The government of Canada has assembled a new council to address the future of jobs in the country, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Local 213 assistant business manager Lisa Langevin will serve as a member. 

Vancouver, British Columbia, Local 213 assistant business manager Lisa Langevin, left, will serve as a member of Canada’s Future Skills Council.

“This is a great opportunity for Sister Langevin to share her expertise as well as her experience as a tradeswoman and to ensure that our industry has a voice at the table,” said First District International Vice President Thomas Reid.

The Future Skills Council, alongside its counterpart research facility the Future Skills Centre, is part of an initiative by the government to look at how new trends and technologies are shaping the future of work and to develop a plan that will help Canadians acquire the necessary skills to get good-paying jobs that will also grow the middle class.

“The world of work is changing and Canadians need to be equipped to seize the opportunities this presents,” said Patty Hajdu, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, in a statement released on Feb. 14. “Future Skills is part of the government's plan to build an agile workforce that can find and keep good, well-paying jobs, and strengthen the middle class so that everyone has a fair chance at success – today and tomorrow."

Langevin is the only tradesperson on the council and one of two from the labour movement, joining Mike Luff of the Canadian Labour Congress. Others on the 15-member council include representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.  

“I think having a tradeswoman on the council speaks to the council’s commitment to diversity, which is just as important a consideration for the future as issues like automation and the aging of the workforce,” said Langevin, who brings years of experience promoting women in the trades.

Langevin is a founding member of Local 213’s women’s committee as well as the national and provincial chapters of Build Together – Women of the Building Trades. She is also president of the BC Tradeswomen Society, serves on the Governance Committee for the BC Centre for Women in the Trades and is a board member of the Industry Training Authority, which coordinates the provincial skilled trades system.

“We need to look at how we can create an open and inclusive workplace,” Langevin said. “We need to think about the face of the workforce as well as the technology driving it.”

Langevin noted that indigenous people are the fastest growing population in Canada, along with immigrants, two groups that are underrepresented in the trades.

“The future of the trades is a diverse workforce,” Langevin said.

As technologies continue to evolve, the trades are too, Langevin said, and that perspective needs to be part of the conversation.

The council has been directed to operate at “arm's length,” which Langevin says will give them space to think outside of government constraints and generate new ideas.

“We’ll be meeting with our stakeholders and bringing that back,” Langevin said. “And we’ll be thinking outside the box to make sure that all Canadian working families – including the trades – are part of the future.”