Matchup: A case for pan-Canadian competency frameworks | Canada West Foundation

Janet Lane who many of you will remember from her time as Executive Director of Literacy Alberta, has co-authored a report advocating for a competency based approach to skills shortages. The report contends that the skills mis-match experienced across the country is due to:

“01  Formal education and apprenticeships do not teach all, or even the right, skills and competencies to the right levels needed by employers.

02  Unrecognized skills: Many people have skills and competencies that their official credentials do not address. They also may not be able to articulate the skills that go beyond official credentials that they possess, or their value. Therefore, unsurprisingly, employers may not be aware of the varied and specific skills that people have.

03  Employers are not sure what skills and competencies they need, or are unable to articulate what they are.

04  Foreign credentials, which are otherwise adequate in terms of skills and competencies, are not recognized.

One ambitious solution – a competency-based, pan-Canadian qualifications framework – would help to eliminate the mismatch problem by addressing all of these issues.”

You can read the Executive Summary here: Matchup: A case for pan-Canadian competency frameworks | Canada West Foundation

I’ve also uploaded the full report: canada-west-matchup-a-case-for-pan-canadian-competency-based-frameworks-feb-2017

I’ve always liked the idea of hiring based on what people can do rather than on a credential earned years ago. Such an approach would definitely improve outcomes for those whose skills have been developed over time through a combination of education, training and on-the-job experience. How one moves to such a system without it becoming very bureaucratic, i.e. requiring testing or other proxies to determine skill competencies, is one consideration.

Let me know what you think…


About Brigid Hayes

Brigid Hayes has developed an expertise in learning that spans almost 30 years as a senior policy advisor, program manager and partnership developer. Her knowledge of and experience in workplace literacy and learning has contributed to her recognition as an expert in this field, and she has undertaken significant activities to both help promote and enhance literacy and lifelong learning. Brigid works as an independent consultant and expert advisor on learning, literacy, and work. She has successfully developed a strategic planning and policy development practice involving workplace literacy, essential skills, partnership development, research, and evaluation.
This entry was posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Literacy and Essential Skills, Skills and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Matchup: A case for pan-Canadian competency frameworks | Canada West Foundation

  1. Mélissa Lessard says:

    Hi! The link to the full report is broken.


  2. Brigid Hayes says:

    Thanks…I’ll check it out.


  3. Brigid Hayes says:

    Mélissa, I’ve updated the post so hopefully it works. Thanks for your eagle eye! Brigid


  4. Mélissa Lessard says:

    Yes! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don Presant says:

    HI Brigid, it’s great to see that this bold vision for skills is now public.

    Jeff Griffiths, the other co-author, just presented a preview of it at the BC Open Badges Forum on Feb 17, filling in for Janet who couldn’t make it. He did a great job; you can see the video at

    Having Open Badges as portable micro-credentials to recognize competencies achieved (wherever..) completes the puzzle.What’s the point of having the competency if people can recognize it in useful ways? Open Badges are starting to provide the legal tender for learning exchange and it’s only going to get better.

    Jeff is intrigued by this notion, and I think Janet is interested too. And we’re moving forward with a provincial Open Badges prototype in Ontario, working with eCampus Ontario. Too soon for official announcements, but wait…


    • Don Presant says:

      Sorry, that would be “can’t”, as in:
      What’s the point of having the competency if people can’t recognize it in useful ways?


  6. Brigid Hayes says:

    Good to hear from you Don. Yes Open Badges does seem to be a natural link to tracking competencies. Please keep me posted as plans develop.


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