BC, federal government sign agreement on Canada Job Grant

Agreement in principle includes the renewal of the Labour Market Agreement, renamed the Canada Job Fund.

OTTAWA – The federal and BC provincial governments have signed an agreement in principle on the Canada Job Grant.

The agreement in principle includes the renewal of the Labour Market Agreement—now renamed the Canada Job Fund—and the creation of the Canada Job Grant.

Announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Canada Job Grant is designed to deliver training that will lead to a guaranteed job. It involves employers in training decisions to ensure Canadians are equipped with the skills and training they need to fill available jobs and be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, the government says.

“This is good news for British Columbians, who will have better access to training that leads to real, guaranteed jobs and who will get a better bang for their buck on funding for skills training,” said Jason Kenney, federal minister of employment and social development. “The grant will increase employer investment in skills training and help employers train Canadians for jobs that need to be filled so their businesses can grow and succeed.”

According to BuildForce Canada, major resource and infrastructure projects in the North and the expected retirement of more than 34,000 tradespeople by 2023 will result in significant labour demand pressures in BC’s construction industry.

Grant Thornton has concluded that a liquefied natural gas industry in BC, based on five plants operating by 2021, could create more than 39,000 annual jobs over a nine-year construction period and approximately 75,000 jobs once the plants were fully operational—more than 100 000 jobs in total.

In the next 10 years, Canada is expected to need 319, 000 new workers in the construction sector, with another 145,000 new workers in the mining sector and 130,000 new workers in the petroleum sector needed by 2020.

“Our government is looking at the decade ahead to ensure our work today will meet the future training needs of the liquefied natural gas industry and the broad resource sector. The Canada Job Grant will be a key tool in making this happen,” said
Shirley Bond, BC minister of jobs, tourism and skills training and minister responsible for labour.

The current Labour Market Agreements, created in 2007, are being transformed into the new Canada Job Fund to encourage greater employer involvement in training. Nationally, the Government of Canada will continue to provide $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training through the Canada Job Fund. BC will receive approximately $65 million.

The fund will now include $200 million of employer-driven training, which may include funding for the Canada Job Grant or other existing employer-driven training programs. In BC, that means approximately $26 million of its Canada Job Fund allocation will be spent on this employer-driven training.

The job grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, including tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. Employers would be required to contribute on average one-third of the total costs of training.

The provinces and territories will have full flexibility on the source of funds for the Canada Job Grant. They may be sourced from provincial/territorial allocations under the Canada Job Fund, the Labour Market Development Agreements or provincial/territorial sources.

The Grant will be for short-duration training provided by an eligible third-party trainer, such as community colleges, career colleges, trade union centres and private trainers. Training can be provided in a classroom, on site at a workplace or online.

All private and not-for-profit businesses with a plan to train Canadians for a new or better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant, once implemented.