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Focus on workforce, province told. (Around the North).

Better training and professional development for Ontario's workforce - especially as it ages - is critical in ensuring that the province's economy remains strong, the Ontario Society for Training and Development (OSTD) says.

At a pre-budget hearing on Jan. 29, before the Legislature's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Bob Canuel, of OSTD's board of directors, said steps need to be taken now to prepare for the effects of the baby boom generation reaching retirement age.

"In order to deal with the projected shortage of skilled workers that Ontario will face, we must find ways to retrain older workers and keep them in the workforce," Canuel said.

"As well, it will be critical to recognize prior learning, informal learning and on-the-job training, and to tackle literacy issues in the workplace, so that a larger percentage of workers can take advantage of lifelong learning opportunities."

OSTD also renewed its support of the province's efforts to get the federal government to reach an agreement with Ontario on the Labour Market Development Agreement, which would give Ontarians access to $600 million in apprenticeship and skills training funds and deliver accountable and relevant programs to an additional 200,000 people.

Among its key recommendations, OSTD called on the government to work co-operatively to develop tools to integrate and promote learning technologies in the workplace and to maximize employee literacy.

OSTD is Canada's leading voice for the training and human resources, development industry, representing 1,700 training and development professionals, suppliers and service providers.
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Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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