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Backgrounder - Supporting Jobs and Opportunity

Canada’s well-trained and highly educated workforce is one of our key advantages in competing and succeeding in the global economy. However, too often barriers or disincentives discourage workforce participation. Better utilizing Canada’s workforce and making Canada’s labour market more adaptable will help ensure our long-term economic growth.

Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes measures to strengthen incentives for employment and skills training, support a more efficient Employment Insurance program, expand opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to fully participate in the economy, and build a fast and flexible economic immigration system.

Supporting Job Creation, Small Business and Skills Training

Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes investments that will support job creation by small businesses and opportunities for under-represented groups in the workforce by:

  • Investing $205 million to extend the temporary Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year.
  • Providing an additional $50 million over two years to the Youth Employment Strategy to assist more young people in gaining tangible skills and experience.
  • Providing $6 million over three years to extend and expand the ThirdQuarter project to key centres across the country.
  • Improving labour market opportunities for Canadians with disabilities by investing $30 million over three years in the Opportunities Fund and by creating a panel on labour market opportunities for persons with disabilities.
  • Promoting the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in shipbuilding projects.

Improving the Employment Insurance Program

The Government is committed to making targeted, common-sense changes to make Employment Insurance (EI) a more efficient program that is focused on job creation and opportunities. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:

  • Providing $21 million over two years to enhance the content and timeliness of the job and labour market information that is provided to Canadians who are searching for employment.
  • Investing $74 million over two years to ensure that EI claimants benefit from accepting work.
  • Investing $387 million over two years to align the calculation of EI benefit amounts with local labour market conditions.

Expanding Opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples to Fully Participate in the Economy

The Government is committed to expanding opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to fully participate in the labour market. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:

  • Providing $275 million over three years to support First Nations education and build and renovate schools on reserve.
  • Committing to work with partners toward passage of legislation that will establish the structures and standards to support strong and accountable education systems on reserve.
  • Announcing the Government’s commitment to improve the incentives in the on-reserve Income Assistance Program while encouraging those who can work to access training so they are better equipped for employment.
  • Providing $27 million over two years to renew the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

Building A Fast and Flexible Economic Immigration System

The Government is committed to transitioning to a faster and more flexible economic immigration system. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:

  • Taking further actions to strengthen the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada’s economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future.
  • Announcing the Government’s intention to better align the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with labour market demands and to ensure that businesses look to the domestic labour force before accessing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  • Signalling the Government’s intention to support further improvements to foreign credential recognition and to work with provinces and territories to identify the next set of target occupations for inclusion, beyond 2012, under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.
  • Proposing to return applications and refund up to $130 million in fees paid by certain federal skilled worker applicants who applied under previous criteria established prior to February 27, 2008.