February 6, 2017 / 4:04 PM / a year ago

Canada govt advisers call for stronger trade ties, skills growth

OTTAWA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A Canadian government advisory group on Monday released a number of recommendations to boost the economy, including strengthening the country’s trade links and helping to retool workers’ skills to deal with a changing labor market.

The proposals could be incorporated into the government’s next budget, which is expected to be released in the coming months.

Noting the anti-trade sentiment that has been increasing around the world, the report recommended that Canada modernize its trading relationship within North America by harmonizing standards and regulations, and develop stronger links with fast-growing economies, particularly in Asia.

Canada should also invest in trade infrastructure, such as ports and airports, over the next decade to improve access to global markets.

To help workers deal with the changes in the labor market brought on by technological advances, the council recommended establishing a non-government organization to operate as a laboratory for skills development.

Among its functions, the so-called “Future Skills Lab” would solicit and co-finance pilot programs in skills development to address identified gaps among workers.

It was the second round of recommendations released by the economic advisory council that was appointed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Last year’s report, its first, recommended the creation of an infrastructure bank, which the government subsequently said it will set up. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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