Turning a Corner: Canadian Employers' Investments in Employee Learning and Development on the Rise

OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Canadian organizations' spending on learning and development has been on an upward trend since the end of 2010. According to The Conference Board of Canada's latest Learning and Development Outlook, Canadian employers spent an average of $800 per employee on staff training in 2014-15, up from $705 in 2012-13, and $688 in 2010. The average number of hours employees spend on learning is also on the rise, increasing from 25 hours in 2010 to 31 in 2014-15.

"Per employee spending was at its maximum in 1993 at $1,249 and dropped by nearly 46 per cent over the next 20 years. Fortunately, the spending decline on learning and development seems to have bottomed out," said Donna Burnett-Vachon, Associate Director, Leadership and Organizational Development Research, The Conference Board of Canada. "This is good news as ongoing learning and skill development provides a range of benefits for both organizations and workers alike."


  • Canadian organizations surveyed in the Learning and Development Outlook spent an average of $800 per employee in 2014-2015, a slight increase from the last report.
  • The spending gap between Canadian and American organizations appears to be diminishing.  Indeed, Canadian spending on learning and development is increasing at a faster rate than the United States, which has remained flat since 2012-2013.
  • Approximately 50 per cent of the Canadian organizations surveyed in the Learning and Development Outlook identified learning as a top organizational priority.


Organizations with strong learning cultures defined as an organizational commitment to ongoing learning reported stronger organizational performance than their competitors and also tend to have stronger leadership development practices. These organizations indicated better performance in the areas of employee performance, customer satisfaction, overall productivity, and leadership performance, when compared to organizations with moderate learning cultures.

Learning remains a top priority within Canadian organizations. Approximately 50 per cent of the Canadian organizations surveyed in the Learning and Development Outlook identified learning as a top organizational priority. However, about 63 per cent of organizations indicated that they have experienced business challenges in the last few years that have directly impacted their learning and development strategies.

Even with significant reductions to budgets for learning and development, organizations are finding ways to maintain and improve their employees' knowledge base. The report also shows that informal learning continues to gain in popularity among Canadian organizations. This is due to employees who are initiating informal learning on their own, to a greater extent than previous years. Furthermore, social networking is increasingly being recognized as a valuable and strategic e-learning activity. Indeed, the number of organizations that reported using these technologies as learning activities has increased by 15 per cent since 2012-13.

The report, Learning and Development Outlook–13th edition: Learning as a Lever for Performance is based on the responses to a biennial survey of Canadian organizations. A total of 152 organizations participated in this survey between November 2014 and January 2015.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: or media accreditation, please contact: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: (613) 526-3090, ext. 221, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca; Or Juline Ranger, Director of Communications, Tel.: (613) 526-3090, ext. 431, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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