Brain Gain: The Economic Benefits of Recognizing Learning and Learning Credentials in Canada

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Org: Conference Board of Canada
Date: 2001

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A Conference Board of Canada report evaluating the problems of recognizing education credentials in Canada, with emphasis on newcomers. The authors' hypothesis was "that some Canadians hold skills and knowledge that are valuable but underused and under-rewarded because they are not formally recognized and credentialed by credential-granting organizations and employers. Since recognition through learning credentials is key to success in the labour market, these people earn less and experience other costs due to non-recognition of their learning. In addition, their employers do not gain the full benefit of their abilities, and Canada loses their productivity and also incurs costs in delivering education and training that they do not need. If the learning recognition gap were eliminated, these individuals and Canada would gain corresponding economic benefits."

The authors conducted a Household Survey of 12,000 individuals across Canada and found that three groups would gain the most, because they suffer the most serious problems in having their learning recognized and rewarded. They are:

  • immigrants
  • people with prior learning gained through work and training
  • transferees between post-secondary learning institutions or, in the case of licenced professions, between provinces

These people have valuable education and skills, but the learning recognition gap significantly limits their income and employment prospects. In many ways, they reflect the broader population in terms of age, gender and labour force participation. Despite the learning recognition challenges they face, they are confident people. The main distinguishing factor is their higher tendency to be immigrants and/or of visible minority status.

Additional report highlights include:

  • An improved system for recognizing the learning of immigrants would result in a brain gain to offset the brain drain to the United States.
  • Governments, employers and credential-granting institutions have options for action that can significantly improve learning recognition in Canada

Format: This report is available for download in Adobe Acrobat format [452K, 54 pages].

Language: English