Canada – Québec Labour Market Development Agreement in Principle
Note: By agreement of the Parties, the agreement was signed in French only. The English version is provided for convenience only. In the event of a conflict with the French version, the French version prevails.
the Government of Canada, hereinafter referred to as "Canada," represented by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Human Resources Development and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission
the Government of Québec, hereinafter referred to as "Québec," represented by the Premier ministre du Québec, the Ministre d'État de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité and the Ministre délégué aux Affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes
Canada and Québec agree as follows:
1. Purpose, Scope and Objectives of Agreement
1.1 Purpose and scope of agreement
Canada and Québec agree that the purpose of this Agreement is to establish, in accordance with the roles and responsibilities hereinafter agreed upon, the principles, negotiating framework and time frame for concluding an agreement with respect to the implementation of Québec's active employment measures funded by the Employment Insurance Account.
1.2 Objectives of agreement
Québec and Canada shall work towards the following objectives with respect to the labour market:
- Offering the population of Québec high-quality labour market services.
- Offering integrated employment measures and services to all Québecers who are employed or seeking employment.
- Improving the operation of the labour market.
- Eliminating overlap and duplication.
- Involving labour market and employment partners in the management of active employment measures.
- Adopting a regionalized operational approach in administering active employment measures intended for employment insurance users, based on local decision-making and achievement of results.
- Giving priority to integrating unemployed persons into the labour market.
- Encouraging individuals to become financially autonomous, particularly through holding employment, in order to reduce their dependence on government assistance.
- Mobilizing individuals and labour market and employment partners to take an active part in labour market re-entry and assist unemployed individuals with job re-entry.
2. Roles and Responsibilities of the Government
2.1 Québec shall be responsible for:
- 2.1.1 determining the labour market priorities for Québec, taking into account, for the funds from the Employment Insurance Account, the objectives agreed upon and the needs identified at the local and regional levels;
- 2.1.2 designing, implementing and evaluating active employment measures, funded by the Employment Insurance Account, which are in conformity with the objectives agreed upon by the parties;
- 2.1.3 providing a labour exchange service and, to this end, establishing appropriate links with Canada;
- 2.1.4 determining the service needs of employment insurance users;
- 2.1.5 providing referral to appropriate services and providing employment counselling;
- 2.1.6 helping people establish plans for acquisition of the occupational skills they need and guiding them in a successful job search;
- 2.1.7 producing the Québec labour market information needed to assume the responsibilities conferred on it in this Agreement, as well as disseminating in Québec labour market information relating to the implementation of this Agreement; and
- 2.1.8 participating in the improvement of the pan-Canadian labour market information system and maintaining a link with it, in accordance with the principle of free movement of persons, as established in the Agreement on Internal Trade.
2.2 Canada shall be responsible for:
- 2.2.1 the Employment Insurance Account;
- 2.2.2 delivering unemployment benefits, including those paid to active employment insurance claimants who are participating in active employment measures;
- 2.2.3 producing and disseminating the labour market information it needs to exercise its responsibilities recognized under this Agreement and those associated with management of the Employment Insurance Account and with encouraging interprovincial mobility;
- 2.2.4 administering pan-Canadian activities funded by the Employment Insurance Account, including interprovincial sectoral interventions, and taking action in economic crisis situations.
2.3 Canada and Québec shall be responsible for working in co-operation to improve research and innovation with respect to the labour market in Québec.
2.4 Canada and Québec agree to deal with sectoral activities within the framework of the implementation agreement.
3. Provisions with Respect to Active Employment Measures and the Functions of the National Employment Service (NES) Covered by the Agreement
3.1 Active employment measures funded by the Employment Insurance Account
3.1.1 Active employment measures are aimed at facilitating access to the labour market and to employment, as well as at improving occupational skills and the operation of the labour market. They exercise their effects by modifying the behaviour of economic agents, to reduce the impact or duration of unemployment in the short and long terms, to protect existing jobs or to create jobs.
3.1.2 Active employment measures are those funded by employment insurance and which are included in the following categories of intervention: i) job preparation, ii) entry into employment, iii) job retention, iv) direct job creation and v) employment stabilization.
3.1.3 The active employment measures include financial assistance, counselling and support.
Those which are the subject of this Agreement are:
A) employment benefits to enable employment insurance participants to obtain employment, namely those benefits to:
- encourage employers to hire them;
- encourage them to accept employment by offering incentives such as temporary earnings supplements;
- help them start businesses or become self-employed;
- provide them with employment opportunities through which they can gain work experience to improve their long-term employment prospects; and
- help them obtain skills for employment, ranging from basic to advanced skills.
B) support measures in support of the national employment service to support
- organizations that provide employment assistance services to unemployed persons;
- employers, employee or employer associations, community groups and communities in developing and implementing strategies for dealing with labour force adjustments and meeting human resources requirements;
- research and innovative projects, within the parameters of paragraph 2.3, to identify better ways of helping persons prepare for, return to or keep employment and be productive participants in the labour force.
3.1.4 In the case of direct job creation, grants aimed mainly at covering the capital costs of businesses and general grants to promote employment shall not be taken into account.
3.1.5 Government expenditures on active employment measures shall not include expenditures for unemployment benefits or last-resort assistance paid to income security recipients while they are participating in these active measures.
3.2 Functions of the national employment service for which Québec shall be responsible
3.2.1 These functions include:
- labour exchange;
- labour market information, as described in paragraph 2.1.7.
3.2.2 In addition, Québec shall transmit to the pan-Canadian labour market information system the information it has gathered at the local and Québec levels, particularly further to the responsibilities defined in this Agreement.
3.2.3 National employment service users are the individuals and organizations provided with assistance by the service - that is, workers, employers, employee associations and private or public organizations that provide workers with employment assistance services.
3.3 Other active employment measures funded by the Employment Insurance Account
In the case of new active employment measures funded by employment insurance, other than those which are the subject of this Agreement, the parties agree that they will be subject to the provisions of this Agreement, in conformity with the objectives, roles and responsibilities defined herein.
3.4 Employment insurance participant
In this clause, as throughout this Agreement, the term "employment insurance participant" means an insured person under employment insurance who requests assistance under an employment benefit and when requesting the assistance, is an unemployed person:
- for whom an employment insurance benefit period has been established or has ended within the previous thirty-six months; or
- for whom an employment insurance benefit period has been established in the previous sixty months and who:
- was paid parental or maternity benefits, under the Employment Insurance Act, during the benefit period,
- subsequently withdrew from active participation in the labour force to care for one or more of their newborn children or one or more children placed with them for the purpose of adoption, and
- is seeking to re-enter the labour market.
3.5 Employment insurance user
In this clause, as throughout this Agreement, the term "employment insurance user" means any person likely to have recourse to the active employment measures and the functions of the national employment service.
4. Principles Governing Services to Users and Service Delivery Structure
4.1 Services to users
4.1.1 The parties agree on the following principles with respect to services to users:
- convenient access to programs and services;
- courteous, considerate and timely service;
- flexible and innovative approaches to the labour market and the community's needs;
- optimization of individuals' potential and respect for human dignity; and
- special attention to groups with specific needs.
4.1.2 Québec shall deliver the active employment measures and the national employment service functions for which it is responsible to all employment insurance users, regardless of the length of time for which that person has been a resident of Québec.
4.1.3 Québec agrees that priority access to active employment measures will be given to active employment insurance claimants. Priority access to screening and employment counselling shall also be given to active employment insurance claimants.
4.1.4 With respect to arrangements relating to the language of service in which Québec will deliver the active measures and the national employment service functions for which Québec shall become responsible under this Agreement, the agreement of the parties in that regard was established through their exchange of letters on March 25 and 28 and April 8, 1997, copies of which are attached as an Appendix, with which both parties state that they are satisfied, and which form an integral part of this Agreement.
4.1.5 In this clause, as throughout this Agreement, the term "active employment insurance claimant" means the employment insurance claimant for whom a benefit period is established.
4.2 Service delivery structure
With a view to maintaining or improving the quality of services to users, the parties agree to specify in the implementation agreement:
- the service delivery structure;
- the nature of the services provided;
- the timetable for relocation and organization of points of service and transferred employees;
- the necessary arrangements for purposes of service delivery;
- the appropriate links between the respective information systems.
5.1 The following accountability framework developed jointly by Québec and Canada constitutes an essential element of any agreement between them regarding active employment measures.
5.2 The accountability framework, making it possible to achieve the labour market objectives being pursued, will focus on:
- participation of the employment insurance users who are the subject of the interventions;
- obtaining employment and changes in the behaviour of the employment insurance user;
- the impact of the interventions on the Employment Insurance Account.
5.3 The accountability framework also includes provisions with respect to establishment of results targets, financial audit, evaluation, detecting and controlling abuse, as well as exchange of information and data.
5.4 Measurement of results
5.4.1 Annual plan
In view of the labour market objectives pursued in this Agreement;
and whereas the funds provided as financial contributions in connection with this Agreement are intended to support the achievement of those objectives;
and whereas an accountability framework is needed, among other things in order to measure the results obtained in use of the funds provided as financial contributions from the Employment Insurance Account, and in view of the fact that both parties are accountable to their respective legislatures;
Québec shall, in an annual plan, provide Canada with a description of the employment benefits and support measures it intends to provide in Québec.
This annual plan shall be provided to Canada as soon as possible before the start of the fiscal year and shall describe:
- the problems selected for Québec as a whole in connection with the labour market for which actions are planned over the coming year;
- the range of employment benefits and support measures with which the eligible clientele will be provided;
- the projected costs in connection with use of funds from the Employment Insurance Account for each of the categories of intervention.
5.4.2 Canada agrees that Québec may establish new active employment measures covered by this Agreement and modify those which already exist. In order that these new or modified measures may be funded from Canada's contribution, the parties must agree that these new or modified measures are in conformity with the provisions of section 3.1 in this Agreement.
5.4.3 Basic indicators
In addition, both parties agree:
- to use the following basic indicators to measure results:
- the number of employment insurance participants who are benefiting from the active employment measures covered by this Agreement, with the emphasis placed on priority access for active employment insurance claimants;
- the obtaining of employment and observable behavioural changes in employment insurance users with respect to the labour market and development of their skills;
- the savings generated in the Employment Insurance Account;
- that the mechanisms relating to establishment, follow-up and review of the results targets targets which will, for Québec as a whole, be the subject of ongoing discussion between Québec and Canada and relating to their progressive implementation by Québec, shall be defined in the implementation agreement. The review of results targets shall take into account, among other things, changes in the economic and labour market contexts.
5.5.1 Canada and Québec recognize the need to evaluate the results of the active employment measures covered by this Agreement, as well as the national employment service functions for which Québec shall become responsible.
5.5.2 Canada and Québec agree on the following elements with regard to the evaluation framework:
- - that the evaluations will be in conformity with recognized practices in this area;
- - that the evaluations will be aimed at determining the effectiveness, conformity and efficiency of the interventions.
5.5.3 Canada and Québec agree to determine in an implementation agreement the arrangements relating to the conducting of evaluations in the spirit of the Agreement on Strategic Initiatives.
5.6 Financial audit and control
5.6.1 Each year, Québec shall submit to Canada a report on use of the fund created for the purposes of managing the sums from the Employment Insurance Account, detailing the costs of each of the programs with respect to active employment measures and the associated administrative costs. This report shall be audited by the Vérificateur général du Québec.
The parties shall agree, within the framework of the implementation agreement, on the matters that may be audited and on the time frames for submitting the audited report to Canada.
5.6.2 Canada and Québec agree to co-operate on development of means for detecting and controlling abuse with respect to the active employment measures covered by this Agreement, and to determine in the implementation agreement by whom and how these means are to be applied.
5.7 Exchange of information and data
5.7.1 Canada and Québec agree to regularly exchange information and data on their activities in the labour market field, with respect to short, medium and long-term results.
5.7.2 Québec agrees, in the context of its responsibilities, to provide Canada with the information and data it needs to assume its responsibility for detecting and controlling abuses in use of Employment Insurance Account funds.
5.7.3 Canada agrees to provide Québec with the information and data it needs on active claimants and employment insurance participants, as well as on pan-Canadian activities, to assume its responsibilities under this Agreement.
5.7.4 Canada and Québec agree that the nature of the information and data exchanged and the arrangements relating to these exchanges will be defined in the implementation agreement.
5.7.5 In their exchanges of information and data, Canada and Québec agree to comply with the legislative provisions respecting privacy and access to information.
5.7.6 Canada and Québec agree that each may use, publish, distribute and allow use of the information, data, analysis tools and other products generated by the work in relation to measurement of results, evaluation, financial audit and control.
6. Human Resources
6.1 Canada and Québec agree to pursue the same values that characterize their management of human resources: fairness, respect and transparency. Human resources decisions shall be the subject of open, clear and timely communications with employees and unions.
Both parties acknowledge the particular expertise and significant contribution of federal employees in the delivery of active employment measures covered by this Agreement.
6.2 The provisions regarding human resources in this Agreement shall apply to employees affected by the 1084 FTEs of Canada covered by this Agreement or the positions left vacant by these employees. The implementation agreement shall specify the number of employees of Canada to be transferred to Québec corresponding to the 1084 FTEs.
6.3 Under the terms of its reasonable job offer pursuant to Part VII of the federal Work Force Adjustment Directive, Québec shall offer indeterminate employees of Canada permanent/regular status within the new receiving organization; this status will be effective at the time of the transfer. Each transferred employee will be granted an employment guarantee for a period of three years.
6.4 With regard to hours, classification and compensation, transferred federal employees shall be paid on a basis of 35 hours a week, at the same or next higher pay scale step, in a Québec job class corresponding to the usual and primary duties they performed in the Public Service of Canada. The difference between federal earnings and Québec earnings shall be paid as a lump sum. Regardless of the type of payment selected by Québec, an employee's annual earnings received at the time of his/her departure from the Public Service of Canada, based on his/her substantive position, will be maintained and will take into account, where appropriate, pay equity awards.
6.5 Seniority acquired by an employee of Canada shall be transferred for the purposes of collective agreement provisions, except as regards staff movements and identification of surplus personnel in Québec. These items will be discussed with a view to reaching an agreement between the parties, when the employee transfer proposal (ETP) is prepared.
6.6 Employees of Canada shall be offered a position in a location less than 40 km from their current place of work, and work location stability shall be guaranteed for a minimum period of one year; the relevant provisions in the collective agreements shall apply thereafter, if necessary.
6.7 Federal employees transferred to the Government of Québec under this Agreement shall be subject to the RREGOP or RRPE as of the date of their transfer. They may make the following election as regards years of service accrued in the federal government under the PSSA superannuation plan:
- a)Transfer of their accrued service in the employ of the federal government to the RREGOP or RRPE. Such an election shall be made under the current transfer agreement signed on December 12, 1984, between the Commission administrative des régimes de retraite et d'assurance of Québec and the Government of Canada.
- b) Non-transfer of service accrued with the Government of Canada. Where an employee elects not to transfer service accrued in the employ of the federal government, credited service under the PSSA shall count for the purposes of eligibility for a retirement pension or other benefit payable under the RREGOP or RRPE; conversely, RREGOP or RRPE credited service shall be taken into account for the purposes of eligibility for pension or benefit payable under the PSSA plan.
6.8 Provisions of the offer of employment from Québec shall be defined under the ETP. This proposal shall be submitted by Québec for approval prior to the signing of the implementation agreement of which it will be a part.
6.9 Employees of Canada shall have sixty days to accept or reject the written offer made by Québec.
6.10 Canada and Québec shall jointly determine the mode for selection of affected personnel, where required.
6.11 Credits for sick leave and annual leave shall be transferred in their entirety. Accumulated sick leave credits shall serve solely for the purposes of salary insurance, for priority use at the time of absences due to illness, and shall under no circumstances be convertible into cash by Québec.
6.12 For the period extending from the date of signing of this Agreement to the date on which the federal employees start work for the new employer, except in cases of emergency or absolute necessity, Canada shall not conduct any re-evaluation of positions or permanently staff any positions entirely devoted to employment and covered by this Agreement that should become vacant. Where necessary, staffing of these positions shall be effected on an acting basis.
6.13 Further conditions of work shall be as defined in the applicable collective agreements.
6.14 The various collective plans provided for in the conditions of work, such as parental rights, life, health and salary insurance plans, and occupational accident and disease plans, shall apply to transferred employees of Canada.
Funding for active employment measures
7.1 For each of the fiscal years from 1997-1998 to 2001-2002 inclusive, Canada agrees to make available to Québec a contribution for costs of the active employment measures covered by this Agreement incurred for these years, for which the ceiling will be established in accordance with the allocation model described in the letter dated June 26, 1996, from the Deputy Minister of the Department of Human Resources Development to the Secrétaire général associé aux Affaires intergouvernmentales canadiennes of Québec.
7.2 Subject to clause 7.2.1, the amount of Canada's contribution for costs of Québec's active employment measures incurred in each of the 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 fiscal years, shall be $457.298 million, $527.012 million and $559.366 million respectively. For fiscal years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, Canada agrees to make available to Québec an amount which is at least equal to $559.366 million:
7.2.1 In view of the nature of the allocation model, the actual contribution amounts made available to Québec for each of the above-mentioned fiscal years shall be confirmed in the month of January preceding the affected fiscal year and will vary only in accordance with the model.
7.2.2 Beginning in the third year of this Agreement, Canada agrees to notify Québec of projected contribution levels for each of the subsequent three fiscal years. In this way Québec shall at all times have a three-year financial planning framework.
7.3 For years subsequent to the first five years of this Agreement Canada shall annually review with Québec the amount of the contribution it will make available and shall at the same time provide the three-year projections referred to in the preceding paragraph.
7.4 Canada agrees to review, within twenty-four months after the signing of this Agreement, the overall level of funding to be made available for active employment measures, basing its review in part on the results obtained under the labour market agreements.
This review shall be conducted within the context of evaluations of the impacts of implementation of these agreements. These evaluations will be used for preparation of the annual report of the Minister of Human Resources Development to the Parliament of Canada.
7.5 Canada agrees to establish an intergovernmental process aimed at reviewing the current formula for allocation of employment insurance funds intended for the active employment measures defined in this Agreement and at proposing options which put emphasis on matters such as achievement of results and generated Employment Insurance Account savings.
7.6 For years subsequent to the first three years of this Agreement, Canada shall review, in the context of an intergovernmental process and in the light of economic circumstances, issues relating to overall level of funding and sharing of the benefits of savings resulting from active employment measures, taking into account the general results of the Employment Insurance reform, including results associated with the effectiveness of active employment measures.
7.7 As regards the active employment measures that constitute employment benefits within the meaning of this Agreement, Québec agrees to use the funds from the Employment Insurance Account solely for employment insurance participants, as defined in clause 3.4 of this Agreement. This restriction does not apply to support measures targeting national employment service users.
Funding for administration costs associated with active employment measures
7.8 In addition to the adjustments provided for in clauses 7.11, 7.14, 7.15 and 7.16, Canada agrees to allocate a maximum contribution of $53.555 million for each year of the agreement, as administration costs incurred by Québec in providing active employment measures in each of these years.
7.9 It is agreed that the final amount of the maximum contribution for administration costs will depend on the number of employees and vacant positions eventually transferred to Québec under Part 6 of this Agreement and the type of offer made to the employees affected by the transfer.
7.10 Canada acknowledges that, in connection with the management of personnel affected by this Agreement, a certain number of positions will have become vacant at the time of the actual transfer of the federal human resources. Amounts related to these vacant positions shall be paid to Québec on the day the transfer of employees commences or, in the case of certain vacant positions, on the day Canada is released from such financial obligations as may be associated with the management of some of these positions.
7.11 Canada shall pay Québec a contribution corresponding to rent costs associated with the empty spaces resulting from the transfer to Québec of federal human resources. These sums shall be paid only on the expiry of current leases.
7.12 It is agreed that the equipment and furniture of federal employees, including their computer equipment, will be transferred to Québec. A list of such assets and related transfer terms and conditions shall be established in the implementation agreement.
7.13 Canada also agrees to assume connectivity costs to existing federal systems for the federal employees transferred to Québec and for 542 Québec employees involved in the delivery of employment services and measures.
7.14 The parties agree that employees transferred under this Agreement will be given access, at Canada's expense, to a dental care plan for a period of three years. The terms and conditions of this arrangement, including its maximum cost, shall be established in the implementation agreement.
7.15 Canada agrees to compensate Québec up to $1,000 for each transferred federal employee to cover the costs of their relocation. Canada shall pay these costs at the time of an employee's actual relocation.
7.16 If, during the the first three years of the agreement, the Treasury Board of Canada makes available to the Department of Human Resources Development additional sums for former federal employees transferred to Québec under this Agreement, Canada agrees to increase, for those years, the contribution payable to Québec for administration costs by an amount equal to those sums.
8. Public Information
8.1 Québec and Canada agree on the importance of ensuring that the public be notified of their respective roles, and particularly the financial contribution of Canada and the responsibility of Québec with regard to active employment measures, under this Agreement. The implementation agreement shall contain provisions furthering this commitment, specifically as regards the following:
- material for Employment Insurance users, including pamphlets and brochures;
- information for the public and, in particular, for active Employment Insurance claimants in the offices providing the programs, measures and services funded under the agreement;
- reports of departments or agencies of both governments that are affected by this Agreement;
- for Employment Insurance users making use of an active employment measure, a written notice advising them, at the time of their admission, of the source of funding.
8.2 Québec and Canada agree to define in the implementation agreement innovative means that will meet the needs of both parties with respect to public information.
8.3 Canada and Québec agree to prepare public information material and organize and take part in all public announcements related hereto.
8.4 Each party may develop public information initiatives relating to the activities and results covered by this Agreement. Québec and Canada agree to keep one another informed of such initiatives within a reasonable time frame.
9. Term of the Agreement
9.1 This Agreement shall be for an indefinite period, subject to the following provisions:
- neither party can unilaterally terminate the agreement in the first three fiscal years to which it applies;
- during this initial period, the parties agree to complete together a review of the results obtained, the accountability framework and mechanisms, and the provisions relating to funding of Québec's active employment measures and to material and financial resources, in order to determine whether they wish to continue with the agreement;
- for the other components of the agreement, the parties agree to proceed as necessary with reviews for the purpose of making amendments to the agreement.
9.2 On completion of the review referred to in clause 9.1, either party may terminate the agreement on at least two year's formal notice to the other party of its intention to do so. The parties agree that, should they opt to terminate the agreement, they will ensure that services to clients are disrupted or interrupted as little as possible as a result of this termination.
Should Canada unilaterally terminate the agreement after three years, it shall pay a negotiated, reasonable compensation to Québec. Such compensation shall not exceed the costs directly attributable to the positions initially transferred.
10. General Provisions
10.1 Once this Agreement has been signed, the parties agree to conclude, no later than September 30, 1997, an implementation agreement which could, in whole or in part, come into force on January 1, 1998.
10.2 The parties agree on the need to establish a joint mechanism, with parity of representation, to facilitate the implementation of the transitional and permanent provisions of the agreement in principle and further agree to determine in the implementation agreement the particulars of this mechanism.
10.3 The parties further agree to incorporate into an implementation agreement provisions relating to matters including the following:
- research and innovation;
- sectoral activities;
- their co-operation with respect to labour market information and means of carrying out national employment service functions;
- the various components associated with the delivery structure and user services;
- results targets;
- financial audit and control;
- the exchange of information and data;
- the number of transferred employees;
- inventories of equipment and furniture;
- the dental care plan;
- public information;
- the management mechanism;
- the mode and frequency of contribution payments.
10.4 The parties agree to establish each year, following submission of the annual plan mentioned in clause 5.4, in an appendix to the implementation agreement:
- (i) the level of funding from Canada for the coming year;
- (ii) the results targets for that year in accordance with clause 5.4.3.
10.5 Both parties reaffirm the need to co-operate to ensure quality services for those who use them throughout the transition period, i.e., the period between the time following the signing of the implementation agreement when Canada is to start withdrawing from the labour market sectors governed by this Agreement and the time when Québec will have fully taken charge of active employment measures and the national employment service functions for which it becomes responsible.
Further General Provisions
10.6 This Agreement may be amended or terminated with the mutual consent of the parties, provided in writing, and any such amendment or termination shall come into force on the date agreed to by the parties.
10.7 No Member of Parliament shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement or to any benefit arising therefrom.
10.8 Should an agreement signed between Canada and a province or territory include provisions which would enhance this Agreement if applied to it, Canada agrees to amend this Agreement, if asked to do so by Québec, in order that Québec may benefit from such provisions.
This Agreement has been signed on behalf of Canada by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Human Resources Development and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission this 21st day of April 1997.
Prime Minister of Canada
Minister of Human Resources
Chairperson, Canada Employment
This Agreement has been signed on behalf of Québec by the Premier ministre du Québec, the Ministre d'État de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité and the Ministre délégué aux Affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes this 21st day of April 1997.
Premier ministre du Québec
Ministre d'État de l'Emploi et de la
Ministre délégué aux Affaires
Appendix 1 (translation)
Letter of March 25, 1997
from Minister L. Harel
to Minister P. S. Pettigrew on Language of Service
Québec City, March 25, 1997
Mr. Pierre Pettigrew
Minister of Human Resources Development
Government of Canada
146 Place du Portage
Dear Mr. Pettigrew:
I have taken note of recent statements which you and the Prime Minister of Canada have made regarding the agreement currently being negotiated with respect to active measures and employment services. In this context, I would like to confirm Québec's position, as expressed at the negotiating table, on the issue of language, in particular with regard to three facets: service to clients, and the applicability of the Official Languages Act and of the Employment Insurance Act.
First, let me inform you of the services which are available to English-speaking clients in Québec in the areas of employment, income security and related active measures. With regard to individuals, service is provided in English, both verbally and in writing, as soon as they so request. Computer information is available in English, on a different screen from the French version. Brochures, leaflets and the like are available in English, on separate displays. Voice mail messages provide for a number that can be dialled to continue the menu in English.
With regard to the language used in providing active employment measures (courses, training sessions, etc.) and employment services which may eventually be covered by an agreement between our two governments, the Government of Québec will make such services available to English-speaking clients according to the same parameters as currently apply to employment, income security and related active measures.
Likewise, subject to the signature of an agreement, the Government of Québec will use appropriate means to inform English-speaking clients of the arrangements regarding language of service, for example, through newspaper advertisements, pamphlets and press releases.
I would also like to state that, in the context of an agreement between our two governments, when Québec, in making available those functions of the National Employment Service for which it will become responsible, is unable, due to the provisions of the Charter of the French Language, to provide service in both official languages in accordance with the Official Languages Act with respect to written communications with corporations established in Québec, Canada and Québec shall agree that, in order to ensure compliance with the Official Languages Act, Canada will exercise those functions instead. As you know, this approach is similar to that adopted in the agreement on the administration within Québec of the GST by the Government of Québec.
In order to continue to move forward in the negotiations and reach a settlement that is consistent with the discussions at the table and that is also clear for all concerned, I would appreciate your confirming the representations of your negotiators with respect to the following federal government interpretations:
- the Official Languages Act does not apply to Québec's active employment measures funded by a contribution from the Employment Insurance Account, since this does not involve a delegation of program management;
- paragraph 57(1)(d.1) of the Employment Insurance Act applies only to individuals and not to corporations.
In our view, any description of the manner in which service will be delivered should respect the framework described above. In this regard, the facts clearly show the quality of the service that is currently provided by the Québec government throughout Québec, and which is satisfactory to English-speaking clients.
I believe that we have a shared responsibility to arrive at an agreement that will benefit Québec workers and employers by giving them the tools needed to bring about greatly needed improvements in Québec's labour market.
Appendix 2 (translation)
Letter of March 28, 1997
from Minister P. S. Pettigrew
to Minister L. Harel on Language of Service
March 28, 1997
Ms Louise Harel
Minister of State for Employment and Solidarity
425 St Amable Street, 4th floor
Québec City, Québec
Dear Ms Harel:
Thank you for your letter of March 25 regarding the Agreement in Principle currently being negotiated between the governments of Canada and Québec on labour market development.
I would first like to stress the importance that the federal government attaches to the conclusion of this agreement. Our offer is a generous one and shows great flexibility in meeting the specific needs and priorities of Québec and of its workers and employers. I hope we will be able to conclude this agreement in the near future, thereby making available to the Québec government over $500 million per year to provide integrated and effective services for Québec's unemployed.
Access to quality programs and services for all unemployed people under federal-provincial labour market agreements is of prime importance to the Government of Canada. Your letter spells out Québec's commitments relating to the delivery of programs and services in English under the agreement.
In this context, my letter seeks to clarify and confirm the arrangements agreed upon by our two governments on the issue of language of service. Our correspondence and the reference thereto in the Agreement in Principle will constitute our accord on this matter. Allow me to reiterate the key points in this regard:
With respect to the language of service and delivery for the active employment measures covered by the agreement, your government will make these services and measures available in English in accordance with the same parameters as currently apply to employment, income security and related active measures. Thus, individuals will be served in English, both verbally and in writing, as soon as they so request. Computer information will be made available in English, on a different screen from the French version. Pamphlets, brochures and the like will be available in English and readily accessible on separate displays. Voice mail messages will provide for a number that can be dialled to continue the menu in English.
This letter also confirms the understanding between our respective negotiators to the effect that individuals who so request shall have reasonable access to the active employment measures (courses, training sessions, etc.) in English.
Moreover, Québec will make available in both French and English those functions of the National Employment Service (NES) for which it assumes responsibility.
As required and at Québec's request, Canada agrees to ensure written communications in English with corporations established in Québec which want communications in that language in the context of the administration of the active employment measures covered by the agreement and the NES functions for which Québec will be responsible.
I note that, once the agreement is signed, Québec will use appropriate means to inform clients of the arrangements made regarding service in English through pamphlets, periodic newspaper advertising, press releases or other means.
If my understanding of the way in which you will make these services available, as outlined above, concurs with yours, these arrangements are satisfactory to me and meet our legislative requirements.
I share your sentiments concerning our joint responsibility for reaching an agreement which will be beneficial to our fellow Québeckers. Your letter, mine which clarifies and confirms the arrangements with respect to language, and the reference to these letters in a clause of the agreement constitute our accord on this issue, which will be confirmed by the signing of the agreement. The resolution of this issue will allow this aspect of the negotiations between our two governments to be concluded and will thus facilitate finalizing the agreement as soon as possible.
Pierre S. Pettigrew
Appendix 3 (translation)
Letter of April 8, 1997
from Minister L. Harel
to Minister P. S. Pettigrew on Language of Service
Québec City, April 8, 1997
Mr. Pierre Pettigrew
Minister of Human Resources Development
Government of Canada
146 Place du Portage
Dear Mr. Pettigrew:
Thank you for your letter of March 28, 1997, regarding the Agreement in Principle being negotiated by the governments of Québec and Canada with respect to active measures and employment services. I would like to clarify a few points.
First of all, I am pleased to confirm that I agree with your proposal that Canada provide, as required and at the request of Québec, written communications in English with corporations established in Québec that require that communications with them be in that language in connection with the administration of the National Employment Service functions for which Québec will be responsible, in conformity with what I stated in that regard in my letter of March 25, 1997.
Moreover, I should note that there is no need for me to avail myself of the similar offer you made to me with regard to administration of active employment measures, as the latter, which are aimed at enabling unemployed persons to enter the labour market more quickly, are intended for individuals.
I should also like to note that the description of services available to English-speaking clients in Québec with respect to employment, income security and related active measures as set out in my letter of March 25 satisfies Québec's legislative requirements.
If my understanding of the way in which Québec will be delivering the active measures and the National Employment Service functions for which it will be responsible, as described in our exchange of letters of March 25 and 28 and as described herein, corresponds with your understanding, then these arrangements are satisfactory to me.
Finally, I agree that my letter of today, yours of March 28 and mine of March 25, all of which clarify and confirm the arrangements and commitments made with respect to language, as well as the reference that will be made to those letters in a clause of the agreement, constitute our accord on this matter. This will be confirmed by the signing of our agreement.
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