Ministers’ message

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

We are pleased to present Employment and Social Development Canada’s 2017-18 Departmental Results Report.

Here at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) we have been working hard to establish new programs and services that will benefit Canadians, and ensure that low- and middle-income Canadians have a real and fair chance to succeed.

In August 2018, Canada’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy was announced; an important step towards our commitment to poverty reduction in Canada. To help inform the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Department undertook nationwide consultations and hosted a National Poverty Conference which brought together academics, Canadians with lived experience of poverty, and other key stakeholders. With the measures we are putting in place, we aim to have a significant impact on lifting Canadians, from children and families, to seniors, out of poverty, now and in the future.

Children and families are a priority and we recognize that supporting children is an investment in Canada’s future. This is why we followed up on our commitment to index the Canada Child Benefit and did it two years early. This provides additional support for low- and middle-income Canadian families.

Another way we are supporting families is by improving access to high-quality and affordable child care. ESDC has been working in close collaboration with Indigenous partners to develop Canada’s first-ever Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework, which reflects the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children across our nation.

Last fall, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation introduced the new National Housing Strategy, a plan to help Canadians across the country access affordable housing that meets their needs. This strategy includes $2.2 billion over the next 10 years to expand and extend funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada.

Employment Insurance (EI) supports Canadian workers while they are unemployed; whether due to a specific life event or while finding a new job. To ensure EI is better aligned with today’s workforce realities; improvements to EI special benefits were announced. These include many changes to support families and caregivers, the ability to receive parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months, allowing pregnant workers to claim maternity benefits earlier, and creating a new Family Caregiver benefit with expanded eligibility and access. We recently announced a new EI Parental Sharing Benefit, which will provide an additional 5 weeks of parental benefits when parents—including adoptive and same-sex parents—share them. This measure is expected to be available earlier than planned in March 2019.

While we have certainly made progress in enhancing Canadians’ social security, we are also working hard to increase their economic security. Canadians are living longer and are in better health. Supporting our seniors is imperative and they should all be able to retire in safety and dignity. This is why, starting in 2019, Canada Pension Plan benefits will start to increase to reach one third of people’s average work earnings. This initiative follows measures that have already been implemented, such as the increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement for the most vulnerable single seniors and restoring the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 67 to 65. We also continued our work to ensure that Old Age Security program benefits keep pace with the actual cost of living and will continue to help improve seniors’ income security.

The Government is committed in putting gender at the heart of its decision-making. Advancing women’s equality in Canada will drive economic growth, while boosting families’ income. We have provided leadership in addressing the systemic undervaluation of work traditionally performed by women by reiterating our commitment to introduce proactive pay equity legislation. In addition, we are supporting a strong labour market, creating healthy and safe workplaces, and helping people get the skills they need for good quality jobs.

Flexible work arrangements can help improve workers’ overall work-life balance and reduce workplace stress. With this in mind, we amended the Canada Labour Code to provide employees in the federally regulated private sector with the right to formally request flexible work arrangements, and we introduced unpaid leaves for family responsibilities, to participate in traditional Indigenous practices, and to seek care if they are victims of domestic violence. Last fall, we also introduced Bill C-65 to ensure that federally regulated workplaces, and Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and sexual violence.

Our economy is rapidly evolving and Canadians must find ways to adapt to new and emerging trends. ESDC is taking concrete steps to build a highly skilled and resilient workforce for the future. Through the Future Skills initiatives, we will help Canadians prepare for, get and keep jobs as innovation and technology continue to place new demands on workers’ skills and training. We have worked to develop initiatives to help every Canadian have better access to the skills, training, and job resources they need in order to succeed, no matter where they are in their careers. Each year, the Government of Canada transfers nearly $3 billion to provinces and territories to deliver skills development support. And, through Budget 2017, we are providing them with an additional $2.7 billion over the next 5 years to deliver labour market programming and services to respond to the diverse and emerging needs of Canadians. These investments were complemented by improvements to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy to help close the employment and earning gaps that Indigenous people face.

We know that when innovative companies in Canada grow, they create good, well-paying jobs for Canadians and strengthen the middle class and the Canadian economy. That is why we launched the Global Talent Stream, which helps employers attract and quickly access the highly skilled foreign workers they need to transform and expand their businesses.

Our efforts to provide Canadians with pathways to good careers include improvements to Canada Student Grants and increased support for Canada’s youth. For example, the expansion of the Student Work Placement Program gave more work experience opportunities for students in fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business programs. We have also taken important steps in modernizing labour standards to provide new protections for workers in federally regulated sectors such as eliminating unpaid internships. Our continued work on modernizing the Youth Employment Strategy resulted in over 35,000 additional Canada Summer Jobs placements in 2017 from the number of jobs created in 2015. The design phase of the Canada Service Corps was launched to encourage young Canadians to get involved in their communities and gain valuable work and life experience.

We are taking action to ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities. ESDC continued to work on new accessibility legislation to ensure a barrier-free Canada. This proposed legislation will provide entities under federal jurisdiction with clearly defined accessibility standards and make certain the federal government leads by example. The Department will continue to work collaboratively with partners to create opportunities for the full participation of people with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, and to help change the way society thinks, talks and acts about disability and accessibility.

Canadians deserve world-class, high-quality and timely service delivery. Through our Service Transformation Plan, we will continue to transform and modernize the way we interact with clients, employers, communities and organizations.

These are just some of the important steps we’ve taken to improve our work. We will continue to be open and transparent, to tackle important social issues and to work with all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, at every stage of life, to create a Canada where everyone has 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 Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Seniors

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