via the 2018 budget, we may expect to work with clients who are trained for, and seeking work in, the following areas:
- Artificial intelligence
- Robotics and cobotics
- Virtual reality
- Transportation technology
- Big-data mining
- Environmental research (as examples, in the areas of climate change, human health, protection of freshwater bodies and oceans)
- Quantum computing
- Drug technology
- Food biotechnology
- Renewable energy
3) The need to be familiar with new government programs, grants, and other supports for workers
These are some of the more prominent government funding-support programs that have been introduced or modified by Budget 2018.
Women-focused lending programs aim to increase access to capital for women-led companies through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Export Development Canada (EDC), and Farm Credit Canada (FCC). Specialized grants and other incentives are also available for the hiring and training of women in technology, construction, and other under-represented industries.
Apprenticeship Funding Programs received $65.9 million in grants and financial incentives to encourage apprenticeship placements.
The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program received funding allowing it to continue providing grants (wage subsidies) to employers who offer students an opportunity to build skills and experience via summer-time employment.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) will receive additional funds of $172 million over the next five years to support the development of Canadian-produced media projects. CMF provides funding to support all stages of media projects, from concept development to production, and even accessing international markets.
Through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), the government proposes to invest $700 million over five years starting in 2018–2019, and $150 million per year ongoing. The IRAP funding platform will now support small-to-medium-sized investments with up to $10 million per project.
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) was established as part of the federal government’s 2017 budget. Now in its second year, the program will be updated to better complement IRAP and support large, highly-innovative projects, which lead to significant investment and job growth. SIF now provides a minimum $10 million in government funding per project.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service will consolidate and simplify five programs aimed at supporting export market development.
Regional Development Agencies will receive an additional $911 million to support the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan.
What changes do you anticipate, either for your practice or for your clients, as these initiatives are rolled out? If you’d like to be prepared with tools and strategies to help clients transition to new careers, taking CPC’s Certified Employment Strategist course is an excellent investment.