Canada Ranks High In Digital Skills: Oecd Report

Canada outscores Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., when it comes to the all important new age digital skills, and OECD report to be released Tuesday found.
TORONTO STAR

and the U.S., when it comes to the all important new age digital skills, the report to be released Tuesday found. This is a clear global advantage, at a time when the high-tech environment is becoming an ever more integral part of our everyday world, said Jeff Johnson, chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, one of the organizations that oversaw the collection of data in Canada. The findings come amid a growing debate over whether Canada has a shortage of high-tech workers and an oversupply of low-skilled labour. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared Canadas skills shortage the biggest challenge our country faces. His governments proposed Canada Job Grant, introduced in the 2013 federal budget, is built on the premise employers need help closing the gap. The provinces have yet to agree to co-fund the controversial program. I dont think this contradicts that, Johnson said in a telephone interview. What it tells us is were not in any worse shape than these other countries. The landmark report was undertaken because of the growing importance of high-tech skills in the labour market, according to the authors the OECD Skills Outlook 2013. The findings are based on a massive survey of 166,000 people in 24 countries, including 27,000 in Canada. It is no exaggeration to use the word revolution when talking about how our lives have changed over the past few decades. Today we rely on information and communication technologies and devices that hadnt even been imagined in 1980, the report says. The way we live and work has changed profoundly and so has the set of skills we need to participate fully in and benefit from our hyper-connected societies and increasingly knowledge-based economies, the report says. Governments need a clear picture not only of how labour markets and economies are changing, but of the extent to which their citizens are equipping themselves with the skills demanded in the 21st century, since people with low skills proficiency face a much greater risk of economic disadvantage, a higher likelihood of unemployment, and poor health, the report says. The findings have implications for countries, for society and for individuals, the report found. The most highly skilled workers, for example, earn 60 per cent more than the lowest skilled, while those with the lowest literacy skills are twice as likely to be jobless, study found.

Canada Rejects MTS Allstream Sale to Accelero on Security

Montreal-based BCE Inc. (BCE) is down 9.2 percent, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B) of Toronto has lost 7.5 percent and Vancouver s Telus Corp. (T) 9.4 percent. New Spectrum Goldberg said the decision may undermine Manitoba Telecoms ability to finance its acquisition of new spectrum at a planned auction next year and Allstreams ability to raise funding for its operations. There are a lot of questions that start with whether MTS will have sufficient funds to bid in the auction, Goldberg said. The government has tried to boost competition in the Canadian mobile-phone industry for years by taking measures such as making it more difficult for BCE, Rogers and Telus to make acquisitions and buy spectrum. Last year, Canada lifted restrictions on foreign investment in the sector for companies with less than 10 percent of market share by revenue and announced it would also limit how much spectrum the three main incumbents could buy. More Vigilant The government has become more vigilant about the security of the nations telecommunications networks, and is considering new rules on foreign wireless suppliers deemed security risks, amid concerns about equipment provided by companies including Huawei Technologies Co., China s biggest phone-equipment maker, a person familiar with the matter said in March. Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said the same month that Huawei had been banned from bidding on government telecommunications contracts. MTS Allstream said in December it had won a contract to provide Internet services to as many as 850 federal government sites across the country. MTS said Accelero has proposed far-reaching, comprehensive and binding undertakings to the Canadian government, including a commitment to invest C$300 million over three years to pursue Allstreams capital plans. MTS said the company and Accelero are reviewing their options. We were told right at the end of the afternoon that the minister has now rendered the decision and that was it, Pierre Blouin, chief executive officer of the Winnipeg-based telecommunications firm said in an interview.