Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on Supporting Skills Training and Good Jobs in Northern Alberta

Speech

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Grande Prairie, AB - August 26, 2022

I first want to acknowledge that we are gathered on Treaty 8 Territory. We honour and acknowledge all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples who have lived, travelled and gathered on these lands for thousands of years.

I’m so glad to be here in Grande Prairie today, in the beautiful Peace Country. I was born and raised in Peace River, on a farm just a couple hours’ drive from here, and so I feel like I’m coming home. 

I was really glad earlier today to visit a UFA store with my friend, Henry Vos, and some of the farmers from here in northern Alberta who are helping to feed the world.

And I want to start by saying how incredibly proud I am to be from around here, an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It’s a place with real spirit, a place with a real culture of community and culture of welcome—filled with great people and a strong local economy that is built by the kind of people who roll up their sleeves and do the jobs that Canada’s economy really needs.

Today, I talked to some of the northern Albertans who are the farmers who feed our cities. This is a place that is home to energy workers who help power Canada’s economy and the world, and the skilled tradespeople who are building Canada every single day. I also met some great pulp workers today, another important Canadian and northern Albertan industry.

I was really glad just now to spend some time with skilled tradespeople and members of the team at Northwestern Polytechnic who help teach the workers that our economy urgently needs, and help people get the skills that will help them get great, high-paying jobs. We really need skilled workers like the ones I met today. They’re the people who are building Canada and keeping our economy strong.

And think about it. Canada has one of the fastest-growing populations in the G7, and our construction industry will continue to grow as our government works with municipalities like Grande Prairie, the provinces, not-for-profits, and the private sector to double the number of new homes we build over the next ten years.

We’ll need skilled tradespeople to build the homes that Grande Prairie and the rest of the country needs, just as we’ll need skilled tradespeople in every sector of our growing economy from coast-to-coast-to-coast— plumbers, millwrights, electricians, welders—all of the skilled trades.

That’s why our government has introduced programs like the Labour Mobility Tax Deduction.

The Labour Mobility Tax Deduction will help cover the costs for skilled tradespeople of moving to where the jobs are and it will help put more money in the pockets of those skilled workers. It covers up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel expenses. That’s more money in the pockets of working people.

We also invested $470 million in our 2021 budget to create a new Apprenticeship Service to help employers hire first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades.

And I want the workers here in Grande Prairie—and across Alberta—to know that our government is going to continue to be a partner for the skilled workers and polytechnics and community colleges and municipalities that are helping them get the skills that Canada, Canadians and the Canadian economy need.

The Peace Country, as you all know, is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it is home to amazing, hardworking people like the farmers and the skilled tradespeople I talked to today who are building Canada and feeding the world.

As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I’m really glad to be able to come back home today to northern Alberta and spend some time learning from the people that our economy depends on.

Thank you very much.

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