Qualifications: Pathways to Careers in Canada

Career Pathways in Canada
Qualifications: The Link Between Educational and Occupational Pathways and Labour Market Outcomes

Project Synopsis

This SSHRC-funded research investigates the nature of pathways within post-secondary education and between post-secondary education and the labour market. In keeping with the policy goals of many other countries, Canadian governments have sought to build pathways that connect lower and higher level qualifications within fields of education between the college and university sectors to support labour market progression and social mobility.

While previous Canadian research has explored the relations between qualifications and labour markets, little if any research has examined the connection between educational pathways and occupational pathways. This research compares and contrasts fields of education to explore if educational pathways are connected to occupational pathways in Canada’s provinces, and nationally. Implications for the purpose and design of qualifications, educational pathways, policy and relationships between educational institutions and social partners (employers, unions, professional and occupational bodies including regulatory authorities, and government) are explored.

The following broad questions guide the investigation:

  1. To what extent are qualifications in Canada linked by field of education within and between the college and university sectors?
  2. What is the relation between educational pathways and occupational pathways?
  3. In what ways are qualifications used as signals and screens in the labour market?
  4. Are there differences in qualification types, educational pathways and labour market outcomes between Canadian provinces?
  5. What are the implications for qualifications, policy and relationships between educational institutions and social partners?

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Provincial Pathways

Phase One of the project began with an environmental scan of existing pathways and transfer systems in Canada. Education in Canada falls under provincial jurisdiction. Provinces share similar structures for education, but each has a unique history, and unique policy features that shape post-secondary pathways and school-to-work pathways.