Government of Canada

Government of Canada
Government of Quebec

Government of Quebec

March 14, 2008 14:45 ET

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec Support the Reintegration Into the Work Force of Older Workers Laid Off in the Outaouais Region

LA PECHE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 14, 2008) - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Pontiac, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and Ms. Stephanie Vallee, Member for Gatineau, representing Mr. Sam Hamad, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, were in La Peche today to announce two projects to facilitate the reintegration into the work force of some 27 older workers in the Outaouais region.

This announcement, which represents a joint investment of close to $420,000, builds on the Canada-Quebec Agreement on the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, signed in the Fall of 2006. The Initiative sets out a joint investment of almost $27 million over two years by the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec to help over 3,500 older workers affected by plant closures and downsizing, particularly in the forestry sector. '

"These workers are men and women who, for decades, have given the best of themselves to provide for their families, help their industry grow and support their region's economy. They are workers who, thanks to their experience, know-how and expertise, could continue to contribute to society and the economy with a little help. And we are going to provide that help," said Minister Cannon.

Minister Cannon also pointed out that the Government of Canada, in its 2008 budget, announced new measures to assist older workers, particularly a $90-million investment to extend the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers to March 2012.

"In recent months, a large number of workers with experience in the forestry sector have been laid off. It is vital to redirect this qualified work force into more promising sectors. That is the objective of the two projects announced today under the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers," said Ms. Vallee.

The training programs offered by the Service regional de formation professionnelle de l'Outaouais and the Centre de formation professionnelle de la Vallee-de-la-Gatineau are intended specifically to help two groups of workers 55 years of age or older who used to work in the Pontiac and the Vallee-de-la-Gatineau regional county municipalities' (RCMs) forestry sector. To do so, these two organizations will develop training projects and employability assistance activities adapted to workers' needs that will meet the RCMs' work force requirements.

Sponsors of these projects have worked jointly with Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi of La Vallee-de-la-Gatineau, the local employment centre in Maniwaki, the Commission scolaire des Hauts-Bois de l'Outaouais and the Club de recherche d'emploi du Pontiac to provide these older workers with the tools, knowledge, and behavioural skills and abilities to facilitate their reintegration into sustainable employment in an industry with significant work force needs.

"It is important to support the communities in these two regions by offering sustainable solutions like those announced today, and I am very pleased with recent data showing that the unemployment rate has dropped in the RCMs targeted by these projects," said Ms. Vallee. In fact, according to 2006 census data, which were recently made public, the unemployment rate in the Pontiac RCM is 11.3%, compared with 11.8% in 2001, and the rate for the Vallee-de-la-Gatineau RCM is 14.3%, compared with 15.9%. Both regions recorded a drop in their unemployment rates despite their extreme dependence on the forestry sector and wood product manufacturing.

The Canada-Quebec Agreement on the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers was signed in the Fall of 2006. Both of the projects announced today result from the Agreement, which represents $27 million in funding and will end on March 31, 2009. The federal government provides 70% of total funding for the Agreement, and the Quebec government contributes 30%.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Hamad
    Alexandre Boucher
    Press Secretary
    Office of Minister Cannon
    Karine White
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office