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Mapping the typology of transition systems in a liberal market economy: the case of Canada

TitleMapping the typology of transition systems in a liberal market economy: the case of Canada
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsArnold, C. H., Wheelahan L., Moodie G., Beaulieu J., and Taylor-Cline J-C.
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Pages125 - 143
Keywordseducation and labour market, liberal market economy, transition systems, vocational education

This research explores links between tertiary education institutions and between tertiary education and the labour market as determinants of provincial and national transition patterns in Canada. The study consists of a provincial analysis that maps the typology of transition systems across Canada's devolved federated tertiary education structure. The results show that, nationally: the links between education and work are relatively loose aside from regulated occupations; there is an emphasis on general education; and qualifications are used as a screen for entry to the labour market. However, while Canada can be broadly understood as a liberal market economy, there is provincial diversity within the nation; and there are varying logics for the development of skill, deployment of labour, and relations between institutions. The institutional and policy frameworks, structure of jobs, and formation of skill in Canada's largest provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec reveal diverse characteristics of transition systems. However, despite internal differentiation in the value of vocational education, variations at the provincial level have not been enough to shift the federal pattern as a whole. Instead, in Canada vocational education is generally stigmatised and viewed as signalling low ability and motivation.