Backgrounder: Changing demands of the workplace

Backgrounder

Changing demands of the workplace

Canada is home to a well-educated and highly skilled workforce, but rapid technological change and globalization are accelerating the need to learn and develop new skills. As the demands of the workplace change, so too must the skills that workers bring to their jobs. The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that both employers and governments are more responsive to workers’ needs.

The new and amended agreements followed broad-based consultations with more than 700 stakeholders on how to expand and improve skills training and employment supports for Canadians.

Workforce Development Agreements

The new Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) consolidate the Canada Job Fund Agreements, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and the former Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. In addition to the $722 million provided annually to provinces and territories under the WDAs, Budget 2017 added $900 million over a period of six years from 2017–18 to 2022–23. The new funding will also support provincial and territorial employment programming for older workers, which was previously supported by the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.

Through these agreements, the Government is providing Canadians with more opportunities to upgrade their skills, gain experience or get help to start their own business. The agreements also mean more support, such as employment counselling, to help Canadians plan their careers.

Labour Market Development Agreements

Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) are bilateral agreements with each province and territory to design and deliver employment programming similar to Employment Benefits and Support Measures outlined in

Part II of the Employment Insurance Act. LMDAs help unemployed Canadians quickly find and return to work. They also ensure a skilled labour force that meets current and emerging needs of employers.

Budget 2017 measures to expand eligibility to help more Canadians access skills training and employment assistance under the amended LMDAs include:

  • investing an additional $1.8 billion in LMDAs over six years;

  • broadening eligibility for Employment Benefits (e.g. skills training, wage subsidies) to include unemployed individuals who have made minimum Employment Insurance premium contributions in at least 5 of the last 10 years;

  • expanding eligibility for Employment Assistance Services (e.g. employment counselling, job search assistance), currently available to unemployed Canadians, to also include employed Canadians; and

  • increasing flexibility for provinces and territories to support employer-sponsored training under Labour Market Partnerships (e.g. to help employers who need to upskill or retrain their workers in order to adjust to technological or structural changes in the economy).

These agreements represent an increase in funding of $2.7 billion over the period, compared to previous funding levels. This increase means an estimated 730,000 more workers will benefit over the six years.

More recently, in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced an additional $80 million in 2018–19 and $150 million in 2019–20 to work with key provinces to find local solutions to help support seasonal workers in the off-season.


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