Ministers’ message

Official title: ESDC 2017-2018 Departmental Plan

We are pleased to present Employment and Social Development Canada's 2017-2018 Departmental Plan. It provides Canadians and parliamentarians with information on what we do and the results we are aiming to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, we are introducing a new, simplified report to replace the Report on Plans and Priorities.

The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: communicating our annual performance goals, how they align with departmental and governmental priorities and how we will achieve them. The report has also been restructured to tell a clear, more balanced story of the actual results we are trying to achieve, while ensuring taxpayers know how their dollars will be spent.

One new feature in this document highlights the Department's innovation and experimentation agenda. Whether through analysis of data to improve our programs and service delivery or through partnerships with stakeholders, the Department is committed to taking a fresh look at how it operates and incorporating innovative practices into how it serves Canadians.

Throughout this past year, we have witnessed the important impact Employment and Social Development Canada has had on the lives of all Canadians. From parents who are investing in their children's education thanks to a more generous Canada Child Benefit, to engaging in a national process to make Canada more accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities, to post-secondary students who have access to increased grant funding to pay the costs of education without having to incur more debt, to seniors who have a greater sense of economic security because of increases to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and changes to Old Age Security eligibility, we are there for Canadians at all stages of life.

Supporting the middle class and those working hard to join it is a priority for us. Improvements to Employment Insurance undertaken this past year, such as expanded eligibility and a reduced waiting period, mean that more Canadians can count on the program when they need it. Building on the changes made this year, in the coming year we will look to further align the EI program with the realities of the labour market of today and the future. In this respect, we are working on more flexible maternity and parental benefits, and more inclusive caregiving benefits. At the same time, we are proposing amendments to labour laws to allow workers to request flexible work arrangements and to improve overall working conditions, and examining ways to reduce the wage gap between men and women and encourage better representation of women in all areas of the economy. In addition, we are proposing proper oversight and reduction of unpaid internships to better protect new workers, and for young Canadians looking to build a stable future, we continue to increase availability of and access to training programs and post-secondary education.

One of our key priorities is to develop a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy which will be informed by widespread consultations the Department will undertake in 2017. We are also working with Indigenous peoples and our provincial and territorial counterparts to put in place an Early Learning and Child Care Framework that will provide more accessible, affordable, high-quality, flexible child care that is respectful of diversity, especially for Indigenous families. For seniors, we are reducing uncertainty by developing a mechanism to ensure Old Age Security benefits keep pace with the actual cost of living that seniors face. We have recently concluded a consultation process to inform the development of a world class piece of legislation to support the full inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. This ambitious public consultation was done in the most accessible way we can, with simultaneous bilingual sign language, alternative print formats and live captioning available. Canadians, communities and workplaces benefit when everyone can participate equally in everyday life. Canadians with disabilities will gain better access to public facilities, programs and services and workplaces across the country as a result of new projects approved under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) to support organizations across the country.

As we move forward, we are pursuing our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. We are engaging in a constructive dialogue with stakeholders and citizens to deliver real and positive change. We are committed to reflecting the diversity and inclusivity of Canadian society, from innovative policy and program design through state-of-the-art service delivery, to ensure all Canadians have an equal and fair chance to succeed.

  • The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
  • The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
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