Wynne, Liberal MPPs get earful on tech talent shortage

Initiatives in the latest provincial budget to make post-secondary education more accessible are part of the solution to a key problem plaguing the tech sector, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday.

“It’s not the whole solution, but it’s part of the solution to the talent pool that’s needed in the tech sector,” she said.

Ms. Wynne was speaking to reporters at Invest Ottawa headquarters following a roundtable discussion she and some of her Ottawa caucus had with local tech leaders.

While the premier said one of the province’s strengths was having one of the world’s most highly educated workforces, she did say more women need to be employed in technology.

“There were many people around the table, women and men, who were talking about what we can do about that, how we can look at our curriculum, how we can expose young people to opportunities and how we can provide role models for young people so they can think about technology as a career path,” she said.

Energy Minister and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli called the discussion “very, very helpful,” also noting the message that there was a shortage of engineering talent.

“We had a very comprehensive overview of what the sector is like today, where it came from and where it needs to go,” he said. “We’re very satisfied that over the next immediate future, we can do some recalibration in terms of policies and directions and continue to work in partnership.”

While Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli wanted to talk tech, the reporters assembled for the news conference were more interested in living conditions at the province’s jails and quotas cabinet ministers have for fundraising.