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Government of Canada announces funding agreement to give British Columbians the tools they need to find and keep good jobs


By investing directly in Canada’s greatest asset — its resilient, hardworking people — the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the economic growth Canada creates is the kind of growth that works for everyone.

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed agreements that will see Canada provide the province with over $2.5 billion over six years to invest in their workers. These agreements represent an increase in funding of over $250 million over the period, compared to previous funding levels. This increase means an estimated 84,000 more British Columbians will benefit over the six-year period.

Speaking at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby, Sajjan said these agreements will significantly increase the jobs and skills training available to people in British Columbia, including assessments, skills training, work placements, job search assistance, upgrading, certification and employment supports.

Through these new agreements, the Government of Canada is ensuring more people benefit from these programs than before — including people from groups typically under-represented in the workforce, such as people with disabilities, women and Indigenous peoples.

As innovation and technology continue to change how people live and work, British Columbians, and all Canadians, are met with new challenges and new opportunities. This government investment in jobs and skills training will help British Columbians prepare for the good, well-paying jobs that will be created by British Columbia’s growing economy. Everybody deserves the opportunity to benefit from an innovation-driven economy — and that means ensuring that both employed and unemployed people have opportunities to acquire the skills they will need for the jobs of today, as well as the jobs of tomorrow.

The agreements announced today are the new Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) and the Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA). In the first two years, British Columbia will receive approximately $844 million — more than $211 million through the WDA, and close to $633 million through the LMDA.

Results matter. That is why these agreements include a commitment to performance measurement. That means that Canada and British Columbia will be able to measure how these programs are increasing people’s earnings, helping them get jobs that last, and breaking down barriers for under-represented groups, like Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and women. The Government of Canada will be reporting to Canadians on the impacts of these programs, so that they are transparent and can be continually improved.

The WDA will help British Columbia deliver training and services, such as:

  • Bridges for Women in Victoria, with a goal of helping women impacted by violence or abuse break the cycle of abuse and trauma through education and employment training.
  • Blade Runners, a program that helps at-risk youth obtain and sustain full-time employment with life skills and job readiness training, job placement and monitoring, and ongoing support.
  • Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training that assists Indigenous peoples explore and develop trades specific skills in urban areas and in home communities.

Funding under the LMDA will allow British Columbia to help more people and more employers meet their needs through:

  • 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province that offer training and employment supports to people who are unemployed or underemployed. Supports include job-search resources, employment planning, skills training and work experience placements.
  • Customized assistive supports and employment training, offered through WorkBC centres, that help people with disabilities re-enter the workforce.
  • The Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program that helps people get back into the workforce, through projects that offer skills training and work experience.
  • The Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), in which single parents on income or disability assistance can get the supports they need to re-enter the workforce.

Every Canadian deserves a fair and equal chance at success in the workforce. Through investments like the provincial agreements announced today, the middle class can be strengthened, and help more of the people working so hard to join it.

Quotes:

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour —

“I know that our greatest asset as a country is our people. Through investments like today’s agreements with British Columbia, we’re ensuring our people can continue to be competitive, resilient and responsive as jobs evolve and as our economy grows. When we give people the tools to succeed, our middle class grows stronger, and our workers and their families thrive.”

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, federal Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South —

“To drive the kind of economic growth that is inclusive, we need to invest in people. Our government committed to do just that, and we are delivering with $250 million more in funding to help 84,000 more people get the skills they need to succeed in today’s changing economy.”

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction —

“The new Labour Market Development Agreement expands eligibility to people who are underemployed — someone in a job with unpredictable hours, little long-term security, or that doesn’t match their skills. By increasing employment opportunities and earnings potential, we can help lift more people out of poverty and build a better B.C. for everyone.”

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training —

“Our government is investing in people so they can get skills and retraining employers are looking for, with a specific focus on under-represented and vulnerable groups. The Workforce Development Agreement also means we can better respond to the skills training needs of communities and employers with more flexible and timely programming. We want everyone to be able to participate in and prosper from B.C.’s strong, sustainable economy.”

Quick Facts:

  • Until recently, the Government of Canada transferred nearly $3 billion annually to provinces and territories to support employment and skills training programs. Through Budget 2017, the federal government is investing an additional $2.7 billion from 2017-18 to 2022-23:
    • $900 million over a period of six years (in addition to the $722 million provided annually) in new WDAs that consolidate the Canada Job Fund Agreements, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (expired in March 2017); and
    • $1.8 billion over six years in amended LMDAs to provinces and territories.
  • In total, from 2017-18 to 2022-23, the Government of Canada will invest approximately $20 billion in WDAs and LMDAs with provinces and territories.
  • Through these agreements, provincial and territorial governments will have greater flexibility in the design and delivery of programming and services to respond to the diverse and emerging needs of Canadians.
  • The LMDAs and WDAs include a commitment to strong performance measurement. Canada and British Columbia will work together to measure how programs are increasing people’s earnings, helping them get jobs that last, and breaking down barriers for under-represented groups, like Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and women. Canada and British Columbia will report to Canadians on the impacts of these programs to support continuous improvement.

Learn More:

Workforce Development Agreements: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/training-agreements/workforce-development-agreements.html

Labour Market Development Agreement: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/training-agreements/lmda.html


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