In the face of lingering concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 touted a period of economic rebound for Canada despite continued overall slack in the labour market and the disproportionate impact on vulnerable workers. Persistent supply constraints in food and durable goods coupled with increasing energy prices also pushed inflation above the 2% target set by the Bank of Canada. Global GDP growth for the year also ended up at around 6% but is expected to taper off in 2022 and 2023 as pent-up demand and stimulus policies subside.
Last year, the industrial fabric of Canada continued its fervour for digital platforms, found to be critical for business survival in these uncertain times. The evolving structural transformation of Canada’s industry also signalled clear trends in favour of environmental-related sectors. ICTC’s latest Digital Talent Outlook: Onward and Upwards projected a sizable increase in employment by 2025 in Cleantech and Clean Resources, amounting to around 352,000 and 185,000 workers respectively. Food and Agri-Tech is also seen as a burgeoning sector with heightened labour demand for 49,000 additional workers by 2025. While such trends are encouraging, accelerating the shift toward sustainable growth will require targeted policy interventions in the next number of years to support business transition and impact consumer behaviour.
In 2021, ICTC continued to shape a forward-looking digital agenda for Canada by leading and speaking at over 80 national and international forums, conferences, and key policy roundtables. Building on our vast network and unique value proposition of a neutral centre of expertise for the digital economy, we continued to advance a strong research and policy agenda that is anchored in innovative talent and enterprise capacity building programs. Our forward-looking research and evidence-based policy advice spanned a variety of critical matters ranging from disruptive technologies, evolving labour markets, growth sectors, foreign investment attraction, data economy, intellectual property, economic and social inclusion, to in-demand skills and talent.
We also designed and delivered on a variety of key talent and workforce solutions that targeted youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, newcomers, and career transitioners. Some of the key undertakings included the WIL Digital student work placement program; the Digital Dash 2.0 program for middle and secondary school students; the Go Talent program that connects international ICT talent with Canadian businesses; the Edge Up 2.0 program in partnership with the Calgary Economic Development to help displaced oil and gas workers transition to in-demand digital careers; the CyberTitan youth cybersecurity education and competition initiative for middle and secondary school students; as well as the Arrival to Fintech Ready, an Ontario program that helps newcomers expand their digital skills for the Blockchain and Financial Technology (FinTech) industries.
In 2022, ICTC will continue to expand its regional presence, international reach, and impact positive change in economic growth, job creation, and the environment while empowering an inclusive and shared digital future for Canadians. We also approach 2022 with optimism as the year for shaping a strong narrative on Canada’s economic rebound and digital prospects. We begin the year with ICTC’s Digital Future Summit on February 1st and 2nd with over 60+ key national and international speakers and several thousand participants with the aim of shaping a critical discourse on the construct of a digitally inspired sustainable economy.
I would like to conclude by extending a special thank you to all our partners and stakeholders for their valuable support and trust in our mandate, to the Board members for their insights and guidance, and to our very talented staff for their remarkable ingenuity and passion for advancing important goals for Canada.
I wish you all a very healthy and prosperous 2022.
ICTC President & CEO
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