Minister Bergen discusses Government of Canada measures to tackle skills shortages in the construction sector

WINNIPEG, MB, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, met with the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) today to discuss the Government's strategy to tackle skills shortages in construction, focusing on the Canada Job Grant.

"Our government's number one priority is jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister Bergen. "The Canada Job Grant is part of of our plan to make federal funding for job creation and training more demand-driven and ensure that employers are part of the solution. I appreciate valuable feedback from groups like the MCSC."

Citing an expected shortage of 250 000 workers in the construction sector in Canada by 2021, Minister Bergen emphasized that equipping Canadians with skills and training is a shared responsibility. She highlighted the need for the private sector to take a greater role in building Canada's labour market by investing in training and innovation. She also noted the importance for the provinces and territories to reform apprenticeship systems and to provide more post-secondary education in the skilled trades.

"The status quo is not good enough. We need to strengthen the apprenticeship system, rethink post-secondary education, and implement the Canada Job Grant," added Minister Bergen. "Today's discussion was productive and will help to inform the implementation of the Canada Job Grant, as well as other measures that will improve Canada's labour market and ensure continued economic growth."

A skilled, adaptable and innovative workforce is the foundation for a strong, prosperous economy. Economic Action Plan 2013 offers a path to strengthen Canada's fiscal advantage and spur long-term jobs and growth. For more information, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.


Backgrounder


Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum $5,000 federal contribution and matching contributions from provinces, territories and employers. The Grant will be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant once implemented in 2014. Upon full implementation, nearly 130 000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need for available jobs.

The Canada Job Grant is strongly supported by employers and other stakeholders, including:

  • The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO;

  • Canadian Federation of Independent Business;

  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters;

  • Canadian Construction Association;

  • Information Technology Association of Canada;

  • Welding Bureau; and

  • Engineers Canada.

Support for Post-secondary Education and Youth

Post-secondary education is vital to Canada's economic growth and future prosperity. That is why the Government of Canada continues to invest in post-secondary education, including apprenticeships, to make sure it is accessible for all Canadians through education savings incentives, loans, grants, tax credits, tax deductions and support for training programs. Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government also plans to provide more information on the job prospects and benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education and careers in these high-demand fields.

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in designated Red Seal trades. As a result of these grants, apprentices could be eligible to receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses. To date, the Government of Canada has issued over a half-billion dollars in apprenticeship grants for Canadians.

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a $1,000 taxable cash grant for apprentices who complete the first and/or second level of their apprenticeship program in a designated Red Seal trade, to a maximum of $2,000.

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a $2,000 taxable cash grant for eligible apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship training and receive their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade.

The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices, as well as a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools.

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada's commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace. With annual funding of approximately $300 million, YES helps youth obtain career information, develop employment skills, find jobs and stay employed. YES includes the Skills Link and Career Focus programs and the Canada Summer Jobs initiative, which creates thousands of job opportunities for students every summer. Since 2006, the Youth Employment Strategy has helped more than 555 000 young people develop skills, to the benefit of the Canadian economy.

Economic Action Plan 2013

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to help Canadians get the knowledge, skills and experience they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing significant support to increase the labour market participation of under-represented groups, such as people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.

The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure Canadians can make better choices and get the skills and training that employers are looking for by:

  • transferring $2.7 billion each year to the provinces and territories to help ensure that unemployed and low-skilled Canadians get the training they need to participate fully in the labour market;

  • increasing funding to programs that give work experience to youth and persons with disabilities so they can develop and make use of their skills and meet employers' needs;

  • enhancing learning and labour market information so people can make more informed education and career choices;

  • offering Apprenticeship Grants and tax credits to encourage Canadians to pursue careers in the skilled trades;

  • streamlining foreign credential and experience recognition for in-demand occupations, such as physicians and engineers; and

  • investing over $10 billion annually in support of post-secondary education.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

(media only):

Johanna Quinney
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State
(Social Development)
613-697-4449

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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