EDMONTON, June 27, 2018 /CNW/ - By investing directly in Canada's greatest asset—its resilient, hardworking people—the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the economic growth Canada creates is the kind of growth that works for everyone.
Today, the Honourable Minister Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and the Honourable Christina Gray, Alberta Minister of Labour, announced that the governments of Canada and Alberta have signed agreements that will see Canada provide the province with over $1.7 billion over six years to invest in Albertan workers. These agreements represent an increase in funding of nearly $500 million over the period, compared to previous funding levels. This increase means that about 124,000 more Alberta workers will benefit than before.
Speaking at Women Building Futures Training Centre, Minister Hajdu said that these agreements will significantly increase the jobs and skills training available to people in Alberta, including apprenticeship training, self-employment training, academic upgrading, English as a second language, and more.
Through these agreements, the Government of Canada is ensuring more people benefit from programs than before—particularly people from groups typically underrepresented in our workforce, such as people with disabilities, women, and Indigenous people. For example, programs like the Aboriginal Training to Employment Program, the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Employment Preparation and Placement Supports program, and Women Building Futures – which supports more women in building their careers in the skilled trades – will all see renewed funding through the agreements announced today. As innovation and technology continue to change how we live and work, people in Alberta, and all Canadians, are met with new challenges and new opportunities. This Government investment in jobs and skills training will help Alberta's workforce prepare for the good, well-paying Canadian jobs that will be created by Alberta's growing economy. Everybody deserves the opportunity to benefit from an innovation-driven economy—and that means ensuring both employed and unemployed people have opportunities to acquire the skills they will need for the jobs of today as well as the jobs of tomorrow.
The agreements announced today are the new Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) and the Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA). In the first two years, Alberta will receive approximately $490 million—more than $182 million through the WDA and nearly $308 million through the LMDA.
Results matter. That is why these agreements include a commitment to performance measurement. That means that Canada and Alberta will be able to measure how programs are increasing people's earnings, helping them get jobs that last, and breaking down barriers for under‑represented groups like Indigenous people, people with disabilities and women. The Government of Canada will be reporting to Canadians on the impacts of these programs, so that they are transparent and so that they can be continually improved.
The WDA will help Alberta deliver training and services, such as:
- The Canada-Alberta Job Grant, which allows new and existing employees to increase their knowledge and skills through training jointly funded by employers and government.
- Disability related employment supports, including funding for technologies like specialized computer software, tutors, and worksite modifications such as wheelchair ramps.
- Academic upgrading.
- English as a Second Language training.
- Indigenous skills training programs, including the Aboriginal Training to Employment Program and First Nations Training to Employment Program.
Funding under the LMDA will allow Alberta to help more people and more employers meet their needs, through measures such as:
- Support for apprentices and jobs in construction – essential for building the infrastructure we need for our economy to thrive.
- Transition to Employment Services, such as the Shuttle Program at Higher Landing, which gives unemployed Albertans individualized services in career management and job search skills to help them return to work as soon as possible.
- Women Building Futures, which provides exposure and training in non-traditional career options in the construction trades to women.
Every Canadian deserves a fair and equal chance at success in the workforce. Through smart investments like the provincial agreements announced today, we can strengthen our middle class and help more of the people working so hard to join it.
"I know that our greatest asset as a country is our people. Through investments like today's agreement with Alberta, we are ensuring Albertans, and all Canadians, can continue to be competitive, resilient, and responsive as jobs evolve and as our economy grows. When we give people the tools to succeed, our middle class grows stronger and our workers create a better future for themselves and their families."
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"Our government has the backs of working people and we're focused on the priorities of everyday Albertans – creating good jobs and making life more affordable. This agreement with the federal government will help Albertans get the training, or re-training, they need to succeed in our growing and diversified economy. While things are looking up, and as our economy continues to improve, we will work to ensure that Albertans have the support they deserve."
– The Honourable Christina Gray, Alberta Minister of Labour
- The Government of Canada transfers nearly $3 billion annually to provinces and territories to support employment and skills training programs. Through Budget 2017, the Government is investing an additional $2.7 billion from 2017–18 to 2022–23:
- $900 million over a period of six years (in addition to the $722 million provided annually) in new WDAs that consolidate the Canada Job Fund Agreements, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (expired in March 2017); and
- $1.8 billion over six years in amended LMDAs to provinces and territories.
- In total, from 2017–18 to 2022–23, the Government will invest approximately $20 billion in WDAs and LMDAs with provinces and territories.
- Through these agreements, provincial and territorial governments will have greater flexibility in the design and delivery of programming and services to respond to the diverse and emerging needs of Canadians.
- The LMDAs and WDAs include a commitment to strong performance measurement. Canada and Alberta will work together to measure how programs are increasing people's earnings, helping them get jobs that last, and breaking down barriers for under‑represented groups like Indigenous people, people with disabilities and women. Canada and Alberta will report to Canadians on the impacts of these programs to support continuous improvement.
Changing demands of the workplace
Canada is home to a well-educated and highly skilled workforce, but rapid technological change and globalization are accelerating the need to learn and develop new skills. As the demands of the workplace change, so too must the skills that workers bring to their jobs. The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that both employers and governments are more responsive to workers' needs.
The new and amended agreements followed broad-based consultations with more than 700 stakeholders on how to expand and improve skills training and employment supports for Canadians.
Workforce Development Agreements
The new Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) consolidate the Canada Job Fund Agreements, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and the former Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. In addition to the $722 million provided annually to provinces and territories under the WDAs, Budget 2017 added $900 million over a period of six years from 2017–18 to 2022–23. The new funding will also support provincial and territorial employment programming for older workers, which was previously supported by the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.
Through these agreements, the Government is providing Canadians with more opportunities to upgrade their skills, gain experience or get help to start their own business. The agreements also mean more support, such as employment counselling, to help Canadians plan their careers.
Labour Market Development Agreements
Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) are bilateral agreements with each province and territory to design and deliver employment programming similar to Employment Benefits and Support Measures outlined in Part II of the Employment Insurance Act. LMDAs help unemployed Canadians quickly find and return to work. They also ensure a skilled labour force that meets current and emerging needs of employers.
Budget 2017 measures to expand eligibility to help more Canadians access skills training and employment assistance under the amended LMDAs include:
- investing an additional $1.8 billion in LMDAs over six years;
- broadening eligibility for Employment Benefits (e.g. skills training, wage subsidies) to include unemployed individuals who have made minimum Employment Insurance premium contributions in at least 5 of the last 10 years;
- expanding eligibility for Employment Assistance Services (e.g. employment counselling, job search assistance), currently available to unemployed Canadians, to also include employed Canadians; and
- increasing flexibility for provinces and territories to support employer-sponsored training under Labour Market Partnerships (e.g. to help employers who need to upskill or retrain their workers in order to adjust to technological or structural changes in the economy).
These agreements represent an increase in funding of over $2.7 million over the period, compared to previous funding levels. This increase means an estimated 730,000 more workers will benefit over the six years.
More recently, in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced an additional $80 million in 2018–19 and $150 million in 2019–20 to work with key provinces to find local solutions to help support seasonal workers in the off-season.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Media enquiries: Veronique Simard, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, [email protected], 819-654-5611; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]; Kate Toogood, Press Secretary, Alberta Labour, 780-918-1616, [email protected]