Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

April 22, 2009 16:00 ET

Government of Canada Partners With Industry to Help Workers Adapt to Changing Market

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 22, 2009) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced Government of Canada support for industry-led sector councils that will help improve workers' skills and knowledge and address other human resources issues, such as occupational standards and recruitment.

"Our government understands that being competitive and productive means ensuring that Canadians have the skills and training to adapt to a changing global market. That is why Canada's Economic Action Plan is investing an uprecedented $8.3 billion in the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy," said Minister Finley. "I am pleased today to announce $20 million for sector councils to help address Canada's workplace skills challenges. By responding to and addressing changing human resources needs, sector councils help keep Canadians on the cutting edge of the global economy."

The funding is being provided through the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program, under which the Government works with the private sector to enhance workers' abilities through skills development and the promotion of workplace learning and training. Sector councils are national partnership organizations that bring together business, labour and educational stakeholders.

The Government of Canada works with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders to make sure that Canadians get the training, skills and opportunities they need to participate in the workforce and contribute to the quality of life in their communities.

Minister Finley made the announcement at Contact Centre Canada. The contact centre sector spans virtually every industry in Canada, such as manufacturing, consumer goods, travel, banking, telecommunications and government services.

"With the economic downturn, Contact Centre Canada continues to focus on skills development programs that will benefit the contact centre sector across Canada," said Ms. Donna Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Contact Centre Canada. "Given the expansive scope of this sector, many markets are continuing with hiring plans. These contact centres will acquire a highly skilled, educated employee base displaced in other sectors that are adversely affected by the downturn. Our national occupational standards have been an asset towards ensuring that skills are transferable from one sector to another, which will ultimately contribute to sustainable employment in the contact centre sector in Canada."

Sector councils are a part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. The Government underscored this commitment in January when it introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

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Developing Canada's human capital is increasingly vital to competing in today's competitive global economy. The Government of Canada recognizes the need to maintain Canada's knowledge advantage, and to ensure that Canada has the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Through the Sector Council Program, the Government of Canada works with the private sector to enhance adult workers' knowledge and skills, and to address industry-wide human resources issues.

Sector councils

Sector councils embody the principles of partnership. Operating at arm's length from the Government, they bring together business, labour and educational stakeholders to share ideas, concerns and perspectives about current and anticipated human resources and skills issues. They look at their industry's labour market issues and find solutions that are right for them.

The Sector Council Program

The Program is guided by four principal objectives:

- increase industry's investment in skills development to promote a quality workforce;

- improve learning systems so they better meet the needs of industry;

- reduce barriers to labour mobility, creating a more efficient labour market; and

- enhance the ability of industry to recruit and retain workers and to address human resources issues.

Some of the sector councils' activities include labour market forecasting and analysis; workplace learning; the development of national occupational standards and essential skills; the development of curricula tailored to industry needs; and the integration of foreign workers into the Canadian labour market.

More information on the Sector Council Program is available on the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Web site at the following:

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

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