OTTAWA, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, delivered a keynote speech at the Canadian Nuclear Association Annual Conference and Trade Show to highlight why skills development is critical to keeping our economy on track and a key area of focus for Canada's energy future.
Minister Sorenson underlined the Government of Canada's approach to addressing the skills shortage and skills mismatch in our economy. Economic Action Plan 2014 will help connect Canadians to available jobs and promote economic growth with initiatives including the Canada Job Grant, Canada Apprentice Loan and the Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project.
- Canada's nuclear industry represents over 60 000 jobs.
- Over 45 percent of employees at Canada's uranium mines are Aboriginal people, and nearly 50 percent are northern residents. The mines are expected to double production over the next five years.
- In Canada, 50 percent of electricity generation workers are eligible for retirement in the next 5 to 10 years.
- Canada is facing a shortage of engineers with more than 10 years of experience; 95 000 professional engineers will retire by 2020.
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects world energy consumption will increase 56 percent by 2040.
- It is estimated that there are hundreds of resource projects currently underway or planned over the next 10 years, representing $650 billion in planned investment across Canada.
- The $650 billion in planned investment across Canada, along with expected retirement and attrition, will increase labour demand, with projections suggesting a cumulative demand of 300 000 workers for the energy, mining and forest sectors by 2021.
"Our energy future is bright if we remain committed to building a strong, adaptable and dynamic workforce that can meet the increasing demands of global competition more effectively. We know that if we want to drive the economy forward, we need to have people with the right skills for the jobs of tomorrow, including those in the nuclear industry."
- The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)
The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure Canadians can make better choices and get the skills and training that employers are looking for.
Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant will help Canadians get the training they need for available jobs and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers. It will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, including tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. Employers would be required to contribute on average one-third of the total costs of training.
The Canada Job Grant is strongly supported by employers and other stakeholders including:
- The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO;
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business;
- Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters;
- Canadian Construction Association;
- Information Technology Association of Canada;
- Welding Bureau; and
- Engineers Canada.
Support for Post-secondary Education and Apprentices
Post-secondary education is vital to Canada's economic growth and future prosperity. That is why the Government of Canada continues to invest in post-secondary education, including apprenticeships, to make sure it is accessible for all Canadians through education savings incentives, loans, grants, tax credits, tax deductions and support for training programs.
The Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education is a major five-year initiative launched by the Conference Board of Canada to address Canada's advanced skills and education challenges. More information is available from the Conference Board of Canada.
Support for Apprentices
Economic Action Plan 2014 announced new programs and support for apprentices including the following:
- The Canada Apprentice Loan that will expand the Canada Student Loans Program to provide apprentices registered in Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year ($25.2 million over two years and $15.2 million per year on an ongoing basis).
- The Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training Pilot project that will expand on the use of innovative approaches to apprentice technical training ($13 million over four years).
- The Employment Awareness Initiative for Apprentices that will increase awareness of the financial supports available to support apprenticeship training.
New budget measures will work with existing supports including a number of grants and tax credits for apprentices and employers.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant 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 and expenses. To date, the Government of Canada has issued over a half-billion dollars in apprenticeship grants to Canadians.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a $1,000 taxable cash grant for apprentices who complete the first and/or second level of their apprenticeship program in a designated Red Seal trade, to a maximum of $2,000.
The Apprenticeship Completion Grant is a $2,000 taxable cash grant for eligible apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship training and receive their journeyman certification in a designated Red Seal trade.
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.
Support for Youth
The Government of Canada supports youth employment through a number of investments and initiatives including:
- Allocating $40 million over two years to support up to 3 000 full-time internships in high-demand fields for post-secondary graduates. A portion of this investment will go to the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program to support youth internships in small and medium-sized enterprises undertaking technical research and development projects.
- Reallocating $15 million annually within the Youth Employment Strategy to support up to 1 000 internships for recent post-secondary graduates in small and medium-sized businesses.
- Improving the Youth Employment Strategy to better align with job market realities to ensure federal investments in youth employment are more effective and provide young Canadians with real-life work experience in high-demand fields.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
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