Chapter 3.1: Connecting Canadians With Available Jobs

Highlights

The Canada Job Grant

  • Creating the Canada Job Grant, which will directly connect skills training with employers and jobs for Canadians.
  • Transforming the $500-million-per-year Labour Market Agreements in 2014–15 to introduce the Canada Job Grant.
  • Renegotiating the $1.95-billion-per-year Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces and territories to reorient training toward labour market demand.

Creating Opportunities for Apprentices

  • Reallocating $4 million over three years to work with provinces and territories to increase opportunities for apprentices.
  • Introducing measures that will support the use of apprentices through federal construction and maintenance contracts, investments in affordable housing, and infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.
  • Reducing barriers to apprenticeship accreditation, including examining the use of practical tests as a method of assessment for apprentices.

Supporting Job Opportunities for All Canadians

  • Introducing a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014 to better meet the employment needs of businesses and the employment prospects of persons with disabilities.
  • Reforming and extending the Opportunities Fund with ongoing funding of $40 million per year starting in 2015–16 to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities.
  • Extending on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which supports capital costs of construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities, including workplace accommodation.
  • Reallocating $19 million over two years to promote education in fields where there is high demand from employers.
  • Confirming support for Pathways to Education Canada, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education.
  • $70 million over three years to support 5,000 more paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates.
  • Capital support for Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining.
  • Investing $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program for First Nations.
  • Confirming the Government’s commitment to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of a First Nation Education Act and committing to share this draft legislation with First Nations communities for their input.
  • $10 million over two years to Indspire for post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit students.
  • $5 million over five years to expand the activities of Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies.
  • $42 million over two years to meet growing demand under the Temporary Resident Program.
  • $44 million over two years to support improved capacity and client service in the Citizenship Program.
  • Implementing an International Education Strategy for Canada.

Connecting Canadians With Available Jobs

Everywhere I go, businesses of all sizes tell me that their number one concern is finding the right people to do the job.

—Perrin Beatty, President and CEO,
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Since 2006, the Government’s top priority has been the economy and job creation.

Since the depth of the recession in July 2009, Canada’s economy has created over 950,000 net new jobs—mostly private-sector and full-time, with over two-thirds in high wage industries. While Canada’s job creation record since 2006 has been the best among the advanced economies of the Group of Seven (G-7), there is an opportunity to do more.

Currently, there are thousands of jobs available across Canada that are going unfilled, which restricts Canada’s growth prospects. In fact, CIBC World Markets stated in a report in December 2012[1] that 30 per cent of businesses in Canada are facing a skilled labour shortage. In addition, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business stated in its Business Barometer report that 34 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses identified a “shortage of skilled labour” as a constraint on growth. Difficulty in hiring has increased over the recovery and is becoming a key issue for employers in some sectors and regions. In particular, persistent pockets of unfilled positions exist for skilled tradespeople and professionals such as electricians, carpenters, machinists, heavy equipment operators, engineers and architects, among others.

The number of available jobs has increased since 2009

Chart 3.1.1 Job Vacancy Rate, Selected Occupation Groups Chart 3.1.1 - Job Vacancy Rate, Selected Occupation Groups.  For more details, see previous paragraph.
1 The job vacancy rate is defined as the number of online job postings divided by total labour demand, that is, job postings plus occupied positions (total employment).
Sources: Statistics Canada; WANTED Analytics Inc.; Department of Finance calculations.

 

Employer Demand for Skilled Labour

The Construction Sector Council declared that between 2012 and 2020, the construction sector will need 319,000 new workers.

Engineers Canada projects that 95,000 professional engineers will retire by 2020 and Canada will face a skills shortage because the workforce cannot be replaced fast enough.

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council forecasts that more than 100,000 workers, mostly skilled new hires, will be needed for Canada’s mining sector to sustain even “modest growth” in the next decade.

The Environmental Careers Organization of Canada says that with 100,000 employees reaching retirement in the next decade, numerous opportunities are opening up for students and new graduates in the sector.

The Conference Board of Canada predicts that by 2020 the gap between the supply and demand of truck drivers will be 25,000 to 33,000.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers notes that the sector will need 9,500 new employees by 2015 and between 50,000 and 130,000 by 2020.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council declares that by 2016 Canadian employers will need to hire some 106,000 ICT workers—over 17,000 per year—“posing a significant recruitment challenge.”

The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association states that over 30 per cent of restaurants in Canada report that a shortage of skilled labour is having a negative effect on their business.

The Canadian Electricity Association reports that the sector will have to recruit over 45,000 new workers—almost 48 per cent of the current workforce—by 2016.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council reports that there is a 10 per cent deficit of farm workers.

The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council forecasts that Canada faces a shortage of 357,000 workers in the supply chain sector—at least 50,000 job openings in supply chain in Alberta alone—between now and 2020.

In addition to these current labour market challenges, Canada’s demographics are changing. The country’s population is aging rapidly and becoming increasingly diverse. Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and newcomers are important segments of the Canadian population that are underrepresented in the labour force.

To connect Canadians with jobs, the Government invests significant funding in education and training, which includes nearly $2.7 billion annually through Labour Market Agreements, Labour Market Development Agreements, and Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities. Over $10 billion annually is invested by the Government in support of post-secondary education, which includes providing students with financial assistance such as Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grants. A number of targeted federal programs also exist to support the labour market participation of underrepresented groups.

Investing in Skills Training for Canadians

The Government transfers $2.7 billion per year to support labour market programming through:

  • $1.95 billion annually to provinces and territories through Labour Market Development Agreements.
  • $500 million annually to provinces and territories through Labour Market Agreements, introduced in Budget 2007.
  • $218 million annually to provinces through Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities.

Over $10 billion annually is invested by the Government in support of post-secondary education, which includes providing students with financial assistance such as Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grants.

Since 2006, the Government has increased support for skills training for:

  • Youth through the Youth Employment Strategy, in which the Government currently invests over $330 million per year. Most recently, Economic Action Plan 2012 provided $50 million over two years to enable the Strategy to help more young Canadians get the information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workplace.
  • Persons with disabilities through the Opportunities Fund, with investments of $30 million annually. Economic Action Plan 2012 invested an additional $30 million over three years in the Opportunities Fund to enable more Canadians with disabilities to obtain work experience with small and medium-sized businesses.

In 2010, the Government introduced the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy and the Skills and Partnership Fund, with current investments of $400 million per year.

The Government has also taken actions to support the labour market participation of older Canadians who wish to remain in the workforce:

  • Budget 2011 provided $50 million over two years to extend the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers until 2013–14. This federal-provincial-territorial employment program continues to provide employment assistance and offers activities to improve the employability of unemployed workers aged 55 to 64.
  • Economic Action Plan 2012 provided $6 million over three years to extend and expand the ThirdQuarter project, an initiative that has helped approximately 1,200 experienced workers who are over 50 find a job that matches their skills, to key centres across the country.

While significant funds are being spent and Canadians are getting trained, it is clear we can do better. There are still too many unemployed Canadians looking for work and too many businesses looking for workers. The skills training system must be better attuned to helping Canadians acquire the skills that will get them hired or will help them get better jobs. Economic Action Plan 2013 introduces new and innovative approaches to reform the skills training system.

As part of its plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, the Government is moving forward with a three-point plan to address challenges in connecting Canadians with available jobs.

The three-point plan is as follows:

  • Creating the Canada Job Grant, which could provide $15,000 or more per person, including the federal contribution and matching by provinces/territories and employers, to ensure Canadians are getting the skills employers are seeking.
  • Creating opportunities for apprentices by making it more practical and easier to get the experience needed to make the leap to journeyperson status.
  • Providing support to underrepresented groups, including persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers, to help them find good jobs.

The Canada Job Grant

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces that the Government will transform skills training in Canada through the introduction of the Canada Job Grant, as part of the renewal of the Labour Market Agreements in 2014–15. Upon full implementation of the Canada Job Grant, nearly 130,000 Canadians each year are expected to have access to the training they need to fill available jobs. The Government will also renegotiate the Labour Market Development Agreements to reorient training toward labour market demand.

In Budget 2007, the Government introduced the Labour Market Agreements with an investment of $3 billion over six years to assist Canadians who are low-skilled or not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The Agreements are set to expire in March 2014. An additional $1.95 billion is transferred from the EI Operating Account each year to provinces and territories under the Labour Market Development Agreements to provide training to EI-eligible individuals.

The Government will negotiate a transformation of the Labour Market Agreements with provinces and territories, to ensure that skills training funds are being used to help Canadians obtain the qualifications they need to get jobs in high-demand fields. Employers and employer groups will be consulted during these negotiations. The Government will also renegotiate Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces and territories, along similar lines.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s intention to renew the Labour Market Agreements with provinces and territories in 2014 with investments of $500 million per year. The Agreements will be reformed to directly connect skills training with employers and jobs for Canadians with the Canada Job Grant—the centrepiece of the new Agreements. The Grant will account for $300 million of total annual Labour Market Agreement funding from the federal government on full implementation in 2017–18.

The Grant, as delivered through Labour Market Agreements, will require matching from employers as well as provinces and territories. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. The Grant will provide access to a maximum $5,000 federal contribution per person towards training at eligible training institutions. This means the Grant could provide $15,000 or more per person, including provincial/territorial and employer contributions.

Upon full implementation of the Grant under the Labour Market Agreements, nearly 130,000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need to take gainful employment or improve their skills for in-demand jobs.

The Canada Job Grant

Under the new Labour Market Agreements, provinces and territories will deliver the Canada Job Grant directly to businesses and Canadians, in addition to other training they provide.

Who is eligible?

Businesses with a plan to train unemployed and underemployed Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. Canadians seeking training can, in partnership with an employer, benefit from the Canada Job Grant.

How much funding is available?

The Canada Job Grant could provide $15,000 per person or more for training, which includes up to $5,000 in federal contributions. Federal contributions must be matched by both provinces/territories and employers.

Where can the Canada Job Grant be used?

The Grant will be for short-duration training, and will include eligible training institutions, including community colleges, career colleges and trade union training centres.

The detailed design of the Grant will be negotiated with provinces and territories over the next year, in consultation with stakeholder groups including employer associations, educational institutions and labour organizations.

The remaining funding of $200 million per year will continue to be transferred to provinces and territories to support delivery of critical employment services, such as counselling and job search assistance, and administration.

The Government will work in cooperation with its provincial and territorial partners to transform the way Canadians get training to help achieve our shared objectives of creating jobs and economic growth.

Creating Opportunities for Apprentices

Canada faces a shortage of skilled tradespeople that is expected to grow in the future as the population ages. For example, over the next seven years, the construction sector alone is projecting a need for 319,000 new workers. The shortage of skilled tradespeople is limiting economic growth across the country.

Support for Apprentices

Since 2006, the Government has recognized the importance of apprentices to Canada’s economy and to this end has committed financial support to apprentices and the employers that hire them.

  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, introduced in Budget 2006, is a taxable grant of $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person, available to registered apprentices once they have successfully finished their first or second year/level (or equivalent) of an apprenticeship program.
  • The Apprenticeship Completion Grant, introduced in Budget 2009, is a taxable grant of a maximum of $2,000 available to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship training and obtained their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade.
  • The Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction, introduced in Budget 2006, allows tradespersons to deduct from their income part of the cost of tools they must acquire as a condition of employment. More than 25,000 tradespersons claimed the tools deduction in 2010.
  • The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit (AJCTC), introduced in Budget 2006, encourages employers to hire new apprentices in eligible trades by providing a tax credit of 10 per cent of the wages payable to eligible apprentices in the first two years of their apprenticeship program (up to a maximum credit of $2,000 per apprentice, per year). More than 10,000 businesses benefitted from the AJCTC in 2010.
  • The fees eligible for the Tuition Tax Credit were extended starting in 2011 to include occupational, trade and professional examinations required to obtain a professional status, or certification or licence in order to practise a profession or trade in Canada. It is estimated that more than 30,000 individuals are benefitting from this enhancement each year.

Reducing Barriers to Accreditation of Apprentices

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to reallocate $4 million over three years to reduce barriers to accreditation of apprentices.

To further reduce barriers to accreditation in the skilled trades, the Government will reallocate $4 million over three years to work with provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices, as well as examine the use of practical tests as a method of assessment, in targeted skilled trades. This work will ensure more apprentices complete their training and encourage mobility.

Supporting the Use of Apprentices

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to support the use of apprentices through federal procurement, the Investment in Affordable Housing, and as part of the new Building Canada plan for infrastructure.

The Government recognizes the importance of hiring and training apprentices across the country. Economic Action Plan 2013 announces that the Government is changing its approach to procurement by introducing measures to support the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. In addition, the Government will ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing support the use of apprentices. As part of the new Building Canada plan for infrastructure, the Government will encourage provinces, territories and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.

Supporting Job Opportunities for All Canadians

Canada’s long-term prosperity depends on the labour market participation of all its citizens, particularly those currently underrepresented in the labour market. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes supports for underrepresented groups, such as persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers.

Job Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities

The Government recognizes the contributions persons with disabilities can and do make to the economy, and that work inherently provides all individuals with a sense of dignity and independence. To inform the Government’s ongoing efforts in this regard, the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities was announced in Economic Action Plan 2012 to identify private sector successes and best practices with regard to the labour market participation of persons with disabilities.

The Panel consulted widely with Canadian firms of all sizes in a broad range of sectors across the country. In its report released in January 2013, entitled Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector, the Panel estimates that approximately 800,000 working-age Canadians whose disability does not prevent them from working are not doing so. It argues there is a good business case for hiring persons with disabilities and provides employers with tangible steps they can take in the hiring and employee support processes. In recognition of their work, the Government would like to thank the members of the Panel.

Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector

We need to have people in our workforce who can do the job best, and we have found that sometimes that person just happens to have a disability.

—Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector

Released in January 2013, Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector, the report of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, offered key findings to guide and support the actions of employers seeking to accommodate persons with disabilities in their workplace. The Panel heard from many companies and found that:

  • Many companies have recognized that hiring and accommodating persons with disabilities is good for business.
  • Many companies are doing great things and showed genuine desire to hire persons with disabilities; however, education and training are required to overcome barriers, dispel myths and put theory into practice.
  • The keys to success are leadership and effective community partnerships with organizations that fully understand the talent needs of business. In order to increase employment of persons with disabilities, the tone and actions of leaders are also imperative.

Reforming Labour Market Agreements for Persons With Disabilities

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s intention to negotiate a new generation of the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014.

Many persons with disabilities continue to have challenges securing gainful employment. The Government is committed to working with provincial and territorial governments, employers and disability organizations to connect Canadians with available jobs.

To this end, Economic Action Plan 2013 announces that the Government will introduce a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014 with an investment of $222 million per year. The reformed Agreements will be designed to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for persons with disabilities, in keeping with transformed Labour Market Agreements, and will put stronger accountability regimes in place.

Existing Agreements will be extended for one year, until March 2014, to allow for new Agreements to be renegotiated.

Strengthening Federal Programming for Persons With Disabilities

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to maintain ongoing funding of $40 million per year starting in 2015–16 for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities and provides additional funding for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will support research related to the labour market participation of persons with disabilities.

Increasing the economic and social inclusion of persons with disabilities requires a joint effort on the part of governments, businesses, educational institutions, community agencies, and individuals and their families. To help more persons with disabilities gain the hands-on experience they need to fully participate in the labour market, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes ongoing funding of $40 million per year starting in 2015–16 for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The program will also be reformed to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also proposes additional funding of $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will support research related to the labour market participation of persons with disabilities (see Chapter 3.4 under “Strengthening Research Partnerships Between Post-Secondary Institutions and Industry”).

Creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes a time-limited $2-million investment to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum.

The Government recognizes the importance of engaging with employers who are committed to promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide a temporary investment to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum, as recommended by the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

The Forum, an initiative led by a number of Canadian businesses including Loblaw Companies Limited, will be managed by employers, for employers, to facilitate education, training and sharing of resources and best practices concerning the hiring and retention of persons with disabilities. Under the leadership of the Forum, employers will help to promote and further the invaluable contributions that persons with disabilities can make to their business.

Extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes the extension of the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at a level of $15 million per year.

The Government is committed to supporting full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities. Budget 2010 provided $45 million over three years to extend the Enabling Accessibility Fund and expand its eligibility to mid-sized projects, allowing communities to undertake larger retrofit projects to enhance accessibility of existing facilities or create new accessible facilities. The Fund has since supported hundreds of community-based projects across Canada. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to extend the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis, at a level of $15 million per year, to support capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility for persons with disabilities through projects with demonstrated community support, including workplace accommodation.

Supporting Community Participation Through the Enabling Accessibility Fund

Drayton Entertainment in Drayton, Ontario, received $50,000 to install an elevator to enable persons with disabilities (including employees) to access all public and private levels of the performing arts complex. Persons with disabilities may become full participants in arts and cultural activities, whether as audience members, working behind the scenes as staff members, or performing on stage as artists.

The Canadian Mental Health Association—Winnipeg Region received $50,000 to improve accessibility at its facility by widening doorways, building an accessible washroom, lowering sinks and counters, and installing accessible door handles, light switches and interior tactile signage.

The British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society in Vancouver received $51,552 to construct an accessible trailer and install ramps at their facility while the Silver Harbour Seniors’ Activity Centre Society, also located in Vancouver, received $35,298 to make improvements to an elevator at their facility so that more people will have access to it.

Job Opportunities for Youth

Providing young Canadians with access to the information and opportunities necessary to make informed training and employment choices and gain valuable skill sets will positively shape their future and contribute to Canada’s overall economic prosperity. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes strategic investments in measures that target youth at different stages of their educational and early labour market careers.

Promoting Education in High-Demand Fields

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces that the Government will promote education in high-demand fields, including the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It is important for young Canadians to have access to information on a variety of careers in order to make informed choices about their education early in life. Good choices early on can help to ensure that young Canadians obtain the skills and experience necessary to find work quickly, avoid unnecessary debt and get a better start to their careers.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to reallocate $19 million over two years to inform young people about fields of study that are relevant to existing and forecasted demand for labour in particular occupations. The Government will provide more information on the job prospects and benefits of working in various occupations, and will develop new outreach efforts to promote careers in such high-demand fields as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades.

Confirming Support for Pathways to Education Canada

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms that the Government will extend its support to Pathways to Education Canada.

Young people without a high school education are the most likely to be unemployed. In addition, rates of high school completion are significantly lower in low-income families and communities. Early support for high school students has been shown to drastically increase post-secondary education prospects for young people and, ultimately, employment.

Through Budget 2010, the Government invested in Pathways to Education Canada, a not-for-profit organization that provides a suite of supports for students in low-income communities, including tutoring and mentoring, in partnership with the private sector, other levels of government and community organizations. Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms that the Government will renew its support for Pathways to Education Canada. Details will be announced in the coming months.

Creating Pathways to Post-Secondary Education

Pathways to Education Canada is working with local partners in 12 sites across Canada to support nearly 4,000 youth in pursuing the completion of their secondary studies. The program focuses on communities with high unemployment rates and low levels of educational attainment and involves more than 1,000 volunteers providing support to participating students.

Since 2001, more than 1,000 students have graduated from the program—with 73 per cent pursuing further studies. High school dropout rates in Regent Park in Toronto, the longest-running site, have fallen by more than 70 per cent.

Supporting More Internships for Recent Post-Secondary Graduates

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to support 5,000 more paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates.

Although Canada boasts high levels of post-secondary achievement, the transition to a first job can be challenging. Young graduates tend to experience more frequent periods of unemployment than adults and underemployment remains a significant issue for many graduates.

To ease this transition, the Career Focus program supports paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates, ensuring they get valuable hands-on work experience. Economic Action Plan 2012 provided funding for an expected 3,000 additional paid internships in high-demand fields. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes an additional investment of $70 million over three years to support an additional 5,000 paid internships.

Helping Young Canadians Gain Employment Experience Through Career Focus

Between 2009 and 2012, over 200 paid internships were provided through the Environmental Careers Organization of Canada to unemployed or underemployed recent post-secondary graduates. More than 180 participants have either found full-time employment at the end of the internship or have returned to school.

Between 2009 and 2012, BioTalent Canada provided practical work experience to over 90 post-secondary graduates and allowed them to gain the necessary biotechnology competencies (business and science) through internships in order to secure permanent employment and contribute to industry competitiveness as a whole. This project benefitted the industry by increasing the number of individuals in the biotechnology workforce and will benefit individual companies by giving them the opportunity to increase their number of employees.

Supporting Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes capital support for Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining.

Between July 2009 and February 2013, Yukon’s employment has increased by about 7 per cent. The rapid pace of development in the mining industry has been a key driver of growth in this region. Yukon has three operating mines and seven additional projects are in the exploration or pre-development phases.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of life of Northerners. To help Northerners benefit from local employment opportunities and rapid economic growth, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide capital support, subject to matching funding from the Yukon government and the private sector, to support Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining. By allowing for the construction of additional trades and technical facilities at the College’s Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse, this initiative will expand Yukon College’s programming linked to mining employment opportunities. Details will be announced in the coming months.

Job Opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples

Canada’s young Aboriginal population has tremendous potential for long-term success and economic prosperity but remains underrepresented in both the labour market and in post-secondary institutions. Since 2006, the Government has made innovative investments to address these challenges, including efforts to strengthen on-reserve elementary and secondary education and skills training programming for Aboriginal people.

Building on these actions, the investments in Economic Action Plan 2013 will help Aboriginal peoples participate more fully in Canada’s economy and more fully share in its growth. These practical measures help ensure Aboriginal youth reach their potential.

Private Sector Participation in Aboriginal Training

With growing opportunities for resource development, particularly in more remote areas of the country, businesses seeking to develop these projects are increasingly providing training, including trade programs and pre-employment training for local Aboriginal communities, as well as making other efforts to ensure that these same communities are able to benefit from economic development opportunities. For example:

  • The Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories is providing various Aboriginal groups with training in the trades during mine construction.
  • The Vale Inco mine and concentrator project in Labrador has provided training geared to employment for Aboriginal groups.
  • De Beers mine sites in Snap Lake, Northwest Territories, and the Victor Mine in Ontario offer a variety of classes including computer training and mathematics to local Aboriginal groups.

The Government of Canada is also working to facilitate training through employment partnerships between business and Aboriginal organizations. The Skills and Partnership Fund provides project-specific funding to Aboriginal organizations to improve labour market outcomes for Aboriginal people. Projects must demonstrate that they respond to labour market demands, develop partnerships and leverage contributions from the private sector. Recent federal investments include:

  • $5 million in the Nunavik Mining Sustainable Employment and Training Strategy in northern Quebec, which should result in over 300 jobs. Industry is contributing nearly $30 million to this project. Provincial and local governments are contributing nearly $14 million.
  • $8 million in the Northern Career Quest Mining Project in Saskatchewan to provide training and work experience, which should secure employment for over 600 Aboriginal people. The private sector, the provincial government and educational institutions are providing about $8 million in funding.
  • $6 million in the Mining the Future Project to provide training and work experience in the mining sector to Aboriginal people in the Northwest Territories and the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. Private industry is contributing $5 million to this project.

Investing in Training for On-Reserve Income Assistance Recipients

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure First Nations youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment.

Equipping First Nations to fully participate in the economy is a priority for the Government and First Nations. Economic Action Plan 2012 committed to work with First Nations to encourage those who can work to access training. It also committed to better align the on-reserve Income Assistance Program with provincial systems through improved compliance with program requirements.

Aboriginal youth represent the fastest-growing demographic in Canada, and the country is experiencing skills and labour shortages in a range of industries. Given the proximity of many First Nations communities to large economic projects, there is a tremendous opportunity to address some of Canada’s growing labour needs, while also improving the economic opportunities for the next generation of Aboriginal youth and their communities.

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms that the Government will work with First Nations to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to ensure that young recipients who can work have the incentives to participate in the training necessary for them to gain employment. The new First Nations Job Fund, totalling $109 million over five years, will fund the provision of personalized job training to these recipients, and their Income Assistance benefits will depend on participation in training as per current practice in their province of residence. In addition, $132 million over five years will be provided to First Nations communities to create the service delivery infrastructure necessary, including counselling support, to effectively support and ensure compliance among on-reserve Income Assistance recipients. Funding will be accessible only to those reserve communities that choose to implement mandatory participation in training for young Income Assistance recipients.

Introducing a First Nation Education Act

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms the Government’s commitment to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of a First Nation Education Act and is committing to sharing this draft legislation with First Nations communities for their input.

Improving graduation rates for First Nations students is an objective the Government shares with First Nations parents, educators and leaders. In 2011, the Government and the Assembly of First Nations launched a National Panel, which made a number of recommendations for reforming First Nations education in its February 2012 report.

In Economic Action Plan 2012 the Government committed to working with First Nations to have in place by September 2014 a First Nation Education Act. This legislation would establish the structures and standards necessary to ensure stronger, more accountable education systems on reserve. The Government also committed to exploring mechanisms to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nations elementary and secondary education.

The Government will continue to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of legislation and is committing to sharing draft legislation with First Nations communities for their input.

Supporting Post-Secondary Education for First Nations and Inuit Students

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $10 million over two years to Indspire to provide post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit students.

A post-secondary education is often the key to getting a good job. The Government invests more than $300 million annually to support post-secondary education for First Nations and Inuit students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, yet First Nations and Inuit youth are much less likely to participate in post-secondary studies. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $10 million over two years to Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) for post-secondary education support for First Nations and Inuit students.

Indspire, led by Roberta Jamieson, has a proven record of success, providing scholarships to over 2,200 Aboriginal students annually and raising significant support from a range of corporate donors to help support student success. With this new investment, Indspire will be able to provide scholarships to thousands more First Nations and Inuit youth, helping them reach their potential and strengthen Aboriginal communities across the country.

Promoting Business Studies Among Aboriginal Students

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $5 million over five years for Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies to encourage business studies by Aboriginal students.

Many Aboriginal peoples may not start a business career because they do not have access to business-sector role models to help them along the way. To ensure that young Aboriginal peoples have these opportunities, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $5 million over five years to expand the activities of Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies. This initiative will help build a brighter future for Aboriginal youth and help to promote independence and economic self-reliance for Aboriginal communities. The investments will be contingent on the Purdy Crawford Chair securing matching funding from the private sector.

Investments in Education and Skills Training for Aboriginal Peoples

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes a number of investments in education and skills training for Aboriginal peoples:

  • $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program with First Nations, to ensure that young recipients have the incentives to participate in the training necessary for them to gain employment.
  • $10 million over two years to Indspire, an organization that promotes Aboriginal education and achievement, to provide support for First Nations and Inuit students pursuing post-secondary studies.
  • $5 million over five years to expand the activities of Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies to the national level.

In addition, the Government is confirming support for Pathways to Education Canada. This will allow for the continued support of Pathways sites, including one in Winnipeg where more than 60 per cent of students self-identified as First Nations youth.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also confirms the Government’s commitment to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of legislation and is committing to sharing draft legislation with First Nations communities for their input.

These investments build on results achieved in Aboriginal education and skills training since 2006. For example:

  • $70 million over two years to support tripartite education agreements with willing First Nations and provinces, announced in Budget 2008.
  • $200 million over two years for school infrastructure on reserve, announced in Budget 2009, which helped to build or renovate 12 schools, part of the over 30 new schools and over 200 renovations on reserve since 2006.
  • $665 million to support Aboriginal skills development and training, including $200 million over three years announced in Budget 2009 that provided nearly 20,000 Aboriginal peoples with skills development and training, and $210 million over five years for the Skills and Partnership Fund announced in 2010.
  • $275 million over three years to support First Nations education programming and to build and renovate schools on reserve, announced in Economic Action Plan 2012.

Job Opportunities for Newcomers

The Government has made significant progress implementing long overdue reforms to Canada’s immigration system with a focus on attracting talented newcomers with the skills and experience that our economy requires. For example, in January 2013 the Government opened a new skilled trades immigration stream. The Government also made improvements to the Canadian Experience Class, which was created in 2008, providing international student graduates and skilled temporary foreign workers with a pathway to permanent residency.

The Government will continue to implement reforms to Canada’s immigration system to make it faster, more flexible and focused on Canada’s labour market needs. In the coming year, the Government will re-open the Federal Skilled Worker Program with an updated points system that gives more weight to factors that are directly related to economic success—such as language proficiency and youth. In addition, the Government will launch the new Start-Up Visa, which is the first of its kind in the world. The new Start-Up Visa will attract innovative immigrant entrepreneurs to launch their companies in Canada to help create new jobs and spur economic growth.

Through these reforms, the Government is strengthening Canada’s immigration system, moving to a proactive system that helps to foster economic growth and ensure long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s intention to further enhance Canada’s immigration system with a focus on fuelling economic growth and job creation. Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms the Government’s intention to create a new and innovative “Expression of Interest” immigration management system. It will allow for Canadian employers, provinces and territories to select skilled immigrants from a pool of applicants that best meet Canada’s economic needs.

Investing in Canada’s Immigration System

Since 2006, the Government has made significant investments in Canada’s immigration system:

  • Budgets 2006 and 2007 together invested over $1.5 billion over five years to: enhance settlement and integration programs for newcomers such as language instruction and employment-related support; improve processing times under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to better respond to regional skills and labour shortages; create the Canadian Experience Class to create a new avenue to permanent residence; and establish a Foreign Credentials Referral Office to help prospective immigrants identify and connect with the appropriate Canadian assessment bodies.
  • An additional $109 million over five years was provided through Budget 2008 for a new Action Plan for Faster Immigration, which was introduced to improve the responsiveness of the immigration system, decrease processing times, and better align it with the needs of the labour market, primarily through changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
  • To support the work of governments in the development of a pan-Canadian framework for foreign credential assessment and recognition and ensure that immigrants are better integrated into the Canadian labour force, Budget 2009 provided $50 million over two years. The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications was announced in November 2009.
  • Budget 2011 announced that the Government would test ways to help foreign-trained workers to cover the costs of tuition and other training costs related to the foreign credential recognition process. The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot was officially launched in February 2012.
  • Economic Action Plan 2012 announced that the Government would build an economy-focused immigration system designed to meet Canada’s labour market needs, including: better aligning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with labour market demands; highlighting progress on foreign credential recognition; exploring the development of a pool of skilled workers ready to begin employment in Canada; and improving the efficiency of the Federal Skilled Worker Program by returning applications and refunding up to $130 million in fees to a large portion of federal skilled worker applicants awaiting an immigration decision.

Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s commitment to improving foreign credential recognition for additional target occupations under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.

The Government recognizes that quick and seamless access to jobs in Canada is essential for the integration of newcomers. Significant progress has been achieved in helping newcomers access the Canadian job market quickly. Introduced in 2009, the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications allows for a simple and consistent system of foreign credential assessment and recognition. Under the framework, foreign-trained workers in 14 occupations are quickly notified if their credentials are recognized in Canada and, if not, what education is required to become accredited.

Building on this progress, over the next two years, the Government will work with provinces and territories and stakeholders to support improvements to foreign credential recognition processes and address the demand for skilled workers in Canada in additional occupations.

The Government is taking action to quickly integrate internationally trained individuals in jobs commensurate with their skills and knowledge. Continued leadership in this area also supports employers by supplying them with qualified workers in occupations facing labour shortages.

Reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Government will take action to reform Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.

The Government is focused on connecting Canadians with available jobs and ensuring that Canada’s domestic labour force is prioritized for job opportunities. Canada continues to experience major labour and skill shortages in many regions, and Canadians who are seeking jobs should always be first in line for these opportunities.

In order to help unemployed Canadians get back to work and ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs, the Government is taking action to reform Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. With details to be announced in the coming months, the Government will:

  • Work with employers to ensure that temporary foreign workers are relied upon only when Canadians genuinely cannot fill those jobs.
  • Increase the recruitment efforts that employers must make to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers, including increasing the length and reach of advertising.
  • Assist employers who legitimately rely on temporary foreign workers, due to a lack of qualified Canadian applicants, find ways to ensure that they have a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce over time.
  • Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to restrict the identification of non-official languages as job requirements when hiring through the Temporary Foreign Worker process.

The Government will also propose to introduce user fees for employers applying for temporary foreign workers through the labour market opinion process so that these costs are no longer absorbed by taxpayers.

Business Immigration Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s intention to test new approaches to attracting immigrant investors to Canada.

In Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government committed to attracting investment for Canadian companies as well as successful entrepreneurs through the Business Immigration Program. The Government is fulfilling this commitment through the recent announcement of a new Start-Up Visa pilot program for immigrant entrepreneurs that will begin on April 1, 2013. In addition, the Government undertook stakeholder and public consultations on improving the Immigrant Investor Program. As a next step, the Government will look at creating an Immigrant Investor pilot program to test a new approach to attracting immigrant investors.

Temporary Resident Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $42 million over two years to meet growing demand under the Temporary Resident Program.

Each year, Canada typically welcomes over 1 million tourists, temporary foreign workers and foreign students. These individuals play an important role in fostering Canadian economic development through tourism, trade, commerce, and educational and research activities. Canadian businesses, universities and the tourism industry are actively engaged in attracting employees, students and visitors to Canada—efforts that have resulted in a growing number of applications under Canada’s Temporary Resident Program. To meet growing demand, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $42 million over two years, beginning in 2013–14, to support enhanced processing capacity within the Temporary Resident Program. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to enable the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to set fees in a timely and efficient manner.

Citizenship Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $44 million over two years to support improved capacity and client service in the Citizenship Program.

For many newcomers, becoming a Canadian citizen is a significant step, creating a stronger bond to the economic and social fabric of Canada. To help ensure more timely access to the benefits that citizenship confers, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $44 million over two years, beginning in 2013–14, for the Citizenship Program to improve the processing of applications. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to enable the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to set fees in a timely and efficient manner.

International Education Strategy

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $23 million over two years for Canada’s International Education Strategy to strengthen Canada’s position as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research.

The Government recognizes that international education is a key driver of Canada’s economy and future prosperity. A study commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade noted that in 2010, international students in Canada spent in excess of $7.7 billion on tuition, accommodation and discretionary spending. International students and researchers bring needed skills and experience to the Canadian workforce, and can drive innovation and economic growth. A world-class international education sector, with appropriate pathways for students and researchers to transition to permanent residency, is essential to attracting top-level talent.

Budget 2011 announced the creation of an Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, and Dr. Amit Chakma, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario, was later named as its chair. The Panel conducted extensive consultations and presented its report to the Government on August 14, 2012.

In response, Economic Action Plan 2013 announces Canada’s International Education Strategy, which includes several elements to strengthen Canada’s position as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research. Key elements of the strategy will:

  • Provide $10 million over two years for international marketing activities, including targeted market plans for priority markets, better promotion of a cohesive Canadian education brand, and a sophisticated web marketing strategy. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will work with key post-secondary stakeholders and their member institutions to coordinate these activities.
  • Provide $13 million over two years to the Mitacs Globalink Program to attract highly promising students from around the world to Canadian universities and to allow Canadian students to take advantage of training opportunities abroad.
  • As described above, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to invest $42 million over two years to support enhanced processing capacity within the Temporary Resident Program to meet growing demand, which will help ensure timely and efficient processing.

As well, the Government recently announced measures to maintain the integrity of the international student program by ensuring students are registered in properly designated educational institutions. It also recently announced measures to add flexibility for qualified international students to transition to permanent residency status. These changes will ensure that Canada’s education system retains and builds on its global reputation for excellence. The changes will also allow successful graduates to integrate into and enhance our skilled workforce, and thereby continue their contribution to Canadian innovation and economic development.

Further details of the plan will be provided in the coming months, and the Government will continue to review and respond to the Panel’s other recommendations as its fiscal position improves.

Table 3.1.1
Connecting Canadians With Available Jobs
millions of dollars
2013-14 2014-15 Total
The Canada Job Grant    
The Canada Job Grant/Labour Market Agreements 500 500
 
Subtotal—The Canada Job Grant 500 500
Creating Opportunities for Apprentices      
Reducing Barriers to Accreditation of Apprentices 0 1 2
 
Subtotal—Creating Opportunities for All Apprentices 0 1 2
Supporting Job Opportunities for All Canadians
Job Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities
  Creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum 1 1 1
  Extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund 15 15 30
Job Opportunities for Youth
  Promoting Education in High-Demand Fields 5 15 19
  Supporting More Internships for Recent Post-Secondary Graduates 10 30 40
Job Opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples
  Investing in Training for On-Reserve Income Assistance Recipients 32 51 83
  Supporting Post-Secondary Education or First Nations and Inuit Students 5 5 10
  Promoting Business Studies Among Aboriginal Students 1 1 2
Job Opportunities for Newcomers
  Temporary Resident Program 17 25 42
  Citizenship Program 20 23 44
  International Education Strategy 11 12 23
 
Subtotal—Supporting Job Opportunities for All Canadians 117 176 293
Total—Connecting Canadians With Available Jobs 117 677 795
Less funds existing in the fiscal framework 52 591 643
Less funds sourced from internal reallocations 5 16 21
Net fiscal cost 60 71 131
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding

[1] The Haves and Have Nots of Canada’s Labour Market, December 3, 2012.