Ottawa, March 7, 2024—Micro-credential programs could become more relevant, timely, and effective in meeting current and future Canadian digital economy workforce needs, provided they align with best practices of standardized definitions, proof of competencies, and flexible program delivery.

While employers still value formal education, the shift toward “skills first” hiring practices and increasing emphasis on relevant experience and demonstrable aptitude in competencies or skills is gaining momentum.  

Micro-credentials are still relatively new in Canada, and there is a degree of confusion evident among employers, learners, and micro-credential providers as to what they entail and how best to design them for the benefit of all stakeholders.    

ICTC’s latest report, Accelerating Canada’s Workforce: Micro-Credentialing in the Digital Economy, explores the critical need for a standardized definition of what micro-credentials are and what they are not, sets out the best practices for realizing the full potential of micro-credentials, including the following:

  • Institutions need to create programs that lead to meaningful employment outcomes by addressing specific skill gaps identified by employers
  • It is imperative that learners have the flexibility to choose delivery modes to suit their needs
  • This flexibility, however, must be complemented by a robust assessment and validation of the value of micro-credentials, including proof of skill mastery
  • Continuous evaluation of micro-credential programs based on stakeholder feedback is key to meeting the evolving demands of education and industry

"Unlocking the true potential of micro-credentials, this research initiative emphasizes the critical link between skill development, industry training, and meaningful employment. The call for standardization across Canada isn't just about consistency; it's about creating a nationally recognized framework that bolsters the credibility of micro-credentials, job readiness, and enhances employment mobility."  
—Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a neutral, not-for-profit national center of expertise with the mission of strengthening Canada's digital advantage in the global economy. For over 30 years, and with a team of 110 experts, we have delivered forward-looking research, practical policy advice, and capacity-building solutions for individuals and businesses. The organization’s goal is to ensure that technology is utilized to drive economic growth and innovation and that Canada's workforce remains competitive on a global scale.

To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at @email or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was conducted in partnership with Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) and LabourX.  

A copy of the study can be accessed here.