Pandemic implications have only accelerated the rate at which Canada's workforce is changing. The workforce development sector has pivoted to innovative solutions for remote or hybrid service delivery, finding new ways to engage those jobseekers in need of the most supports through this trying time. As Canada embarks on the journey of recovery, this innovation-mindset will be crucial to ensure local economies are built back better than before. Inclusive recovery means meeting the demands of employers and the individual jobseekers who comprise our labour force by looking at the entirety of workforce development system.

Join us on the pathway to Inclusive Recovery for Today's Workforce at Futures 2021.


We have an incredible line-up of sessions offered at Futures 2021. Take a sneak peak at the Agenda At-a-Glance to get a sense of topics covered throughout the 4 half-day conference.

The World of Employment Service Transformation:

Ontario is undergoing a transformation to employment services, but transformation is not a new concept to this province nor other jurisdictions in North America. At Futures’21, First Work will host sessions regarding the system-wide changes to supported employment, including how the transition has taken place in Ontario and what we can learn from other jurisdictions who have undergone transformation. With these changes, practitioners and staff must adapt accordingly and so Futures will host sessions on change management for leaders and adapting-to-change for frontlines staff.

EST Sessions at Futures’21 will include:

  • Transformation in Ontario Thus Far #FWDriven
  • Lessons Learned from External Jurisdictions #Global
  • Change Management for Leaders and Agencies #Local
  • Adapting to Change on the Frontlines #Local

Fostering Inclusion in Employment:

The pandemic has brought into the light many inequities which have been cultivated in our communities, workplaces, and systems. To ensure this sector – as the gateway to employment – can meet the unique needs of all barriered jobseekers, First Work is hosting multiple sessions on creating and fostering an inclusive environment for all. These sessions will include focus on employer-driven strategies for diversity. Futures’21 will also offer a certified training in cultural sensitivity and competency.

Fostering Inclusion Sessions at Futures’21 will include:

  • Championing An Inclusive Employer Engagement Strategy
  • Training: Cultural Competency #WFD

Best Practices in Programming

The expertise and innovation this sector offers are expansive and ever-changing. To harness this grassroots driven expertise, First Work hosted 3 Communities of Practice (CoPs) to drive innovative solutions for Youth-Job Connection, Second Career, and the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. At Futures’21, practitioners from the CoPs will deliver a presentation on their experiences and solutions developed.

Join practitioners across Canada for insights on the experiences of unemployed Ontarians in 2021, innovations in Employment Ontario programming – with special session from First Work’s Communities of Practice – and knowledge-sharing on the new Common Assessment Tool (CAT) in Ontario Employment Services,

Programming Best Practices Sessions at Futures’21 will include:

  • Understanding the State of the Unemployed in Ontario
  • EO Programming Best Practices
  • Common Assessment Tool Knowledge-Dive

Innovation and the Future of Work

Automation and digitization had already been impacting Canada’s workforce when the pandemic hit and accelerated these changes. Throughout pandemic, providers across the country have pivoted their services to ensure those who need the most supports for gainful employment receive them. To ensure this sectoral modernization continues to grow in recovery, Futures’21 will host sessions on capacity building in virtual environments, labour-market insights, and skills-based programming development.

Meet the needs of the changing workforce landscape with Futures’21 Sessions on:

  • Building Workforce Development Capacity in Online Learning
  • Labour-Market Insights for Recovery
  • Skills-Based Programming Development

Policy and Data

The road to economic recovery from COVID-19 will be a long one. The workforce development sector can make lasting change in Canada’s employment landscape by ensuring the lessons learned throughout pandemic are not forgotten in recovery. To ensure this sector has the insights needed for an inclusive recovery, Futures’21 will feature sessions from policy institutions for their insights into Canada’s economic recovery.