OTTAWA, Jan. 26, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, together with the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, met with the Honourable Shirley Bond, British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, to discuss continued joint efforts to ensure British Columbia and Canada have the skilled and productive workforce needed in the natural resource sector.
The ministers are building on the March 31, 2014 Canada–British Columbia Memorandum of Understanding on a Strong Resource Economy to resolve labour market challenges and ensure that Canadians can benefit from economic opportunities in the mining, forestry and liquefied natural gas sectors. The priority of this strategy is to ensure that British Columbians, including First Nations and other Canadians, are first in line for available jobs.
At the meeting, the ministers agreed to continue to work together through the cost-shared Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program, signing-off on several projects that will help unemployed workers aged 55 to 64 return to the workforce.
The ministers also agreed to work together on a number of key areas related to the memorandum of understanding, including:
- reducing barriers to apprentice mobility in the trades in B.C. and across Canada;
- increasing Aboriginal skills training opportunities in B.C. for resource sector jobs, particularly in northern communities;
- Improving and expanding regional labour market information;
- addressing barriers to foreign credential recognition to ensure there are skilled employment opportunities for skilled newcomers to B.C.;
- encouraging employers to use the Canada Job Grant in B.C. to train workers; and
- increasing the number of apprentices by promoting supports like the Government of Canada's Apprenticeship Loan Program, Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant, as well as B.C.'s Training Tax Credits for Apprentices, and Apprentice Job Match service.
- By 2022, B.C. is expecting 1 million job openings created by retirements and the province's growing economy. Forty-four percent of these will be in skilled trades and technical occupations.
- Overall, labour demand is expected to grow faster than labour supply in B.C. As a result, tight labour market conditions, where the demand for workers surpasses the supply of workers, are expected starting in 2019.
- On January 1, 2015, the Government of Canada launched Express Entry, a faster and more effective way to welcome economic immigrants to Canada than ever before. Provinces and territories can nominate foreign nationals through the Express Entry system to meet their local immigration and labour market needs.
"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. There are good job opportunities in B.C.'s natural resource sector and we are working with the Government of British Columbia to ensure that Canadians have the right skills for these available, well-paying and in demand jobs—this will be good for both British Columbia and the broader Canadian economy."
– The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"Our Government is building a fast, fair and flexible immigration system that is focused on ensuring economic growth across Canada. We will continue to work with provinces and territories to ensure immigration plays an active role in meeting regional labour market needs."
– Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander
"Resource industries have the potential to drive even more job creation in British Columbia, that's why we're partnering with the federal government to create a strong resource economy. Our discussions today will help create the foundation for ensuring we have the right workers in the right place to meet the growing demand for skilled labour, particularly in the North."
– The Honourable Shirley Bond, British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour
- Governments of Canada and British Columbia take action to create jobs
- Canada Job Grant
- Canada Job Grant (British Columbia)
- British Columbia's Skills for Jobs Blueprint
- Recruiting In-Demand, Skilled Immigrants to Canada
- Government of Canada helps new Canadians get jobs faster
- Canada's Economic Action Plan
Canada–British Columbia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a Strong Resource Economy
The resource industry is a significant economic driver in rural and remote regions and is important to British Columbia's and Canada's economic future. Canada's unique opportunity to expand its energy export industry will generate billions of dollars of investment, create thousands of jobs, and strengthen Canada's global reputation as an energy leader.
Through this memorandum of understanding, Canada and British Columbia will work together to ensure that Canadians are first in line for jobs in British Columbia's fast-growing resources industry.
Both governments are committed to working with employers, unions, Aboriginal communities, the education and training sector, and other partners to develop the workforce the resources industry needs. This includes ensuring that Aboriginal people can participate in and benefit from emerging opportunities in the resources industry and encouraging greater participation and investments by employers in skills training.
Specific areas of collaboration include:
- gathering the best possible workforce information to better track and project job needs;
- harnessing existing capacity of the education and training sector and the employer community to increase the number of skilled trade workers and professionals for the resources industry;
- increasing training and job opportunities for Aboriginal people and groups under-represented in the labour market;
- ensuring training investments are more responsive to employers' needs; and
- reducing barriers to labour mobility and foreign credential recognition for workers who choose to move for jobs in the resources industry.
The increased global demand for new and expanded energy sources has created a highly competitive global environment, requiring timely and responsible action to ensure Canada's energy industry is export-ready. Mining and forestry also continue to expand and provide strong economic opportunities. This MOU will give communities and investors the confidence to move forward with resource development projects.
Since the MOU was signed, the Governments of Canada and British Colombia have made progress in several labour-market areas, including:
British Columbia and other western provinces are moving in the right direction on harmonization. Through the New West Partnership Agreement, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan have committed to enhance the mobility of apprentices. The New West Partnership initiative is focused on labour mobility and developing efficiency benefits in particular targeted areas.
The Government of Canada recently introduced the Canada Apprentice Loan to help those already apprenticing complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades, allowing participants to take advantage of the many job opportunities across Canada.
Increased employer involvement
British Columbia is delivering the Canada Job Grant, an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills they need for available jobs. The Canada Job Grant ensures that employers participate meaningfully as partners in the skills training system, sharing in the associated costs and better aligning training with job opportunities, particularly in sectors facing skills mismatches and labour shortages.
The Canada Job Grant is part of the $65 million Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement provided by the Government of Canada. While the Grant helps employers and employees get the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the Fund will also ensure training programs exist to give vulnerable workers the skills to enter or progress in the job market.
Foreign credential recognition
British Columbia, with funding from the Government of Canada, is supporting several projects to address barriers to foreign credential recognition for skilled newcomers in B.C. to help them find jobs in their fields faster. This includes online tools to better inform new Canadians what jobs are in demand in Canada, outreach and consultation with employers and stakeholders to eliminate barriers to new Canadians entering the workforce, and working with regulators to analyze progress on speeding up the recognition of foreign credentials in in-demand fields.
The Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot Project, delivered in cooperation with community organizations, helps internationally trained professionals cover the costs of having their credentials recognized, so they can find jobs that best suit their skills and experience.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Lauren Armstrong, Office of Minister Kenney, 819-994-2482; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected], Follow us on Twitter; Media Relations, British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour, 250-387-2799