Today marks the kick-off of the first ever Canada Learning Code Week. Founded by one of our powerhouse partners, Canada Learning Code, the purpose of the week is to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary by introducing coding to Canadians across the country through programs focused on Canada’s history.
Coding is a hot topic these days. From the CEO of Canada Learning Code, Melissa Sariffodeen, urging 10 million Canadians to learn how to code by 2027, to GE encouraging all new employees to learn this skill to Salesforce suggesting mandatory computer science education, calls for coding are coming from all directions. However, the question on many people’s minds is—does every Canadian really need to learn to code? How important is this skill for employability?
At the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, we believe every Canadian, especially youth, needs a baseline level of digital literacy to thrive in the 21st century workforce. We highlighted this recommendation in a recent report we released with RBC on how to prepare youth for the future of work. Coding can be an excellent entry point to building digital skills. By learning to code, Canadians can learn to problem solve using digital technologies, becoming creators of technology instead of just consumers.
Canada Learning Code Week is an opportunity for young Canadians and their families, especially those with no previous coding experience, to see what it’s all about. With over 450 events across the country, in every single province, there’s ample opportunity to do so.
Given how critical these skills are, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we have an accurate picture of the state of digital literacy in Canada: what is the definition for digital literacy? Do we really know how strong the demand for coding and digital skills is across sectors? Are digital literacy programs accessible for all Canadians, or are we creating a digital divide?