Call for proposals launched to help Canadians gain necessary skills for in-demand jobs
Organizations have until March 18 to apply for funding under new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program
January 31, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Whether it’s rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic or driving the clean economy of the future, workers will always be at the heart of Canada’s success. By supporting Canadian workers in gaining the skills they need for in-demand jobs we not only help employers in key sectors fill critical shortages, we set the entire economy up to thrive.
That is why today Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, launched a call for proposals for projects that will help connect thousands of Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in in-demand sectors. Priority will be placed on projects that support underrepresented groups, including women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, racialized Canadians, newcomers, and LGBTQ2 Canadians, and will also promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Projects will be funded under three priority areas:
- Building talent for the clean economy: to support workforce development needs in sectors that contribute to the low carbon economy, protect the environment, oceanic or aquatic ecosystems, and/or manage natural resources.
- Supporting demand-driven solutions for sectors hardest hit by the pandemic and those key to recovery: to support activities that can be launched quickly to address the changing labour supply, skills and employment needs of workers and employers hardest hit by the pandemic.
- Investing in the health care sector: to address the challenges faced by in-demand health care occupations, including skills and labour shortages, labour mobility, workforce mental health needs and integration of internationally trained health care professionals.
Under the call for proposals, successful projects will include at least one of the following eligible activities:
- Training and reskilling to help workers gain skills for the changing needs of industries, including helping workers seize opportunities for in-demand jobs in growing sectors;
- Providing solutions for employers to develop a skilled and resilient workforce and workplace;
- Offering creative solutions to develop and implement new ways of addressing labour market issues in key sectors and/or occupations; and
- Establishing sector-wide standards and tools to help all stakeholders identify and address specific skills, needs and trends.
First announced in Budget 2021, the SWSP builds on the success of the Sectoral Initiatives Program, with an expanded scope for large-scale projects that offer a broader range of supports to train workers and help employers, especially from small and medium-sized businesses, develop practical and effective solutions.
“Across the country and around the world, Covid-19 and climate change are impacting the workforce. We’re seeing emerging labour shortages and increasing demand for certain skills. The Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program will connect thousands of Canadians with the skills and training they need to seize these job opportunities in health care, clean technology, and other industries.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“Putting people and communities at the centre of our actions and investments is key to Canada’s approach to an inclusive clean energy transition and economic recovery. The new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program will help Canadian workers have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the transition to a low-carbon energy future.”
– Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson
“To improve access to high-quality care for all Canadians and strengthen our healthcare systems, our government continues to take a Team Canada approach, in collaboration with provinces and territories and health care system partners. The Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program is another innovative step in our efforts to advance health care priorities and help address healthcare workforce challenges.”
– Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos
In fall 2021, Canadian employers were seeking to fill close to 1 million job vacancies. A significant number of vacancies (126,000) are in health care, which was already seeing shortages before the pandemic.
In 2020, the environmental sector added 35,000 new jobs. Job growth and retirements will account for 173,000 environmental job openings by 2025.
It is anticipated that population aging and declining participation will exacerbate labour shortages over the long-term, with 600,000 workers that may retire over the next three years.
By 2028, it is projected that 75% of the labour force will already be working. Workers will need to upskill and reskill in order to meet the demands of an evolving labour market. 21.7% of workers are considered underqualified in their jobs, which is above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average.
First announced in Budget 2021, the Government of Canada is investing up to $276 million over two years as part of the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, which will help workers and employers by supporting solutions to address current and emerging workforce needs in key sectors, including:
- up to $55 million for projects that contribute to building talent for Canada’s clean economy
- up to $166 million to support needs of workers and employers hardest hit by the pandemic
- up to $55 million to address challenges faced by in-demand health care occupations
Successful projects will receive a minimum of $5M, up to a maximum of $50M, which the exception of health sector projects who are exempted from the maximum amount.
Eligible recipients will include not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, institutions, agencies and Crown Corporations, and Indigenous organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities).
The call for proposals closes on March 18, 2022.
To help address long-standing gaps in skills development, and encourage lifelong learning and upskilling among all Canadians, the Government is investing up to $237 million over two years to fund organizations through a call for proposals for the Skills for Success program.
To support more Canadians to join the skilled trades, the Government of Canada is investing nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal Program, in addition to existing funding programs.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Director of Communications
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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