Following months of negotiations, it looks like the Canada Job Grant is nearing implementation in all provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec.
About the Canada Job Grant – and Where It Stands
Originally scheduled for April 1 implementation, the new launch date for the grant is targeted for July 1.
- Initially, the Canada Job Grant called for creating job training grants of up to $15,000 per employee, with the cost of each grant equally divided between federal and provincial governments and employers.
- Provinces and territories balked at this proposal, claiming that Ottawa would renege federal cash for training programs while forcing them to find millions more to cover their portion of the cost.
- A leading stumbling block was paying for existing training for under-represented population groups, which currently are funded through Labour Market Agreements (LMAs). Ottawa called for cutting LMA transfers to provinces to $200 million annually, a 60 percent reduction. Provinces argued that redirecting LMA funds would threaten skills training programs for vulnerable Canadians including immigrants, persons with disabilities, aboriginal people, youth and older workers.
A new deal reached February 27 allows provinces and territories much more flexibility in terms of how they fund training grants. With details still being hammered out, Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney noted that “this effectively means provinces that decide to deliver the job grant would not have to reallocate any money out of the LMA itself.”
Some Concerns Remain
Support was widespread among virtually all premiers for Kenney’s February offer. Quebec is an exception – and a few other provinces are approaching the plan with cautious optimism.
- As noted by Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, “We still think there’s some significant risk for vulnerable members of our community not to get all the opportunities they need to participate in labour market training. We’re also concerned that it may put some additional pressure on small businesses to put up cash they don’t have.” However, he conceded that all parties are working together to address these and related issues.
- Nova Scotia officials likewise have expressed concern about employers having to contribute funds up front to support the program.
- Quebec will continue to negotiate directly with Kenney.
But as the federal employment minister concluded, “at the end of the day, this will be a win-win for both sides.”
To stay current on this and other Ontario workforce issues and their potential impact on your organization, read our related posts or contact the recruiting experts at Employment Professionals Canada today.