Minister Kenney urges provinces, employers to play their part in tackling skills shortages

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, On, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, emphasized to business leaders at the Economic Summit of Ontario the importance of addressing skills shortages and the need for all levels of government to act to overcome critical labour market challenges.

"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," said Minister Kenney. "The status quo is not good enough. We need to reform the apprenticeship system, rethink post-secondary education and implement the Canada Job Grant."

Minister Kenney spoke about the Government's Speech from the Throne, which reaffirmed the federal government's priorities as creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians by protecting the economy, keeping taxes low and keeping Canadian families and communities safe. He also reiterated the Government's commitment to creating opportunities for apprentices.

Minister Kenney stressed the need for provinces and territories to take action to reform their apprenticeship systems and better align post-secondary education with labour market needs, and the need for more employer involvement in skills training.

"Our government wants to ensure that Canadians are aware of which occupations are in demand, such as the skilled trades and STEM-related jobs," added Minister Kenney. "We are also moving forward with the implementation of the Canada Job Grant and related measures to involve employers in training decisions to connect Canadians with skills and training that lead to guaranteed jobs."

In addition, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide more information to youth about on-the-job prospects and the benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education in these high-demand fields.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also supports under-represented groups in the labour market, including people with disabilities, youth, newcomers and Aboriginal people. For more information, visit


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
  • Association of Canadian Community Colleges
  • Canadian Construction Association
  • Information Technology Association of Canada
  • Welding Bureau
  • Engineers Canada

Support for Apprentices

The Government supports the skilled trades and apprentices through grants, tax credits and tax deductions.

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 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 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.

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:

  • 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 labour 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.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

For further information (media only):

Alexandra Fortier
Office of the Minister

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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