An estimated 240,000 workers in Quebec to benefit
MONTRÉAL, June 20, 2019 /CNW/ - By investing directly in Canada's greatest asset—its resilient, hardworking people—the Government of Canada is helping the labour market continue to be a pillar of strength for the Canadian economy.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, along with Jean Boulet, Quebec's Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region, announced two new agreements that will see the Government of Canada provide Quebec with nearly $5.4 billion to invest in its workers and businesses. These agreements represent an increase in funding of approximately $680 million. The additional funding, committed until 2022–23, means that an estimated 240,000 more Quebec workers will benefit from employment and skills training programs and measures to transition into the job market, maintain employment or gain access to new career opportunities. In addition, these investments will provide more support to businesses throughout Quebec for their recruitment and training efforts to increase productivity in response to the labour shortage the province will experience in the coming years.
Through these agreements, the Government of Canada is helping more people benefit from employment and skills training programs—especially those from groups typically under‑represented in the workforce, such as persons with disabilities, youth and Indigenous people. The programs cover skills development, experiential learning and other supports.
As innovation and technology continue to change how people live and work, Quebec's workers face new challenges and opportunities. That is why it is more important than ever before to ensure that everyone benefits from an innovation-driven economy—and it means ensuring both employed and unemployed people have the chance to learn 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 updated Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA). Through these agreements, Quebec will receive nearly $5.4 billion—close to $1.2 billion through the WDA and close to $4.2 billion through the LMDA.
The governments of Canada and Quebec will report results to Canadians about the impacts of employment and skills training programs, including how they increase workers' earnings and break down barriers that impede the labour market participation of under‑represented groups.
All Canadians deserve a fair and equal chance at success in the workforce. Through investments like the labour market agreements announced today, the Government of Canada is strengthening the middle class and helping the people working hard to join it.
"Our greatest asset as a country is our people. Through investments like today's agreements with Quebec, we're ensuring our people can continue to be competitive, resilient and responsive as jobs evolve and our economy grows. When we give people the tools to succeed, the middle class grows stronger and workers and their families thrive."
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"The labour market is constantly evolving, and with it the skills in demand by employers. Through agreements like those announced today with the Government of Quebec, we are ensuring that Quebec's workers can stay competitive and respond to employers' needs so that our economy and our middle class can grow."
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
"I wanted these agreements to ensure that Quebec has access to all means necessary to meet its particular labour challenges. These agreements will enable Quebec to strengthen its role of governing active employment measures in the province and provide the best support possible to individuals and businesses based on current labour market realities."
– Jean Boulet, Quebec Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region
- 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 of Canada 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 consolidating funding from the Canada Job Fund Agreements, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (expired March 2018) and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (expired March 2017); and
- $1.8 billion over six years in amended LMDAs in addition to the 2.14 billion provided annually.
- From 2017–18 to 2022–23, the Government of Canada will invest approximately $20 billion in WDAs and LMDAs with provinces and territories.
- 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.
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 were developed from 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 (expired March 2018) and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (expired March 2017). 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, previously supported by the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.
These agreements provide provinces and territories with the flexibility to respond to the diverse needs of their respective clients, both employers and individuals, which include members of under-represented groups.
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 the employment benefits and support measures outlined in Part II of the Employment Insurance Act. LMDAs help Canadians quickly find jobs and return to work. They also ensure a skilled labour force capable of meeting the current and emerging needs of employers.
Budget 2017 proposed measures to expand eligibility to help more Canadians access skills training and employment assistance under the amended LMDAs. These measures involve:
- investing an additional $1.8 billion in LMDAs over six years;
- broadening eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits (e.g. skills training, wage subsidies) to include unemployed individuals who have made minimum EI premium contributions in at least 5 of the last 10 years;
- expanding eligibility for employment assistance services (e.g. employment counselling, job search assistance), previously only 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 their workers to adjust to technological or structural changes in the economy).
The Government of Canada, as part of Budget 2018 commitments, announced $230 million to better assist workers in seasonal industries, including:
- an additional $41 million over two years, which began in 2018–19, to all provinces and territories through their LMDAs to provide skills training, wage subsidies and employment supports for workers in seasonal industries; and
- $189 million to implement a pilot project to provide up to five additional weeks of EI regular benefits to eligible seasonal claimants in 13-targeted EI regions. These additional weeks will be available to those who start a benefit period between August 5, 2018, and May 30, 2020.
The Government of Canada makes significant investments in skills development—close to $7.5 billion annually—across more than 100 distinct programs, ranging from programs for literacy and essential skills and apprenticeships, to those that assist newcomers to Canada in entering the labour market. Almost $3 billion of this programming is delivered in partnership with the provinces, territories and Indigenous groups, and targets students and Canadians who are unemployed.
To help working Canadians get the skills they need to succeed in our ever-changing world, Budget 2019 proposed the new Canada Training Benefit, a flexible option for finding the time and the money needed to pursue training, improve skills, and build strong and lasting careers.
Canada Training Benefit
The Canada Training Benefit could give workers a refundable tax credit on their income tax and benefit return to help offset tuition costs for training, provide income support during training, and offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to gain in-demand skills and upgrade their existing skills. The benefit would include:
- the Canada Training Credit, which is a new refundable tax credit that allows eligible workers to receive $250 per year towards their training amount limit, up to a lifetime limit of $5,000, to help fund future eligible tuition and fees;
- the Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit that would provide eligible workers with up to four weeks of income support, paid at 55 percent of average weekly insurable earnings, to be taken within a four-year period when they require time off work to train;
- the EI Premium Rebate for Small Businesses, which would offset the upward pressure on EI premiums resulting from the new EI Training Support Benefit; and
- new leave provisions under the Canada Labour Code that would allow federally regulated workers to take time away from work to pursue training and receive the EI Training Support Benefit without risk to their job security.
The Canada Training Benefit will be available to millions of Canadian workers. It is estimated that approximately 600,000 Canadians will claim the Canada Training Credit each year. The uptake of the EI Training Support Benefit will depend on its final design.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Véronique 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]