Minister Kenney urges employers to look to Canadians, including newcomers, to tackle skills shortages

VANCOUVER, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - In his keynote speech today at the B.C. Business Summit, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, challenged employers to seek out Canadians and newcomers  to address their skills shortages. New Canadians represent a valuable source of skilled labour from which employers in Canada can recruit.

"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs and economic growth.  We are committed to fixing the skills mismatch in Canada where we have too many Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians," said Minister Kenney. "Canadians, including newcomers, must always be first in line for available jobs. Our government is working with provinces and territories to improve foreign credential recognition so that new Canadians can put their skills to work sooner."

In 2007, our government established the Foreign Credentials Referral Office to provide internationally trained workers with information and services for credential assessment so they can find work in their fields quickly. Since 2009, internationally trained individuals in 14 occupations can have their qualifications assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada, so they can put their knowledge and skills to work sooner.

Our government also introduced the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot to help internationally trained workers offset the costs of the foreign credential recognition process.

To date, agreements have been signed with nine organizations across the country to deliver these loans. The federal government continues to partner with the provinces and territories to improve foreign credential recognition.

Furthermore, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to connect Canadians to available jobs by equipping them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, opportunities for apprentices and supporting under-represented groups.

For more information on foreign credential recognition, please consult: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/credential_recognition/index.shtml

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.


Backgrounder


The Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program and Services

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program improves the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program works with and provides funding to provinces, territories and other stakeholders—including regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions, sector councils and employers—to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

Established in May 2007, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office provides information and referral services, both in Canada and overseas, to help internationally trained workers have their credentials assessed quickly. Visit www.cic.gc.ca to learn more about available online services.

Also, in 2005 the Government of Canada launched the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative. This initiative works with provinces, territories and stakeholders to enable more internationally educated health professionals put their skills to work in Canada's health system.

In February 2012, the Government introduced the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot Project. Delivered in cooperation with community organizations, this pilot is helping internationally trained professionals cover the costs of having their credentials recognized, so they can find jobs that best suit their skills and experience.

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
  • Engineers Canada

Opportunities for Apprentices

To further reduce barriers to accreditation in the skilled trades in Canada and increase opportunities for apprentices, the Government will work with provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices, and examine the use of practical tests as a method of assessment, in targeted skilled trades. This will support more apprentices in completing their training and encourage mobility across the country.

In addition, the Government will support the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. The Government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing Program support the use of apprentices.

Apprenticeship Grants

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant 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 Incentive Grant was announced as part of Budget 2006.

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant 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 Apprenticeship Completion Grant was announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2009.

As a result of these grants, apprentices who complete their apprenticeship training in a designated Red Seal trade and become certified journeypersons could be eligible to receive up to $4,000. To date, the Government has issued over a half-billion dollars in apprenticeship grants for Canadians.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

On April 29, to strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Government announced planned legislative, regulatory and administrative changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

To date, the Government of Canada has implemented the following changes from that announcement:

  • require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the previous wage flexibility;
  • temporarily suspended the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion  process;
  • introduce fees for employers for the processing of Labour Market Opinions so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing these costs;
  • identify English and French as the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement;
  • increase the recruitment efforts that employers must make to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers, including increasing the length and reach of advertising; and
  • add questions to Labour Market Opinion applications to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.

The following planned changes are still under development as part of the ongoing reform of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and will be implemented in the coming months:

  • increase the Government's authority to revoke work permits and suspend, revoke and refuse to process Labour Market Opinions  if employers are misusing the program; and
  • ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time.

Economic Action Plan 2013

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to equip Canadians with the skills and training they need to fill skills shortages and succeed in the Canadian labour market. These include the Canada Job Grant, which will invest in skills training for unemployed and underemployed Canadians, better ensuring they are qualified to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs that are available. Economic Action Plan 2013 is also creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups such as Canadians with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

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
Follow us on Twitter

IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.

This news release is available online at actionplan.gc.ca.


FORFAITS PERSONNALISÉS

Jetez un coup d’œil sur nos forfaits personnalisés ou créez le vôtre selon vos besoins de communication particuliers.

Commencez dès aujourd'hui .

ADHÉSION À CNW

Remplissez un formulaire d'adhésion à CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1-877-269-7890.

RENSEIGNEZ-VOUS SUR LES SERVICES DE CNW

Demandez plus d'informations sur les produits et services de CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1‑877-269-7890.