Minister Kenney affirms Harper Government's commitment to address skills shortages in the mining sector

OTTAWA, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - In a keynote speech today at the Mining Association of Canada's Board of Directors meeting, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, spoke about the Government of Canada's commitment to increase the skills and employability of Canadians to overcome skills shortages in the mining sector.

"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. With tremendous growth projected in Canada's mining sector in the coming years, we need to ensure that Canadians have the skills they need to fill the jobs available today and in the future," said Minister Kenney. "In order to continue with our economic growth, we must address the skills mismatch, which is one of the biggest challenges faced by our country. With the Canada Job Grant, our government is committed to fixing the skills mismatch in Canada, where we have too many Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians."

Minister Kenney underlined his approach for addressing labour market challenges, specifically implementing the Canada Job Grant, a plan to make federal funding for job creation and training more demand-driven and ensure that employers are part of the solution. He also spoke about strengthening the apprenticeship system, better integrating labour market needs into post-secondary education and further improving foreign credential recognition. Minister Kenney called on employers to recruit individuals from groups that are under-represented in the workforce, such as people with disabilities, youth and Aboriginal people.

"Given the proximity of many First Nations communities to large economic projects, there is a tremendous opportunity to address some of Canada's skills shortages, while improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal people," said Minister Kenney. "Our government is helping Aboriginal people across the country get the skills and training they need to secure meaningful employment and build better futures for themselves and their families."

Aboriginal communities can benefit from resource development across Canada. The natural resource sector currently supports more than 30 000 Aboriginal jobs, making natural resources a leading employer of Aboriginal people in Canada.

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

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.


backgrounder


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:

  • removing disincentives from Employment Insurance to ensure that it is structured in a way that people are encouraged to work, find jobs easier and are rewarded for it;

  • 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 job market;

  • increasing funding to programs that give work experience to youth and people 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.

Aboriginal Labour Market Programs

The Government of Canada's Aboriginal labour market programs aim to increase Aboriginal participation in the job market, ensuring that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people have access to training and supports that will help them find jobs.

Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada is improving the Income Assistance On-Reserve program.  A key component of this initiative is the First Nations Job Fund. The $109 million Job Fund will provide personalized job training to young income assistance recipients in participating communities, so they can develop the right skills to secure jobs.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also introduces a number of investments to help Aboriginal youth reach their potential and participate more fully in Canada's economy:

  • $10 million over two years to the national charity Indspire to provide post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit students;

  • $5 million over five years for Cape Breton University's Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies; and

  • confirmation of the Government's commitment to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of a First Nations education act.

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 Apprentices

The Government supports the skilled trades and apprentices through grants, tax credits and support for training programs.

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 and expenses. To date, the Government of Canada has issued over a half-billion dollars in apprenticeship grants to 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 journeyman certification in a designated Red Seal trade.

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

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

(media only):

Alexandra Fortier
Office of the Minister
819-994-2482

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