Helping Manitoba’s workers develop the skills they need to find good jobs

News release

March 9, 2021               Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

As the Canadian economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, workers are facing new challenges. Residents of Manitoba and all Canadians need access to training and employment supports to develop new skills and find good jobs.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and Manitoba’s Minister of Economic Development and Jobs, Ralph Eichler, highlighted that the Government of Canada has provided an additional $1.5 billion for training Canadian workers, through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of Manitoba has received $47 million to help respond to the increased number of Manitoba’s workers looking to re-enter the workforce, particularly those in hard-hit sectors and groups disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

Supports include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion already being provided to support Canadian workers under the Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) and WDAs in 2020–21. Each year, over a million individuals across Canada receive employment benefits and supports under the labour market transfers, including 29,000 workers in Manitoba.

Building on the strong delivery networks and programs already in place in Manitoba, these investments will ensure quick access to training for the people of Manitoba, particularly workers and employers in sectors hard hit by COVID-19.

As a result of this investment, the Government of Manitoba is able to:

  • support Manitoba Education’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting training in basic classroom skills for both educational assistants and those on limited teaching permits;
  • provide funding for service providers to better support persons with disabilities remotely through enhancements to training, technology, innovation and marketing; and
  • support long-term sustainability of Manitoba businesses recovering from the pandemic.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making the largest training investment in Canadian history and announced that it will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. This will be done by using a range of tools, including immediate training to quickly equip workers. As a first step, this one-time investment through the WDAs will help contribute to this goal and create a stronger workforce.

To further support recovery efforts, the Government of Canada is also ensuring that Canadian workers can get the support they need under the LMDAs and the WDAs with provinces and territories by broadening the scope of eligible costs to include things such as the costs related to online training, accommodating new physical distancing requirements and providing mental health supports.

As we work toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to support the people of Manitoba and help them grow their potential. By working together with the Government of Manitoba, we can build a stronger workforce and position the country for an economic recovery that leaves no Canadian behind.


“Working with the Government of Manitoba, the Government of Canada is getting Manitoba’s workers the training they need to get good jobs as our country cautiously recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen workers’ futures and help them succeed as our economy recovers and evolves.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“Manitoba welcomes the new federal investment and is working in partnership across departments and with organizations to ensure that the funding reaches those hardest hit by the pandemic and boosts Manitoba’s economic recovery efforts.”
– Ralph Eichler, Manitoba’s Minister of Economic Development and Jobs

Quick facts

  • Each year, the Government of Canada provides $3 billion in funding to help Canadians improve their skills, and find and keep employment through the LMDAs and WDAs. Budget 2017 provided an additional investment in these agreements of up to $625 million annually, between 2017 and 2023. 

  • As a result of this new investment, total spending on programs for persons with disabilities through WDAs will increase by about $425 million. 

  • Based on the latest job numbers from the Labour Force Survey, the national unemployment rate rose to 9.4% in January 2021, its highest rate since August 2020, but down from a high of 13.7% in May. 

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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John Neufeld
Public Affairs Specialist
Government of Manitoba

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