Employment and Social Development Canada: Departmental Overview

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The ESDC portfolio


The mission of Employment and Social Development Canada including the Labour Program and Service Canada is to build a strong and more inclusive Canada, to support Canadians in helping them live productive and rewarding lives and to improve Canadian's quality of life.

Employment and Social Development Canada's core responsibilities

Employment and Social Development Canada's 5 core responsibilities include:

As part of this role, the Department is responsible for delivering some key Government of Canada programs and services:

How we carry out ESDC's mandate

ESDC spent $130.3B in 2018 and 2019 in order to deliver on its wide array of policy, program, and service delivery activities, representing 35% of total federal government program spendingFootnote 1. 93.6% ($122.0B Footnote 2) of ESDC expenditures were to provide direct benefits to Canadians, corresponding to 5.5% of Canada's GDP, and a further 2.6% ($3.3B) was transferred to provinces and territories. The Department's gross operating budget represented 2.6% ($3.4B) of the overall department's spending. In addition, another 1.2% ($1.6B) was provided to other government departments and organizationsFootnote 3. A list of ESDC programs and initiatives is attached as Annex A.

Specifically, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) fulfills its mission by:

  1. developing policies that ensure Canadians can use their talents, skills and resources to participate in learning, work and their community
  2. delivering programs that help Canadians move through life's transitions, from school to work, from one job to another, from unemployment to employment, from the workforce to retirement
  3. providing income support to seniors, families with children and those unemployed due to job loss, illness or caregiving responsibilities
  4. helping Canadians with distinct needs, such as Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, homeless people, travelers and recent immigrants
  5. ensuring labour relations stability by providing mediation services
  6. promoting a fair and healthy workplace by enforcing minimum working conditions, promoting decent work and employment equity, and fostering respect for international labour standards, and
  7. delivering programs and services on behalf of other departments and agencies

Legislative framework

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is responsible for administering acts and regulations.

ESDC Acts:

Labour Acts:

Organizational structure

With over 25,000 employees, ESDC is the fourth-largest Department within the Government of Canada. In very tangible ways, ESDC's employees touch the lives of Canadians across the entire country—our operations span across Canada, with more than 65% of our employees working outside of the National Capital Region.

Biographies of Deputy Ministers

Graham Flack, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development

Graham Flack

Graham Flack became Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development in October of 2018.

In 1995, Graham joined the Privy Council Office to work on the Quebec referendum campaign, Secession Reference and Clarity Act and became its Director of Strategic and Legal Affairs. Following 9/11, he became Director of Operations responsible for developing and implementing the Canada-US Smart Borders Declaration and Action Plan and for developing Canada's first National Security Policy.

In 2005, Graham joined Natural Resources Canada as Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Energy Policy, where he supported negotiations around the Mackenzie and Alaska pipelines and worked on files ranging from climate change to the response to the North American electricity blackout.

In 2006, he joined the Department of Finance as Assistant Deputy Minister, International Trade and Finance, where he worked on international development, trade and finance issues including the G7 and G20 response to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

From 2010 to 2013, he was Associate Deputy Minister, then Acting Deputy Minister at Public Safety Canada, whose mandate is to build a safe and resilient Canada by addressing risks such as natural disasters, crime and terrorism.

In 2013 and 2014, Graham was Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultations and Intergovernmental Affairs) at the Privy Council Office.

From 2014 to 2018, he was Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Graham is the founding chair of the Deputy Minister Committee on Innovation and Deputy Minister Champion for Dalhousie University.

Graham received degrees in political science and economics from Dalhousie University and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is a former law clerk of the Supreme Court of Canada, and graduated with an LL.B. from Dalhousie University and an LL.M. from Harvard University.

Leslie MacLean, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada

Leslie MacLean

Leslie MacLean became the Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada in July 2016.

Ms. MacLean began her career in Veterans Affairs Canada in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and has held senior roles with Communications Canada, Health Canada and Correctional Services Canada. She served as the Assistant Secretary, Social and Cultural Sector, for the Treasury Board Secretariat, and was later appointed Associate Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Ms. MacLean's background includes experience in a broad range of disciplines, including program delivery, policy analysis and development, line operations and communications.

Chantal Maheu, Deputy Minister of Labour and Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development

Chantal Maheu

Effective October 2018, Chantal Maheu became Deputy Minister of Labour and Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Minister of Labour, Ms. Maheu served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Plans and Consultations, at the Privy Council Office. In this role, she supported Cabinet and provided analyses and advice to the Clerk of the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister on fiscal issues, communications and consultations and the overall management of the Government's agenda. Before accepting this position, she served as the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Priorities and Planning, at the Privy Council Office, beginning in June 2014.

Ms. Maheu has also held executive roles in other federal departments, including Finance Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Privy Council Office and Health Canada.

She has a Masters of Arts in economics from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the École des hautes études commerciales in Montréal.

Benoit Robidoux, Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development

Benoit Robidoux

In July 2015, Benoît Robidoux was appointed Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development. He previously held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch at Finance Canada since September 2010.

He was responsible for overseeing the analysis and forecast of the country's economic and fiscal situation, including the co-ordination of the Budget Plan and the Economic and Fiscal Update.

He has published his research in the Department of Finance Working Paper series and in economic reviews such as the Journal of Monetary Economics and the International Productivity Monitor.

Born in Saint-Donat, Quebec, Mr. Robidoux received a bachelor's degree in economics in 1984 and an MA in economics in 1985, both from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Mr. Robidoux joined Finance in 1985 as a junior economist in the Economic Studies and Policy Analysis Division. In 1993, he moved to the Economic Analysis and Forecasting Division as Co-ordinator of Policy Analysis and Modelling. He was then appointed Chief of the Canadian Forecasting group in 1996 and Senior Chief of Forecasting and Modelling in 1998. He moved back to the Economic Studies and Policy Analysis Division as Director in 2002.

Departmental Branches and Regions

Employment and Social Development Canada Program and Policy Branches

Income Security and Social Development Branch

The Income Security and Social Development Branch develops social policies and designs programs to ensure that children, families, seniors, persons with disabilities, the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, communities and others who are facing social challenges have the support, knowledge, and information they need to maintain their well-being and facilitate their participation in Canadian society. The Branch ensures that eligible Canadians are provided with retirement, survivor and disability benefits, supports the long-term financial security of persons with disabilities and their families, oversees the implementation of the accessibility legislation and invests in the capacity of organizations and the non-profit sector to reduce barriers and promote access to opportunities for vulnerable populations. The major programs managed by the Branch are the Old Age Security (OAS) program, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Canada Pension Plan disability (CPPD) benefit and long-term financial security through the Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP).

Learning Branch

The Learning Branch helps make post-secondary education and apprenticeship training more affordable and accessible to all Canadians. The Branch does this by helping families save early for their children's post-secondary education through education savings incentives, by providing grants and loans and repayment assistance to students and apprentices in need and by providing non-financial support aimed at helping students succeed in their studies and transition to post-secondary education and/or the labour market. The major programs managed by the Branch are the Canada Student Loans Program and the Canada Education Savings Program.

Skills and Employment Branch

The Skills and Employment Branch offers programs and initiatives that promote skills development and labour market participation, as well as ensuring labour market resiliency and efficiency. Specifically, these programs seek to address the employment and skills needs of those facing employment barriers, and contribute to lifelong learning and building a skilled, inclusive labour force. Other programs support an efficient labour market by facilitating the integration of recent immigrants, the entry of temporary foreign workers, the mobility of workers across Canada and the dissemination of labour market information. This branch is also responsible for programs that provide temporary income support to eligible unemployed workers. The major programs managed by this branch are the Employment Insurance Program, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Foreign Credential Recognition Program and the Global Talent Program.

Strategic and Service Policy Branch

The Strategic and Service Policy Branch develops and coordinates policy advice and analysis across the Department. The responsibilities of the Strategic and Service Policy Branch include the development of economic, social and service policies, as well as research activities related to the mandate of the department. It is also the focal point for portfolio-wide strategic planning and priority setting; analysis, guidance and oversight on service-related issues; the Innovation Lab; the programs evaluation; Cabinet and regulatory affairs; International and intergovernmental relations; and housing centres of expertise for GBA+, official languages and performance measurement. Other responsibilities include early learning and child care, Canada's implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the ongoing development and implementation of the Department's Data Strategy.

ESDC enablers

Chief Audit Executive

The Chief Audit Executive supports the Department by providing independent, objective assurance and advice on the adequacy and effectiveness of the design and operation of control frameworks, risk management and governance processes. The Chief Audit Executive also manages the Enterprise Risk Management function within the Department, as well as liaison services with the Office of the Auditor General and Central Agencies.

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer provides functional direction, guidance and leadership for the management of the Department's financial resources, real property, procurement and project management, and ensures an environment of fiscal responsibility, compliance and accountability.

Corporate Secretariat

The Corporate Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act, Part 4 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act related to Protection of Personal Information and the Departmental Policy on Privacy Management. The Corporate Secretariat also supports the Department by providing the portfolio of Employment and Social Development Canada with services, advice and assistance on domains related to Parliamentary Affairs, Governance and Executive Committees, Ministerial and Executive Briefings, Ministerial and Executive Correspondence and Governor in Council appointment framework and selection process.

Human Resources Services Branch

The Human Resources Services Branch supports the Department's business mandate in a multitude of ways. The Branch contributes to Employment and Social Development Canada being a higher-performing organization by having the right people in the right place at the right time, developing people and fostering a productive workplace. To achieve these goals, the Branch is focused on strengthening the workforce for the future, modernizing HR service and program delivery, supporting the Government of Canada and ESDC HR-to-Pay initiative, and enabling a healthy, performing and inclusive workplace.

Innovation, Information and Technology Branch

The Innovation, Information and Technology Branch provides information and technology services to the Department. This includes business applications that support and streamline work processes, access data and process benefit-related transactions to address Canadians' needs.

Legal Services Branch

The Legal Services Branch provides legal services to support the core operations and key initiatives of the Department. The services provided include legal advice on program statutes and policies administered by the Department; advice in relation to the development of policy and legislative or regulatory proposals; and representing the Department before boards, administrative tribunals and courts.

Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch

The Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch is the communications branch of Employment and Social Development Canada. The Assistant Deputy Minister of this branch is the Head of Communications for the Department and is responsible for upholding the Government of Canada's Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and the Directive on the Management of Communications. The Branch serves as the focal point for strategic and operational communications advice, products and services and supports portfolio Ministers in their roles as principal spokespersons for the Department and Deputy Heads in their roles as heads of the institution. Through its networks and channels, the Branch works closely with central agencies (such as the Privy Council Office, Treasury Board Secretariat and Finance Canada) for communication direction, guidance and approvals. The Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Branch is a full-service communications branch that offers professional communication services, including strategic communications, events, marketing and advertising, stakeholder relations, public opinion research, video and creative services, social media and media relations.

Labour Program

Policy, Dispute Resolution, and International Affairs Branch

The Policy, Dispute Resolution, and International Affairs Branch is responsible for conducting research and analysis on labour and workplace issues and providing strategic policy advice to address these issues. It deals with industrial relations, the settlement of labour disputes and the administration of Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labour Code. This branch also promotes the development and enforcement of internationally recognized labour principles, and fosters cooperation and coordination on labour issues between federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as with Indigenous communities.

Compliance, Operations and Program Development Branch

The Compliance, Operations and Program Development Branch is responsible for program policy and design, as well as regulatory development under Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) and Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act, the Employment Equity Act and the Government Employees Compensation Act. Through its 5 regions (that is Atlantic, Ontario, Quebec, Central and North West Pacific), it is responsible for undertaking compliance, enforcement and service delivery activities as they relate to Parts II and III of the Canada Labour Code.

Strategic Integration and Governance Directorate

The Strategic Integration and Governance Directorate leads Labour Program-wide corporate activities and horizontal initiatives to ensure a strategic and integrated approach. The Strategic Integration and Governance Directorate is also responsible for Labour Program employee engagement and governance.

Service Canada Branches

Citizen Service Branch

The Citizen Service Branch provides seamless, secure, knowledgeable services to Canadians. It provides leadership in achieving service excellence through a citizen-centred business model. The Branch is responsible for determining what services citizens can expect and how these services are delivered and marketed to Canadians through an integrated multi-channel delivery network. This involves working with federal partners to ensure Canadians have access to all programs and services to which they are entitled. It also involves leveraging opportunities with other departments to offer citizens a fuller spectrum of government services and information.

The Branch plays an important role in translating government policy into quality, comprehensive service offerings and in developing integrated, seamless service delivery approaches. The Branch delivers general program/service information and self-service options across a multi-channel network of over 600 offices and outreach locations (in-person points of service), 1-800 O-Canada call centres, and the internet. The Citizen Services Branch also provides more in-depth service for a range of other offerings. Their main objectives include providing services and disseminating Government of Canada information; managing and analyzing client feedback; building service strategies to assist Service Canada in achieving seamless citizen-centred service; embarking upon partnerships, such as the 15 sites that are managed and staffed by a service delivery partner at the provincial and/or territorial level; and offering general information and referral services for federal government programs and services on behalf of Service Canada.

Integrity Services Branch

The Integrity Services Branch protects Employment and Social Development Canada's key programs and services from error, fraud and abuse by preventing, detecting and addressing wrongdoing through the use of investigations, business intelligence, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, root cause analysis and fraud risk assessments. This ensures the long-term sustainability of Canada's programs and the safety of temporary foreign workers.

The Branch is also the policy centre for identity management, provides registration and authentication services, runs the operations processing and quality management of the Social Insurance program and plays a lead role on identity information sharing with provinces and territories.

Finally, this branch promotes the security and the safety of departmental personnel, visitors, information and assets and ensures the Department continues to deliver services to Canadians in the event of security incidents, disruptions, natural disasters or emergencies.

Program Operations Branch

The Program Operations Branch is responsible for the operation and coordination of the Department's grants and contributions, Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW), and Work Sharing (W-S) programs. The Branch delivers national programs, provides functional direction on regionally delivered Labour Market and Social Development programs and provides functional guidance and oversight for the TFW and W-S programs.

In addition to its program delivery functions, the Programs Operations Branch houses the Centre of Expertise, which ensures consistent delivery of 31 grants and contributions programs and leads the Department's modernization agenda to improve the design, administration and delivery of grants and contributions funding programs totalling $2.4 billion in 2018 and 2019.

Transformation and Integrated Service Management Branch

The Transformation and Integrated Service Management Branch (TISMB) was established in 2016 to help the Department better align with the Government of Canada's priority of delivering citizen-focused services and achieve the outcomes of the ESDC Service Strategy.

TISMB oversees the transformation of departmental services to Canadians, leads key modernization initiatives and enhances opportunities for service management integration through standardized approaches, digitalization and process re-design.

Through Benefits Delivery Services, TISMB is also responsible for the delivery of some of the largest programs of the Government of Canada, including Old Age Security (OAS), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and Employment Insurance (EI), along with their call centres, ensuring Canadians have timely access to the information they need and receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Service Canada Regions

Service Canada Regions support the Department in delivering on key commitments and in responding to the unique service delivery needs of citizens in the areas they serve. Regional offices are critical to the delivery of the Department's services, operating an extensive network of Service Canada Centres, Passport Offices, outreach services, specialized call centres and processing centres. Of note, staff travel to pre-determined locations, typically in rural or remote areas that are otherwise underserved, to answer questions, guide clients through online services and forms and help clients identify services and benefits available to them. Through the Indigenous Outreach Initiative, Service Canada expanded outreach efforts to all on-reserve, remote and northern Indigenous communities, and has initiated pilot outreach activities for urban Indigenous communities. Outreach teams from Service Canada regions provided services in 669 Indigenous communities in 2018 and 2019. Urban pilot activities are currently underway in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Montréal, Ottawa and St John's.

Service Canada delivers services to Canadians in person, online and by phone. As of June 2019, Canadians were able to access services at 611 in-person points of service across the country: This extensive network includes:

Atlantic Region

The Atlantic Region covers 4 provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The Atlantic Region has a combined area of 500,531 km² and serves a population of 2.3 million. The Region includes close to 3,000 employees through 87 in-person sites and 14 Benefit Delivery Operation Centres.

Ontario Region

The Ontario Region covers an area of 1.076 million km² and serves a population of 14.3 million, making it the biggest region in terms of population. The Region includes over 6,100 employees through 177 in-person sites, 16 Benefit Delivery Operation Centres and the Mississauga Passport Program Delivery Operations Centre.

Quebec Region

The Quebec Region covers an area of 1.668 million km² and serves a population of 8.4 million. The Region includes over 4,200 employees through 98 in-person sites, 11 Benefit Delivery Operation Centres, 2 Passport Operations call centres and the Gatineau Passport Program Delivery Operations Centre.

Western Canada and Territories Region

The Western Canada and Territories Region includes 4 provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia) and 3 territories (Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories). It is the biggest region in terms of size, with an area of 6.8 million km². The Region serves a population of 12 million and includes over 5,800 employees through 249 in-person sites and 14 Benefit Delivery Operation Centres.

Commissions, Tribunals, Councils and Committees

Canada Employment Insurance Commission

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission plays a leadership role, with Employment and Social Development Canada, in overseeing the Employment Insurance (EI) program. For more than 75 years, this tripartite organization has included representation from business, labour and the Government of Canada.

The Commission was first established in 1940 as the Unemployment Insurance Commission with the introduction of the Unemployment Insurance scheme. Its authority originates from the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and from the Employment Insurance Act.


The Commission has 4 members, 3 of whom are voting members, representing the interests of government, workers and employers.

The Commissioner for Workers and the Commissioner for Employers are appointed by the Governor in Council for terms of up to 5 years. They are mandated to represent and reflect the views of their respective constituencies.

The chairperson and vice-chairperson are respectively the Deputy Minister and Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development, who represent the interests of government. The Vice-Chairperson votes on decisions only if the Chairperson is unavailable.

Services and information

The main statutory function of the Commission is to administer the Employment Insurance Act. In practice, many of the day-to-day duties of the Commission have been delegated to Employment and Social Development officials.

The Commission has the legislated mandate to annually monitor and assess the EI program. In this context, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission is responsible for:

The Commission also has responsibilities in the following areas:

EI policy and regulations

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission, under the authority of the Employment Insurance Act:

Financial transparency/rate setting
EI appeals

Additionally, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission has authority to perform duties and functions in relation to, but not limited to:

Financial profile

The operations of the Commission are funded from the EI Operating Account, for which there is no set financial profile as EI is a statutory program.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada. Its superseding agency was established after World War II to help returning war veterans find housing. It has since expanded its mandate to facilitate access to housing for everyone living in Canada and contribute to Canada's financial stability.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is the largest Crown corporation in terms of assets, with some $ 263,876,000,000 as of 2018.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation manages its mortgage insurance and mortgage funding activities on a commercial basis. The premiums and fees collected from these activities cover all related expenses, while generating a reasonable return for its shareholder, the Government of Canada. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation returns excess capital to the Government by way of a dividend, while retaining sufficient capital to protect against housing market risks.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors and is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada. The board of directors and president are appointed by the Government of Canada.

As Canada's national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support to Canadians in housing need—through Canada's first-ever $55 billion National Housing Strategy, as well as a new human rights based approach to housing—and offers objective housing research and advice to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry. Together, these goals aim to support Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's new Housing Affordability Strategy, which aims to ensure that "By 2030, everyone in Canada has a home that they can afford and that meets their needs."

Social Security Tribunal of Canada

The Social Security Tribunal of Canada is a federal institution that is part of the Employment and Social Development Canada portfolio. They operate at arm's length from the Government of Canada.

The entity is an independent administrative tribunal that makes quasi-judicial decisions on appeals related to the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan, and the Old Age Security Act.

The Social Security Tribunal of Canada receives services from the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada, which is also responsible for providing support services and facilities to 11 federal administrative tribunals by way of a single, integrated organization. These services include the specialized services required to support the mandate of each tribunal (for example, registry, research and analysis, legal and other case and mandate-specific work or case activities), as well as internal services (for example, human resources, financial services, information management and technology, accommodation, security, planning and communications).

Canada Industrial Relations Board

The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) is an independent, representational, quasi-judicial tribunal responsible for the interpretation and administration of Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labour Code, and certain provisions of Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) and Part III (Labour Standards). The CIRB is also responsible for the interpretation and administration of Part II (Professional Relations) of the Status of the Artist Act and appeals under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act.

The Board's mandate is to contribute to and promote a harmonious industrial relations environment in the federally regulated sector, while also ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation and adherence to minimum employment standards in federal workplaces.

In order to fulfill its mandate, the CIRB provides a variety of dispute resolution services. It adjudicates matters where necessary, but it also focuses on providing mediation assistance at all stages of a proceeding to proactively seek a resolution of matters that best meets the needs of the parties. Through this approach, the CIRB supports labour and management as well as artists and producers in improving their workplace and professional relationships.

Since November 1, 2014, the CIRB obtains its support services from the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC). The ATSSC was created to consolidate the provision of support services to eleven administrative tribunals—including the CIRB—into a single, integrated organization. Applications, complaints and Ministerial referrals are filed, managed and dealt with independently by the CIRB through the application of its regulations, policies and procedures.

Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is governed by a tripartite council representing governments (federal, provincial and territorial), employers and labour, which assists in delivering a trustworthy and complete occupational health and safety service, and ensures that the information the CCOHS disseminates is unbiased.

The CCOHS has an established history of collaborating with many Canadian and international partners. Projects with leading workplace health and safety organizations in Canada have expanded the quality and quantity of resources and programs available to workers and employers across the country.

Work with international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union, has helped to advance health and safety in the workplace on a global level. These partnerships, in addition to its position as one of the Collaborating Centres of the International Labour Organization and WHO, allow the CCOHS to provide Canadians with information from international sources and to share our own knowledge and expertise in return.

National Seniors Council

The National Seniors Council (NSC) engages with seniors, stakeholders and experts to provide advice to the Government of Canada on current and emerging issues and opportunities related to the health, well-being and quality of life of seniors. The NSC has a maximum of 12 members, including the Chairperson, who are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health.

Work priorities are determined by the Ministers based on NSC members' recommendations. The NSC is currently focusing on 4 key priorities, including addressing financial crimes and harms against seniors, developing a seniors policy lens examining potential objectives and elements of a national seniors strategy and identifying measures to counteract ageism by shifting the public discourse. To examine the above issues and advance its work, the NSC developed a 3-year work plan covering 2018 to 2021.

Policy Horizons Canada

Policy Horizons Canada uses foresight to help the Government of Canada develop future-oriented policy and programs that are robust and resilient in the face of disruptive change by:

Policy Horizons Canada's mandate is government-wide. It reports to the Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada.

A Deputy Minister Steering Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Employment Social Development Canada and the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultations) of the Privy Council Office provides Horizons with oversight, direction and guidance.

Federal-Provincial/Territorial Relations

The Department's mandate covers a number of areas of shared intersecting jurisdictions with provinces and territories.

Forum of Labour Market Ministers

The Forum of Labour Market Ministers is a multilateral federal, provincial and territorial collaborative forum that promotes discussion and cooperation on labour market matters of common interest. Federal, provincial and territorial governments work cooperatively to ensure that Canada has a skilled, adaptable and inclusive workforce that supports the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

The federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour co-chairs the Forum with a provincial-territorial co-chair that rotates on a 2-year basis. The Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour of Newfoundland and Labrador currently co-chairs the Forum until March 31, 2021.

Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services

The Forum of Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services was established to promote inter-jurisdictional discussion, provide timely outcome-oriented policy options, and to encourage intergovernmental cooperation on social services issues.

The Forum operates at the Ministerial and Deputy Minister levels, supported by committee work at the government officials' level. At the Ministerial level, provinces and territories are generally represented by their respective ministers who have the primary mandate for social services; in some cases, other ministers may participate if there is a specific link to their mandate (for example there may be a separate minister with a mandate for children's services). One provincial/territorial minister takes on the role of co-chair of the Forum, usually for a period of two years. The federal co-chair is the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, with support from other federal ministers as appropriate.

The Forum of Deputy Ministers Responsible for Social Services supports the work of the Ministers and the Forum by providing strategic oversight and direction to officials to carry out the decisions and action items identified by Ministers, determining the schedule of meetings for Deputy Ministers, and providing recommendations regarding Ministers' meetings and collaborative work. The Deputy Ministers Responsible for Social Services is co-chaired by the Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada and the provincial/territorial Deputy Minister of the department/ministry of the respective provincial/territorial Ministerial co-chair. The Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development may also be supported by other federal Deputy Ministers.

The Federal-Provincial/Territorial Relations Division, Intergovernmental Affairs, Strategic and Services Policy Branch, provides secretariat services to the Ministers Responsible for Social Services. In collaboration with the provincial and territorial officials co-chair, the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Relations Division coordinates and supports the work of the Ministers Responsible for Social Services and the Deputy Ministers Responsible for Social Services at the working level as federal co-chair of the Support Committee of Officials. The Support Committee is responsible for providing strategic advice and guidance to, as well as overall coordination for, the committees and working groups established to advance the priorities of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in a range of social policy areas:

These committees and working groups clarify and consider issues, advance collaboration, develop options for consideration by Deputy Ministers and Ministers and take action on decisions made by Ministers through the Ministers Responsible for Social Services.

Forum of Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors

The Forum of Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors meets to discuss issues of importance to seniors, share information on seniors' well-being, and undertake collaborative initiatives to advance issues of common concern to seniors, including, where possible, in collaboration with other Federal-Provincial/Territorial fora.

The Federal Minister responsible for the seniors' portfolio occupies the federal co-chair role. The provincial territorial co-chair is identified following each in-person Ministers' meeting, usually every 12–18 months, among Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for their governments' seniors portfolio. A Federal-Provincial/Territorial Committee of Deputy Ministers and a Federal-Provincial/Territorial Committee of Officials support the work of the Forum. The Seniors and Pensions Policy Secretariat, Income Security and Social Development Branch in Employment and Social Development Canada manages the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Seniors Forum's Secretariat. The Forum's current work priorities include examining the socio-economic impact of aging, the labour force participation of older Canadians and the housing and community supports enabling older Canadians to age in their communities.

Federal-Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Labour

The federal Minister of Labour engages with the provinces and territories by co-chairing the annual Federal-Provincial/Territorial meetings of Ministers responsible for Labour. The meeting is an opportunity for ministers to discuss issues of mutual interest and consider approaches that address domestic and international workplace matters of importance to Canadians. It is also an opportunity for ministers to develop and maintain good working relationships. Topics of discussion at the meetings have included such diverse subject areas as occupational health and safety harmonization, legislation to address harassment and violence in the workplace, measures to reduce the wage gap such as pay transparency and engagement with Indigenous partners.

The annual meeting of Ministers is held in January, when Parliament and most provincial and territorial legislatures are in recess. The federal Minister of Labour co-chairs on a permanent basis, while the provincial/territorial co-chair rotates among jurisdictions. If there are labour matters of mutual interest requiring discussion between annual meetings, Federal-Provincial/Territorial ministers may meet via videoconference. The Ministers' forum is supported by the Deputy Ministers' body and the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation. The organization serves as the vehicle for preparations for the annual Federal-Provincial/Territorial meetings of Ministers responsible for Labour, as well as for the follow-up required on issues as directed by the ministers. The Secretariat historically resides in the federal Labour Program and provides support to both the deputy ministerial and ministerial tables.

Annex A

ESDC programs and initiatives

Grants and contributions

  1. Youth Employment and Skills Strategy
    1. Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program (includes Integrated program)
    2. Goal Getters
    3. Canada Summer Jobs
  2. Student Work Placement Program
  3. Canada Service Corps
  4. Future Skills
  5. International Education Strategy: Outbound Student Mobility Pilot
  6. Pathways to Education
  7. Literacy and Essential Skills programs
  8. Enabling Fund for Official Language Minority Communities
  9. Apprenticeship Grants and Loans
    1. Apprenticeship Incentive Grant
    2. Apprenticeship Completion Grant
    3. Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women
  10. Union Training and Innovation Program
    1. Equipment
    2. Innovation in Apprenticeship
    3. Women in Construction Fund
    4. Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program
  11. Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
  12. Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities - Accessible Canada
  13. Sectoral Initiative Program
  14. Foreign Credential Recognition Program
  15. Support for Labour Market Information in Canada
  16. Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime
  17. Social Innovation Social Finance
    1. Investment Readiness Program
    2. Social Finance Fund (under development)
  18. Social Development Partnerships Program
    1. Children and Families Component
    2. Supporting Black Communities
    3. Increasing Uptake and Awareness of the Canada Learning Bond
    4. Disability Component
    5. Early Learning and Childcare Innovation Stream
    6. Migrant Workers Support Network
    7. Canada Volunteer Awards
    8. Official Language Minority Communities
  19. Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy
    1. Designated Communities
    2. Indigenous Homelessness
    3. Rural and Remote Homelessness
    4. Territorial Homelessness
    5. Community Capacity and Innovation
  20. Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program
  21. Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Transformation Initiative
  22. Skills and Partnership Fund
  23. Supporting Indigenous Post-Secondary Education (Indspire)
  24. Sustainable Development Goals
  25. Enabling Accessibility Fund
    1. Small-Sized
    2. Mid-Sized
    3. Youth
  26. New Horizons for Seniors Program
    1. Pan Canadian
    2. Regional Communities
  27. Named Grants for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  28. Labour Funding Program
    1. International Trade and Labour
    2. Labour Management Partnerships
    3. Occupational Health and Safety and Fire Prevention
  29. Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund (formerly entitled Labour Management Collaboration Program)
  30. Work Integration Social Enterprise
  31. Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization

Statutory programs

  1. Canada Student Loans Program
  2. Canada Education Savings Program
  3. Supporting Indigenous Students
  4. Employment Insurance
    1. Regular Benefits
    2. Fishing Benefits
    3. Support for Seasonal Workers
    4. Sickness Benefits
    5. Maternity and Parental Benefits
    6. Special Benefits for Self-Employed
    7. Caregiving Benefits
    8. Premium Reduction Program
    9. Work Sharing
  5. Canada Disability Savings Program
  6. Canada Pension Plan
    1. Canada Pension Plan-Disability
  7. Old Age Security
    1. Guaranteed Income Supplement

Transfer payments

  1. Early Learning and Child Care
  2. Labour Market Development AgreementsFootnote 4
  3. Workforce Development Agreements

Other initiatives

  1. Job Bank
  2. Red Seal Program
  3. Labour Market Information Council
  4. Canada Training BenefitFootnote 5
  5. Canadian Government Annuities
  6. Social Security Tribunal
  7. Temporary Foreign Workers Program

Other initiatives led by Finance Canada with support from ESDC

  1. Canada Child Benefit
  2. Canada Workers Benefit
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