In terms of softer skills, we understand that beyond the educational credentials that we usually think about when we're assessing immigrants, there are a number of different skill sets that are becoming more and more important for employers.
These are things like creative skills, cognitive skills, abstract thinking, problem-solving, evaluating data and that kind of thing, as well as the social or interpersonal skills. Those are the skills that are likely to be hardest to automate, but they will also become more valuable as we continue.
Currently there aren't that many ways in which Canada can assess that in its immigration system. The U.S. Department of Labour has something called the O*NET database. This maps out the different types of skills across occupations. It tracks those different skill sets across different occupations, and then you can even search for those particular skills across different occupations.
I could do a search, for example, for abstract thinking skills across different occupations. That's an interesting way in which we can start thinking about those different skill sets and how they are applicable across different occupations as we see this churn in different sectors. It might be one area in which Canada could perhaps look to the example of the U.S. in that regard, and see how applicable it is to their selection policies.
In terms of under-represented groups, the reality is that immigration policy will be one part of responding to emerging skills needs, but we'll also need to look at groups that don't work in the labour market. This could be stay-at-home mothers. It could be older groups. It could be minority groups, who tend to be traditionally under-represented. We need to look at immigration policies, but we need to look also at ways to help people who may have been outside the workforce for a number of years to re-enter the workforce.
With immigrants, that may be providing them with tailored language support or help with credential recognition, or it may just be looking at bridging programs that can help, say, mothers who've been staying at home for a number of years re-enter the workforce, update their CVs and find new occupations they can bring their expertise to.