By Leona Alleslev, Member of Parliament for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill
From advances in aerospace engineering and breakthroughs in new medical technologies, to the increasing need for more secure cyber infrastructure, our society is digitizing faster than it ever has before. As a result, our Canadian job market is shifting – employers are looking to hire those with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. Companies are looking to hire people with digital skills like coding. With artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced manufacturing on the rise, the ability to program computer systems is a critical competitive edge for those looking to join the workforce in the near future.
Ensuring that our youth are equipped with digital literacy skills means ensuring our nation’s global competitiveness for tomorrow. That is why our government is committed to the innovation agenda and has decided to invest an unprecedented amount of $50 million for our youth’s digital literacy skills.
One of my top priorities as your Member of Parliament is to ensure our youth have opportunities to develop essential employment skills and are fully equipped to work in an innovative economy. We also need more under-represented groups – like young women and girls – learning these essential skills and pursuing careers in STEM. It’s our duty to prepare young Canadians with the digital skills they’ll need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.
That is why our government has launched CanCode to provide almost 1 million Canadian students from kindergarten to Grade 12 the opportunity to learn coding and digital skills. We are also proud to announce that 50% of the students participating in CanCode programs across the country will be young women and girls. This $50 million program will prepare Canada’s future scientists, engineers, doctors and developers. CanCode will also provide thousands of teachers across the country with tools and training to teach Canadian youth how to code. In Ontario, 326,522 students and 20,110 teachers will benefit from this program.
We’re making this investment because coding is not just for computer scientists anymore. Industries ranging from automotive and aerospace to the life sciences and clean technology need coders.
Our government is working hard to make Canada the most innovative country in the world. Investing in programs like CanCode is just the start. By preparing our children and youth with essential digital skills like coding, we can help ensure they can confidently go after the jobs of the future while we grow, expand, and innovate our economy to make a better, more competitive, Canada for all.