TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Labour organizations, including the
Ontario Federation of Labour, Unifor, and CUPE-Ontario are calling on
the federal government to find new monies for the Canada Jobs Grant,
instead of absorbing funds earmarked for crucial training and
The labour organizations are raising their concerns in advance of a
November 8 meeting of Federal Minister of Employment and Social
Development Jason Kenney and his provincial and territorial
counterparts in Toronto.
On the agenda for the meeting is the future of the skills development,
literacy training and labour adjustment programs provided under the
Labour Market Agreements.
In the 2013-4 budget, the federal government proposed the Canada Job
Grant, with funding diverted from the Labour Market Agreements, as
opposed to new monies. Labour Market Agreement funding is provided to
the provincial and territorial governments for training such as
literacy and other skills to support vulnerable individuals not
eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
"The Canada Jobs Grant is misleading Canadians. Under the guise of
addressing skills shortages, it will actually divert crucial funding
for literacy training and skills upgrading away from vulnerable workers
who need it the most - women, immigrants, young workers and older
workers will be left out in the cold," said Ontario Federation of
Labour President Sid Ryan.
"The Canada Job Grant program is part of a broader agenda that includes
cuts to Employment Insurance, deferring Old Age Security benefits, and
the exploitation of migrant workers," said Unifor National President
Jerry Dias. He said that the policy agenda panders to the needs of
corporate Canada and is having the effect of driving down wages in
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn raised that the Canada Job Grant
program is fundamentally flawed. "Employers are 100 per cent in control
and it focuses only on the short-term interests of employers - there is
no evidence that the Canada Job Grant will increase overall training."
Hahn said that the Canada Job Grant does not come with new funding.
Instead, it is a one-size fits-all approach which reduces the ability
of provinces and territories to meet their local labour market needs.
The OFL, CUPE-Ontario and Unifor raised the concern that vulnerable
Canadians are at greater risk of being left behind if funding from the
Labour Market Agreements is diverted to the Canada Job Grant.
According to the organizations, without literacy and essential skills
training, many Canadians will not have the opportunity to contribute to
our society and economy.
The group supports provincial and territorial governments' position that
the Labour Market Agreements should be protected and that any new
program should be funded with new money. The group is urging the
provincial and territorial governments to keep vulnerable workers in
mind and stay strong to their position against the Canada Job Grant.
The group is proposing a Labour Market Partners Forum be established at
the provincial and federal level -- and called for better collaboration
between stakeholders, leading to more effective labour market
strategies, plans and policies. One of the problems with the Grant was
a lack of consultation, research and analysis, which the group agrees
is illustrative of the Harper government's rigid and undemocratic
approach to policy making.
A Labour Market Partners Forum would be made up equally of
representatives from government, labour and employers to provide a
venue for ongoing dialogue about addressing a wide range of economic
and labour market challenges, ensuring that various perspectives are
considered in the development of public policy.
For further information:
Cammie Peirce, National Representative, Unifor Pensions & Benefits Department Cammie.Peirce@unifor.org. Office 416-495-3759, Cell: 905-866-8146
Shannon Devine, Unifor Communications Director, Shannon.Devine@Unifor.org, Office 1-800-268-5763 ext.6544, Cell 416-302-1699 (BILINGUAL)
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director, JDuff@ofl.ca, Cell 416-707-0349, (BILINGUAL)
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, CSaunders@cupe.ca, 416-576-7316