Management response - Evaluation of the Labour Market Development Agreements
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The Skills and Employment Branch worked in close collaboration with the Evaluation Directorate of ESDC, as well as with P/Ts, during the planning and implementation of the second cycle for the LMDA evaluation. The Skills and Employment Branch would like to thank all members of the Evaluation Steering Committee for their dedication and commitment to the success of this evaluation process. The Skills and Employment Branch agrees with the evaluation recommendations and is pleased to submit this management response. These findings are an important source of advice, as governments work together to renew the labour market transfer agreements.
The main objective of EI Part II is to maintain a sustainable EI system by getting clients back to work quickly. Part II allows the federal government to sign agreements (i.e. LMDAs) with P/Ts to design, deliver and manage their own active employment programs for unemployed Canadians, particularly for those who are eligible for EI. The LMDAs transfer $2.14B annually ($1.95 billion in program funding and $190 million in administrative funding) to P/Ts for the design and management of programs targeting unemployed Canadians.
Building on lessons learned and best practices from previous LMDA evaluations, the second cycle for the LMDA evaluation produced high quality evidence about the effectiveness and efficiency of the EBSM similar programming designed and delivered by provinces and territories. Evaluations became more timely and relevant to program and policy development, while using a cost-effective approach.
Cycle II confirms that:
- LMDA program participants benefited from improved labour market outcomes, such as increased employment and earnings, as well as reduced dependence on Employment Insurance and Social Assistance.
- In addition, providing Employment Assistance Services, which include counselling and job search assistance, earlier (first 4 weeks) during an EI claim produced larger impacts on earnings and employment, while facilitating earlier returns to work.
- Furthermore, a cost-benefit analysis demonstrated that, from a social perspective, the benefits for participants exceed the cost of investments for most interventions.
3. Response from Employment and Social Development Canada
The Skills and Employment Branch identified the following actions in relation to the recommendations coming out of the evaluation:
- Recommendation 1: “Consideration should be given to providing provinces/territories with timely access to data on new EI recipients for supporting targeting and increasing awareness”.
- Recommendation 2: “Since ESDC has access to Records of Employment and EI data, it should explore what active role it could play in raising program awareness among new EI recipients”.
Response: This evaluation shows that interventions with EI clients in the first four weeks of an EI Part I claim results in significant positive impacts on earnings and employment. ESDC has been sharing EI client data with Quebec since 1999 to promote early interventions in that province and, with the advent of electronic EI applications, a Targeting, Referral and Feedback system was developed in 2006 for this purpose. Using the Targeting, Referral and Feedback system, P/Ts can strategically target and contact EI applicants, in order to refer them to a job or offer employment programs and services early in their claim.
Pilot projects with British Columbia and Manitoba were ran to test the impact of early interventions in the delivery of active measures on EI claimants. British Columbia then launched the province-wide implementation of its Targeting, Referral and Feedback initiative in the fall of 2016. In this context, ESDC continues to work with interested P/Ts to implement and use the Targeting, Referral and Feedback system, to facilitate the provision of employment supports to EI applicants, and to study the impacts of such measures.
ESDC and Service Canada will continue to work together to raise awareness of the programs and services available to EI applicants.
ESDC will also support the sharing of information and best practices from provinces, territories and various stakeholders involved in the delivery of active programming.
- Recommendation 3: “Consideration should be given to remove barriers to accessing and completing training such as literacy/essential skills training and learning disability assessments. The measures would help individuals with multiple barriers to prepare for vocational training and to reintegrate the labour market. The measures should be reported separately from other Skills Development interventions given their unique objectives”.
Response: As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to modernize labour market transfers, ESDC is working to provide P/Ts with more flexibility under the LMDAs, in order to better target unemployed Canadians who need access to skills and training programs. ESDC will also explore with P/Ts the possibility of collecting more detailed intervention types under the Skills Development program.
- Recommendation 4: “P/Ts should explore ways of removing barriers to employer participation in Targeted Wage Subsidies”.
Response: The Skills and Employment Branch will discuss the design and delivery of Targeted Wage Subsidy programs with P/Ts in the context of the renewal of the labour market transfer programs.
- Recommendation 5: “Consideration should be given to enhance the capacity of service providers to access or produce, when needed, relevant labour market information”.
Response: Recognizing that timely, reliable, comprehensive and easily accessible labour market information is critical to determining and continuing to meet labour market needs, in July 2015 labour market ministers from across Canada endorsed the creation of a new labour market information Council and a complementary new National Stakeholder Advisory Panel. Through this approach, governments and stakeholders will work together to ensure all Canadians, including students, businesses, workers and educators, have access to unbiased information they need to make informed decisions.
In addition, ESDC continues to strengthen the labour exchange function through the national Job Bank, and supports the development of new, more granular labour market information that will help P/Ts in their calibration of labour market programming.
- Recommendation 6: “Consideration should be given to examine in more detail the design and delivery of Self-Employment and whether the performance indicators for this program are appropriate”.
- Recommendation 7: “Consideration should be given to examine the design and delivery of Job Creation Partnerships in order to better understand how this program operates”.
Response: ESDC will work closely with P/Ts, through the LMDA Evaluation Steering Committee, to carry out specific studies on the design and delivery of these two programs.
- Recommendation 8: “Improvements in the data collection is recommended to address key program and policy questions of interest to the federal and provincial/territorial governments”.
- Recommendation 9: “Considerations should be given to assign responsibility for a specific unit within ESDC to manage data integrity, including validating data uploads and documenting changes over time”.
Response: ESDC will work with P/Ts, under renewed labour market development agreements, to strengthen performance measurement and update data exchange agreements, including improving data collection. More precisely, efforts will be devoted to improving the integrity and granularity of LMDA administrative data on client characteristics, interventions and costs, as recommended in the evaluation report. Improved LMDA data will lead to better program design, management and delivery of LMDA programming, as well as improved comparability across P/Ts.
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