WHISTLER, BC, April 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, spoke at the Canadian Home Builders' Association National Conference about how the Government of Canada is creating jobs and helping alleviate regional and sectoral skills shortages, specifically in the skilled trades.
Minister Kenney outlined a number of Government of Canada initiatives of interest to the homebuilding sector including tax credits for employers who hire apprentices, grants for apprentices, the Canada Apprentice Loan and supporting the hiring of apprentices for federal construction, maintenance and infrastructure projects. Minister Kenney also urged employers to make greater efforts to hire apprentices and urged provinces to work with the federal government to harmonize apprenticeship systems in Canada.
Minister Kenney highlighted the importance of involving employers in training decisions. The Canada Job Grant will result in greater employer investment and involvement in training and guaranteed jobs.
- According to BuildForce Canada, over 300,000 new construction workers will be needed in the next decade.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will provide apprentices with access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loan will help apprentices complete their training and will encourage more Canadians to consider the skilled trades.
- As of 2013, investment in new residential construction, renovations and ownership transfer costs accounted for approximately 6.7 percent of Canada's GDP.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Our government is committed to addressing the paradox of too many Canadians without jobs in an economy of too many jobs without Canadians. Through the Canada Job Grant, support for apprentices and encouraging Canadians to enter the skilled trades, we are taking action to ensure Canadians have the skills for the jobs employers have available."
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"Our member companies in the residential construction industry are facing real challenges in finding the skilled workers we need—a problem projected to get worse. We are therefore very pleased with the proactive approach Minister Kenney has taken to his files both previously as the Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and now in his role as Minister of Employment and Social Development."
- Kevin Lee, CEO, Canadian Home Builders' Association
Economic Action Plan 2014
To help registered apprentices with the cost of their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades, the Canada Apprentice Loan will offer interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training and will defer interest charges and loan repayment until the recipients complete or cancel their study program. It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices per year will apply for over $100 million in loans.
The Government of Canada is also introducing the new Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project that will explore ways to allow apprentices to continue working while fulfilling the technical training requirements of their programs. This project could potentially support up to 12 multi-year projects through reallocations of $13 million over four years starting in 2014-15.
The Government will ensure increased awareness of existing financial supports available through Employment Insurance (EI) so apprentices can start to receive benefits more quickly while on technical training. Through EI's Supplemental Unemployment Benefit plan, employers can also invest more in apprenticeship training by choosing to top up an apprentice's benefits by up to 95 percent of his or her normal wage.
Support for apprentices
The Government of Canada provided more than $4.3 million and the governments of the Atlantic provinces provided over $3.5 million to harmonize training, certification and standards, leading to increased availability of training, higher apprenticeship completion rates and more labour mobility for apprentices across Atlantic Canada.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are taxable cash grants that 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.
The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradesmen to help cover the cost of new tools.
Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada introduced measures to support apprentices and the skilled trades, including federal funding commitments under the Investment in Affordable Housing. These include encouraging the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts and infrastructure projects, working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training and certification, and examining the use of practical tests as a method of assessment in certain skilled trades.
Economic Action Plan 2014 also proposes the Canada Apprentice Loan to provide apprentices registered in their first Red Seal trade with access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. This initiative will help more apprentices to complete their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades. The Government also plans to introduce the new Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project that will explore ways to allow apprentices to continue working while fulfilling the technical training requirements of their programs.
Also through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government will provide more information on job prospects and the benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education in these high-demand fields.
The Government of Canada is also working to implement the Canada Job Grant, which will provide funding for skills training for unemployed and underemployed Canadians to help them become qualified to fill skills shortages and succeed in the job market.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister