Backgrounder:  Government of Canada investments in training and skills development


Training will help workers access the skills, tools and opportunities they need to maximize their labour market potential and provide employers with the skilled workers they need to succeed. The Government of Canada’s investments in training will help create opportunities for all Canadians – by tackling the barriers that keep too many Canadians out of the labour force.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government announced its commitment to create one million jobs and restore employment to pre-pandemic levels. Despite the severe impacts of the pandemic’s second and third wave on Canadian workers and businesses, we are on track to create one million jobs by the end of the year. The plan outlined in Budget 2021 will create almost 500,000 new job and training opportunities for workers over coming years.

Empowering all Canadians to train and develop their skills

To equip Canadians with the skills they need to get and keep good jobs in our evolving labour market, Budget 2021 committed $298 million over three years, in a new Skills for Success program. The program will fund organizations to design and deliver training to help all Canadians to enhance foundational skills such as numeracy, as well as soft skills, such as collaboration. Through the program, approximately 90,000 Canadians will be able to improve their foundational and transferable skills to better prepare for, get and keep a job, and adapt and succeed at work.

To further bolster training supports for those hardest hit by the pandemic, including marginalized and racialized women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and newcomers to Canada, theGovernment invested an additional $274.2 million over two years, as part of the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. This funding will support the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, and the Women’s Employment Readiness pilot project.

Demand-driven employer and community-led workforce strategies

To help small and medium-sized employers create more jobs, Budget 2021 committed $470 million over three years in a new Apprenticeship Service. This initiative will help 55,000 first-year apprentices in eligible Red Seal trades connect with opportunities at small and medium-sized employers. Additional supports will be provided to employers who hire those from underrepresented groups, including women, racialized Canadians, and persons with disabilities to help support a more inclusive skilled trades workforce.

Through the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, the Government of Canada will work with sector associations and employers to design and deliver training that is relevant to the needs of businesses. Budget 2021 committed $960 million over three years to connect up to 90,000 Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in sectors where employers are looking for skilled workers. This includes sectors like health, clean energy, as well as construction. This funding will also help businesses recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce.

To assist communities in determining their economic futures and meet the needs of local employers, Budget 2021 committed $55 million over three years, for a new Community Workforce Development Program. The program will support communities to develop local plans that connect employers with training providers to develop and deliver training and work placements that upskill and reskill jobseekers to fill jobs in demand. This initiative will benefit approximately 2,500 workers, 250 businesses, and 25 communities, by accelerating job creation and the re-employment and deployment of workers to growth areas.

To help prepare Canadian workers for jobs in the growing field of energy efficiency, Natural Resources Canada announced over $200,000 in e-training opportunities in June 2020. The initiatives funded by this investment will support Canada’s future energy efficiency needs through targeted training of professionals in this emerging field, helping them develop a strong foundation for long-term workforce readiness. These projects will also help improve the energy efficiency of homes, buildings and industrial sectors by ensuring Canadians have the skills to install and maintain energy-efficient equipment, processes and systems.

To take advantage of opportunities for growth in the artificial intelligence sector, Budget 2021 committed up to $443.8 million over ten years for the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The strategy will further build on the existing AI ecosystems in Canada by increasing the number of highly-skilled researchers and graduates, and enhancing research, training, and knowledge mobilization programs.

Helping workers transition to new jobs

To help Canadians find new jobs, workers need to be able to rapidly adapt and upgrade their transferable skills for newer industries. Budget 2021 committed $250 million over three years for Transitioning Workers to New Jobs, an initiative to scale-up proven industry-led, third-party delivered approaches to upskill and redeploy workers to meet the needs of growing industries. This initiative will help approximately 15,500 Canadians connect with new work opportunities.

Many veterans have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. To improve the quality of life for veterans and their families during this challenging period Budget 2021 committed an additional $15 million over three years to Veterans Affairs Canada to expand and enhance the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund for projects that will support veterans during the post COVID-19 recovery, including addressing homelessness, employment, retraining, and health challenges.

Enhanced training for Canadians through provincial and territorial programming

To support Canadian workers to develop new skills and find good jobs, the 2020 Fall Economic Statement provided an investment of $1.5 billion in the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. This investment will help Canadians in underrepresented groups and those in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic – such as construction, transportation, and hospitality – quickly access supports to re-enter the workforce. Supports could 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 provided to provinces and territories in 2020-21 under the WDAs and Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs).

Investing in Canada’s entrepreneurs

To help all Canadians have an equal chance to succeed and contribute to economic recovery and growth, Budget 2021 committed up to $101.4 million over five years to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program. This investment will help equity deserving entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services and business training.

To provide affordable financing, increase data, and strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem, Budget 2021 committed up to $146.9 million over four years, starting in 2021-22 to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. This investment will offer women entrepreneurs greater access to financing, mentorship and training. Funding would also further support the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.

Budget 2021 also committed $1.4 billion over four years for a new Canada Digital Adoption Program to help more than 160,000 businesses go digital or enhance their online services. This includes support to train approximately 28,000 young Canadians to help businesses achieve this goal. 

Page details

Date modified: