Federal government, Saskatchewan reach agreement on Canada Job Grant

The province says it will need 35,000 new workers in key growth industries over the next five years.

March 24, 2014   by PLANT STAFF

OTTAWA — The federal government and the provincial government of Saskatchewan have signed a memorandum of understanding on the contentious Canada Job Grant.

Announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the federal conservatives have touted the Canada Job Grant as an innovative way of delivering training that will lead workers to a guaranteed job by involving employers in training decisions so that Canadians will be equipped with the skills and training they need to fill available jobs.

The number of available workers for every job vacancy (unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio) in Saskatchewan was 2.4 in December 2013, well below the national average of 6.3.

The hiring plans of Saskatchewan employers remain positive, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, with 29% expecting to hire full-time, 62% expecting to maintain staffing levels, and only 9% expecting to cut back in January 2014.

In the next five years, Saskatchewan expects to need 35,000 new workers and almost 60,000 replacement workers, according to the 2013 Saskatchewan Employment Forecast. The construction sector is forecast to need 5,500 workers; transportation and warehousing 6,100 workers; mining, oil and gas 4,800 workers; manufacturing 4,000 workers; and 16,700 workers in other services for industries such as professional, scientific and technical services and management of companies.

“One of the most important challenges Saskatchewan faces in maintaining its economic momentum is not just ensuring that it has enough workers, but ensuring that it has enough qualified workers.The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth positions the province to capture new economic opportunities and meet the challenges of growth,” said Bill Boyd, Saskatchewan minister of the economy.

The memorandum of understanding includes the renewal of the Labour Market Agreement—now renamed the Canada Job Fund—and the creation of the Canada Job Grant.

The current Labour Market Agreements, created in 2007, are being transformed into the new Canada Job Fund to ensure greater employer involvement in training. Nationally, the federal government will continue to provide $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training through the Canada Job Fund.

Saskatchewan will continue to receive its per capita share of approximately $16 million.

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