Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

May 25, 2009 10:16 ET

Harper Government Helps Unemployed Canadians Develop New Skills

Improvements to Employment Insurance expected to benefit 40,000 Canadians

OSHAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 25, 2009) - Long-tenured workers who have lost their jobs due the global recession will receive additional supports through the Harper Government's Economic Action Plan. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley today announced how the Harper Government is strengthening Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) program to help workers who are in transition.

"Under Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government is taking quick action to inject immediate stimulus, promote long-term growth and help unemployed Canadians gain the skills required for tomorrow's jobs," said Minister Finley. "Through Career Transition Assistance, the Government of Canada will provide an estimated $500 million to help laid-off long-tenured workers with many years of experience upgrade their skills."

A long-tenured worker is someone who has been in one type of job for a long time and requires new skills to transition to a new field. Career Transition Assistance consists of two initiatives to provide additional support to long-tenured workers. One initiative will extend the duration of EI benefits for eligible workers who participate in longer-term training, up to two years. Approximately 40,000 individuals are expected to benefit from this measure. The other initiative will help between 5,000 and 10,000 people by allowing earlier access to EI regular income benefits for eligible workers investing in their own training using all or part of their severance package.

As part of the EI program, the federal government provides other employment programming and services to Canadians through Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces and territories under Part II of the EI Act. Career Transition Assistance will be implemented in partnership with provinces and territories, who will have responsibility for the assessment and referral of clients to training.

"Measures in our Economic Action Plan demonstrate the Government's commitment to improving the EI program to help Canadians adjust to the changing economy," added Minister Finley. "By working with the provinces and territories, through this and other programs, we are providing Canadians with easier access to training tailored to the needs of our country's different regions."

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government is enhancing support to Canadians during the global recession, and is investing in the country's long-term growth. The Government is investing an unprecedented $8.3 billion in the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy to support workers and their families, including measures for income support, skills and training.

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit


As announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government is providing an estimated $500 million to support long-tenured workers in improving their skills upgrading and training opportunities. This initiative, Career Transition Assistance, will be implemented in early June, and will be available to Employment Insurance (EI) benefit periods established between January 25, 2009, and May 29, 2010.

Career Transition Assistance targets unemployed individuals who have previously been employed for a significant length of time and have made only limited use of EI. It includes two components:

- The Extended Employment Insurance and Training Incentive will provide up to 104 weeks of EI Part I regular benefits, including the two-week waiting period, to eligible claimants undertaking longer-term training. This initiative will also provide participants with up to 12 weeks of benefits following their completion of job search training.

- The Severance Investment for Training Initiative will allow earlier access to EI Part I regular benefits for eligible claimants who invest in their own training using all or part of their severance package. Participants in this initiative who meet the eligibility requirements of the first component will be able to participate in both initiatives.

Potentially eligible individuals who have applied for regular EI benefits will be notified by Service Canada if they meet the criteria of long-tenured workers.

For more information, please visit the following Web site:

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    National Media Relations Office