EDMONTON, April 19, 2017 /CNW/ - Albertans will be first in line for available jobs under a new federal-provincial pilot project that will help employers hire locally.
The Honourable Christina Gray, Alberta's Minister of Labour, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour made the announcement today in Edmonton, Alberta at an event hosted by the Alberta Construction Association, which develops standard industry practices and promotes a highly skilled workforce.
The new Employer Liaison Service will be piloted over 24 months and will provide targeted and enhanced recruitment support to Alberta employers to hire Albertans rather than temporary foreign workers.
The initial focus of the service will be to support Alberta employers, looking for high-skilled workers in sectors with higher rates of unemployment. To support this effort, 29 high-wage occupations that have a sufficient local labour supply have been jointly identified and placed on a new "Refusal to Process" list under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
To find and hire unemployed Albertans, employers will get access to labour market information and better support to take advantage of existing federal and provincial services. Both governments will continue to share information on labour market programming, including on the TFWP to better ensure integrity of the Program and better protect against exploitation of temporary foreign workers. Additional measures under the TFWP will include updating the existing 6% rule quarterly, which is a refusal to process for certain occupations in the Accommodations and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors where the unemployment rate in an Economic Region is 6% or greater.
The governments will continue to collaborate to increase awareness and promotion of the Work-Sharing Program for those employers directly or indirectly affected by the economic downturn, given its recent positive impact in Alberta.
As both governments continue to work together, additional ways to keep Albertans first in line for jobs will also be considered, including opportunities for people who are underrepresented in the workforce, such as Indigenous peoples, youth, newcomers and persons with disabilities.
This pilot complements the proposed Budget 2017 Government of Canada investments to provide a one-time payment of $30 million to the Government of Alberta to support provincial actions that will stimulate economic activity and employment in Alberta's resource sector.
"This project will help make life better for hardworking Albertans. The Employer Liaison Service will help Alberta workers find new opportunities with employers across the province who are looking to fill highly-skilled positions. We have an exceptional pool of talented, well-trained and motivated workers in Alberta and our government is working with the Government of Canada to ensure they're first in line for available jobs."
- Christina Gray, Minister of Labour
"We're putting Albertans first in line for available jobs across the province. By helping more people get work, we will strengthen Alberta's economy; I'm proud to be launching this program as a joint effort between Canada's and Alberta's governments."
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"Our member companies applaud the Canadian and Alberta Governments for introducing this pilot program. Construction employs approximately one in nine working Albertans. Our members employ Albertans in communities across the province. We believe in hiring Albertans first, Canadians next and foreign workers as a last resort. The pilot program has great potential to help our member firms support Alberta families."
- Chris Ambrozic, Senior Vice Chair, Alberta Construction Association
- Alberta's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4% in March 2017. This rate was up 0.1 percentage points from the previous month (8.3% in February 2017).
- The unemployment rate increased because the labour force increased by 24,900 people from the previous month and employment increased by 20,400. Full-time employment increased by 20,700 and part-time employment decreased by 300 over the same period.
- As of December 2016, Alberta had the third highest number of EI recipients in Canada (97,870). The number of EI recipients is up 54.8% compared to December 2015.
- Employers to benefit from the new services include those looking to hire individuals in management, business, finance, administration, natural and applied sciences, trades, transport and equipment operators, and occupations in manufacturing and utilities.
- The Work-Sharing Program is a federal adjustment measure designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.
- Alberta is the largest user of Work-Sharing in Canada. Between April 1, 2016 and March 30, 2017, there were 747 active Work-Sharing agreements underway in Alberta assisting over 12,076 employees.
The Employer Liaison Service will provide the following services to Alberta employers:
- Comprehensive online tools are available on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank to help employers find domestic workers.
- Service Canada will provide employers whose Labour Market Impact Assessment under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is declined with a link to the online information services available to all employers in Alberta.
- Employers affected by the new "Refusal to Process" list will be provided with a direct phone and email contact for Alberta Labour, where they will receive enhanced services to fill the specific occupations with local workers.
Next steps for the project:
- The governments of Canada and Alberta will continue to monitor the economic situation in Alberta and assess employment trends in the province.
- The success of these pilot measures will be determined by the extent to which the employer liaison services are used by employers, and the number of Albertans and Canadians who are matched with available jobs.
For more information on the Employer Liaison Service and the Refusal to Process list, visit AlbertaCanada.com/ELS.
For more information on Budget 2017, visit budget.gc.ca.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Matt Dykstra, Press Secretary, Alberta Labour, [email protected], 587-985-9441; Matt Pascuzzo, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, [email protected], 819-654-4183; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]