View profile

Digital Policy Salon: Soft Skills and Hard Facts

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Soft Skills and Hard Facts
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #54 • View online
Welcome to the 54th issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
As we round the corner towards the holidays, don’t forget to reserve your place at next year’s open access virtual summit, ICTC Horizon. We’re excited to bring you leading speakers in climate science, clean technology, economics and investment, the future of work, and more.
In our perspective pieces this week, we examine the debate around the term “soft skills” and whether it undersells crucial workplace competencies. We also investigate food waste in Canada and the role that agricultural technology can play in mitigating waste, before recapping a recent smart cities engagement event in Regina, SK, co-hosted by our colleagues at SaskTel.
This issue also brings policy updates about important investment into the Canadian technology sector, as well as a deep dive into advances in gig economy rights in “what we’re reading.”
Last but not least, reserve your place at an upcoming event that seeks to understand the experiences of newcomers to Alberta working in the technology sector.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

2022 Digital Future Summit
Discover What’s on the Horizon
Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Amazon Web Services announces new infrastructure region in Alberta, $4 billion investment
Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced last week that it will be opening a second Canadian infrastructure region, located in Alberta. According to an economic impact study conducted by the company, AWS plans to invest $21 billion in data centres across Canada over the next 15 years, resulting in an estimated $39 billion increase in GDP and 5,195 jobs by 2037.
The new data centres will also have implications for data privacy, as Canadian organizations that process highly sensitive data and/or have data residency requirements will be able to run their applications from data centres located in Canada.
Quebec survey shows impact of COVID-19 on teen education, mental health
survey conducted by a team of researchers from the Centre of Research and Intervention for Student and School Success at Laval University looks at the impact of COVID-19-induced lockdowns on Quebec students during the 2020-2021 school years. Among the 1,057 students surveyed,
  • 57% reported that their school success had been negatively impacted by lockdowns
  • 34% reported only attending a few days of school per week
  • 36% said they didn’t have access to a quiet space to study at home or attend online classes
  • 19% didn’t have access to a computer on a regular basis
Health Canada releases guiding principles for AI and ML powered medical devices
Health Canada, in partnership with like organizations in the US and UK, has identified 10 guiding principles to inform the use of AI and ML in medical devices. The 10 guiding principles are “intended to lay the foundation for developing Good Machine Learning Practice” and could be used by medical device regulators and international standards organizations. The principles include:
  • Leveraging multidisciplinary expertise throughout the product’s lifecycle
  • Ensuring that datasets are representative of the intended patient population
  • Placing focus on the interactions between humans and AI models
  • Providing users with clear, essential information
Ontario highlights advanced manufacturing and automotive sector in fall economic update
The Government of Ontario announced in its 2021 fall economic statement that it plans to invest $40 million in a new Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream of the Regional Development Program. The new stream will help businesses in Ontario invest in equipment, advanced technologies, and skilled workers. In addition, the government will continue to focus on transforming Ontario’s automobile supply chain by establishing a domestic battery ecosystem and building out the production of electric vehicles.
- Mairead Matthews
Our Perspective
A Hard Look at the Term “Soft Skills”
Wasted Food: Food That Is Not Loved Anymore
Let’s Talk Smart Cities: The City of Regina
Special Events
Settling for More: Matching Newcomers to Alberta’s Tech Sector
What We're Listening to
️🎧 The Future of Work: The gig is up - Today, Explained
What We're Reading
Amazon, Plug and Play, Mphasis drive huge demand for tech workers among Calgary's IT talent
Research Visualized
ICTC’s report Canadian Agri-food Technology: Sowing the Seeds for Tomorrow, investigates key opportunities and barriers in Canadian agtech. Innovative technologies are being developed for use across the supply chain, yet many barriers prevent agri-food producers and manufacturers from adopting these technologies. A recent study conducted by the Innovation and Growth Policy Division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada looked at the adoption of precision agriculture technologies in Canada and found that the top three barriers to adoption were: overall cost of high initial investment, internet speeds and cellular data coverage, and lack of training or knowledgeable people. The figure below shows results from an ICTC survey, which also identifies the cost of equipment, implementation, maintenance, and operation as key barriers preventing agri-food tech adoption across subindustries. As with technology adoption, barriers vary by subsector. For example, ICTC survey findings show availability of equipment impacts agtech and manufacturing more than primary producers. Key informants that ICTC spoke with noted that this gap is due to supply chain, production, and logistics issues aggravated by COVID-19.
Source: ICTC Survey Data, 2021
Source: ICTC Survey Data, 2021
Twitter Highlights
Canadian Space Agency
Reminder to Canadian researchers with a space-related project! Have you applied for a @NSERC_CRSNG postdoctoral fellowship, or do you plan to do so? This could be for you:
Talk to Us 💬
Did you enjoy this issue?

An ICTC newsletter that provides you with an in-depth look at the digital economy and the policies that shape it.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
275 Slater Street, Suite 802, Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9