IssuesJobs & Skills Training

Jobs & Skills Training

First Published: Oct 04, 2019
Last Updated: Oct 04, 2019
Monitored by: Naomi Shuman

Background

Canadians are among the most skilled and highly educated workers in the world. Helping Canadians get good jobs, prosper and maintain their skills help Canada grow the economy. The Canadian workforce is considered our most valuable asset. Currently, the Canadian economy is strong and growing. Since 2015, Canadians have created more than one million new jobs. The current unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since comparable data became available (1976).

The Government of Canada has a number of targeted programs to help individuals get training, find jobs and keep jobs. An example of one of these targeted programs is the Youth Employment Strategy, which involves a number of programs that help young Canadians gain skills and job experiences that will help them become a successful part of the workforce. Other programs support Indigenous people and veterans. The Government also offers a number of programs in collaboration with the provinces and territories.

Current Status

Budget 2019 introduced a new Canada Training Benefit to help workers between 25 and 64 continue to gain the skills they need. The new Benefit will launch in 2020 and will allow workers to take four weeks off every four years to pursue training to improve their skills or learn a new skill. The Benefit will provide a credit to help pay for training (a maximum credit of $250 per year, with a lifetime limit of $5000) and up to four weeks of income support to complete the training.

Budget 2019 also increased support for apprenticeships and made post-secondary education more affordable by lowering interest rates on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans and eliminating interest charges during the six-month grace period. It also included new measures to support post-secondary education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation students.

Budget 2019 created more on-the-job training by providing up to 84,000 new student work placements per year by 2023-24 (an investment of $798.2 million over five years) and growing opportunities through programs like Canada Service Corps (invest up to an additional $314.8 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $83.8 million per year ongoing) and Youth Employment Strategy (invest $49.5 million over the next five years, starting in 2019-20).

Liberal

As outlined above.

Conservatives

NDP

An NDP government will defend the unions so they can advocate for workers and will continue to oppose legislation that suspends the rights of workers to strike and bargain. Will put in place a fair living wage, federal minimum wage of $15 an hour which will apply to thousands of workers and set a national standard. Will create rules to require part-time and contract workers to be compensated equally to full-time workers and will ban unpaid internships outside of education programs. Will create opportunities for proactive training and retraining by allowing workers who quit their job to go to school to qualify for EI benefits and will expand options for EI funded training for workers in designated sectors and regions to in advance of losing a job. Will create a new program that will lead employers to continually train their employees by requiring them spend at least one percent of payroll on training for their employees annually. Will create a new Workers Development and Opportunities Fund with the provinces to expand training options for individuals who are not eligible for EI. Will protect Canadian jobs by strengthening and modernizing the Investment Canada Act. Will also work to protect manufacturing jobs in Canada by bringing together stakeholders to develop a national industrial strategy and taking measures to grow the domestic market for Canadian manufactured goods.

Green Party

A Green government would work to establish a Guaranteed Livable Income to provide basic income security to replace the current array of income support programs. It would re-establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. It would establish a Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund to ease the transition to a green economy by making investments in trades, apprenticeship and education. It would eliminate post-secondary education tuition for workers needing to train for new employment.

Would ensure justice in the workplace by rejecting back-to-work legislation as a bargaining tool in the bargaining process with unionized employees of the federal public service and by banning g unpaid internships in private sector workplaces unless they are part of a for-credit course at a post-secondary institution. It would also fully implement federal pay equity rules.

People's Party

Bloc Quebecois

October 4, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would create a Career Insurance Benefit to help workers transition to a new job following the loss of long-term work (worked continuously for the same employer for five or more years and are laid off when the business closes). The benefit would kick in after Employment Insurance ends, giving an additional 20 per cent of insured earnings in the first year and 10 per cent in the second year. A Liberal government will strengthen employment benefits by creating new federal labour code protections including the creation of a new federal Family Day holiday, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, stating in 2020 and rising with inflation and extend Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. It will create greater protection for people who work through digital platforms and create a provision that give workers the “right to disconnect”.

A Liberal government will also provide greater supports for training apprentices by creating the Canadian Apprenticeship Service which will provide up to $10,000 per apprentice over four years, for every new position. It will also implement a $40 million/year national workplace accessibility fund, with a focus on making small and medium-sized businesses more accessible.

September 25, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Justin Trudeau said the Liberals would invest $100 million in skills training to make sure there are enough qualified workers to handle the work related to energy-efficient homes program including the energy audits, retrofits and net-zero home construction.  

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

A Green government would work to establish a Guaranteed Livable Income to provide basic income security to replace the current array of income support programs. It would re-establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. It would establish a Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund to ease the transition to a green economy by making investments in trades, apprenticeship and education. It would eliminate post-secondary education tuition for workers needing to train for new employment.

Would ensure justice in the workplace by rejecting back-to-work legislation as a bargaining tool in the bargaining process with unionized employees of the federal public service and by banning g unpaid internships in private sector workplaces unless they are part of a for-credit course at a post-secondary institution. It would also fully implement federal pay equity rules.

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

The labour force continues to see a switch from full-time jobs to more temporary, part-time or contract work, with young people more often found in these positions, which is an issue of political and policy concern. A newly released government document says that federal officials are having difficulty tackling the issue of the “gig” economy because of a lack of reliable data. Different studies use different definitions of the “gig” economy and have differing results making it difficult to measure the size of the gig economy. Officials at Employment and Social Development Canada set the current evidence is limited and are pushing for “alternative methods of data collection” to learn more about platform workers.

September 5, 2019

Manufacturers urge federal parties to address industry concerns, including labour shortages. The federal parties are being asked to make clear campaign pledges for boosting manufacturing jobs, including simplified tax breaks and plans to address labour shortages among skilled trades.

In a plan released Wednesday, ahead of the federal election campaign, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association outlines 10 issues it would like the parties to address in their policy platforms.

At the top of the list are new measures to tackle what they say are labour shortages. Dennis Darby, the industry group’s president, says this can include encouraging young people to take up skilled trades and easing immigration rules for both entry-level and highly skilled workers.

The federal government routinely announces plans to boost competitiveness and innovation, but Mr. Darby says the bureaucratic hurdles involved in applying for various programs often frustrate company owners.

While the government boasts that Canada’s economic growth rate has been among the strongest in the Group of Seven recently, the CME points to less flattering statistics when it comes to the manufacturing sector.  “We’ve been falling behind relative to our peers,” Mr. Darby said.

A CME report released this year noted that Canada has had the second-poorest record in manufacturing productivity growth in the G7, ahead of only Italy, for a decade and a half. Between 2002 and 2017, labour productivity in Canadian manufacturing has increased about 20 per cent, compared with 50 per cent in the United States and more than 100 per cent in South Korea, Taiwan and Eastern Europe.

Manufacturing accounts for more than 10 per cent of the Canadian economy and touches a wide range of key industrial sectors, including automotive jobs, food processing, forestry, pharmaceuticals and energy production and transmission.

September 5, 2019
Roberto Chavez

A nationwide get-out-the-vote campaign targeting postsecondary students launches today, aiming to maintain gains in turnout at the polls among the nation’s youngest voters.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, in concert with three dozen student associations, will hold events and all-party debates and hit the streets with teams to make sure students are engaged during the campaign and plan to vote on Oct. 21.

CASA ran a similar campaign during the 2015 campaign, but this time around it has expanded efforts to include digital voting reminders through emails and text messages to students who ask for the alerts.

In its first effort, some 42,000 students told the association that they planned to vote – a number the group hopes to improve upon this time with the help of 36 campus associations.

Statistics Canada said in a 2016 report that the voting rates of Canadian aged 18 to 24 years old increased by 12 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 elections – a bigger bump than that among older voters.

The message of this campaign is that the millennial generation can have significant sway in the outcome of the election and ensure parties don’t ignore their problems and needs, if only they get involved.

September 3, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Changes to the Canada Labour Code for ferally regulated employers came into effect on September 1, 2019. Federally regulated employers include telephone and internet companies, banks, airlines, airports, interprovincial trucking companies, railroads and First Nation governments. The changes affect leave provisions, scheduling and hours of work, and vacation pay.

Some employers have requested last-minute exemptions or delays to the new rules. The request has employees and their bosses unclear about whether they are fully covered by the Canada Labour code overhaul.  Employment Minister, Patty Hajdu, said certain interim exemptions would apply until at least after the election, when tweaks could be made. The government is still figuring out who will be included in the exemptions.

The federal party leaders, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh all participated in Labour Day events in Hamilton. Trudeau participated in the annual Labour Day parade there, Singh attended the annual Labour Day picnic, and Scheer was at the Labour Day classic football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Singh promised to union workers that if the NDP forms government they would immediately raise the federal minimum wage to $15 a hour and ensure better protection for contract workers. They would also bring in legislation to end the ability of companies to replace striking workers with temporary employment.

Trudeau in his Labour Day statement noted his government’s efforts to improve the lives of workers through money invested in skills training and legislation to protect collective bargaining rights.

Scheer’s Labour Day statement focused on celebrating the labour movement, "On Labour Day, I encourage all Canadians to reflect on our nation's past, to celebrate the hard workers you know, and welcome new Canadians who have come to Canada."

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Navdeep Bains announced new Government of Canada support for the Acadian Entrepreneurship Centre (AEC). The Centre gives entrepreneurs access to advisory, training, innovation and incubation programming. AEC is undertaking two new pilot projects this upcoming academic year which will help small ad medium sized enterprises thrive in Nova Scotia. The Government of Canada invested $373,470 in this project through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. This money will be used in conjunction with contributions from the Province of Nova Scotia.

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced 900 internship opportunities through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. Science Horizons offers internships to recent post-secondary graduates, in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to work in the clean-technology sector. These internships are part of the 2019-20 program which is now open for applications. The funding is part of a $600 million investment over three years under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.

August 26, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, Maryam Monsef, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced the Government of Canada is investing more than $8.4 million over the next eight years in three projects from S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society) to support internationally trained newcomer Canadians to get their credentials recognized and young Canadians seeking to develop their skills to enter the Canadian workforce. The investment is being made through two Employment and Social Development programs: the foreign credential recognition programs and the Canada Service Corps.

August 26, 2019
Roberto Chavez

The Trudeau government outlined five-year, $148-million plan to attract more foreign students to Canadian universities. Concerned that more than half of the international students in Canada come from just two countries, China and India, the federal government has pledged nearly $30-million over the next five years to diversify global recruiting efforts in the postsecondary sector.

The government is targeting countries with a large and growing middle class that may not yet have the higher-education capacity to educate all their students, or where the prospect of a Canadian education in English or French holds appeal.  The government said the initial focus of its marketing efforts will be in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, France and Ukraine. It will also aim to attract students to schools outside of Canada’s largest cities, bringing economic benefits to provinces and regions that have tended to receive fewer immigrants.

The government’s efforts to broaden the source countries of international students are part of a five-year, $148-million international education strategy released last week.  The strategy also allocates $95-million to encourage Canadian students to study and build ties abroad, particularly in Asia and Latin America, rather than the common destinations of the U.S., Britain and Australia.

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