Conference Board report card gives Canada a "B" in jobless youth

February 5, 2013

In its Society report card, released Monday, the Conference Board of Canada gives the country an overall "B" grade. This is the same grade given in the Jobless Youth indicator, with Canada ranking 9th out of 16 peer nations. This indicator measures the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds who are neither working nor attending school. The report card notes Canada's youth unemployment rate sat at 12.4% in 2011, and is lower than many of its peers. Much policy discussion has focused on what to do about persistently high youth unemployment rates, and recent policies are placing more emphasis on vocation education. The report card notes that unlike some of its peer nations, Canada does not have a tradition of developing skilled trades. "The Canadian education system has tended to promote the acquisition of academic skills, which can be a challenge for youth who do not intend to pursue post-secondary education." For example, in 2010, less than 6% of upper-secondary students in Canada were enrolled in vocational or pre-vocational programs -- the lowest rate of the peer countries for which data is available. Conference Board News Release | How Canada Performs: Society (Jobless Youth)