Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

April 09, 2009 20:00 ET

Government of Canada Supports British Columbians Affected by Economic Downturn

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2009) - Today, the Governments of Canada and British Columbia signed an amended agreement that will see $156 million in new funding distributed through the current Labour Market and Labour Market Development Agreements. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, the Honourable Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development for British Columbia, and the Honourable Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development for British Columbia, signed the agreement on behalf of their governments.

"The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that our country has the best educated, most skilled, and most flexible work force in the world," said Minister Finley. "To achieve this, we must ensure that all Canadians have access to the right training and skills development so they can get good jobs and have better opportunities for themselves, their families and their futures."

The Government of Canada will invest an additional $105 million in the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The Province will use the funds to provide employment and training programs to meet the needs of the province's residents and industries.

The balance, $51 million, comes from the Strategic Training and Transition Fund that was introduced in Canada's Economic Action Plan in January. Administered through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement, the investment will support provincial initiatives that help workers in communities and sectors affected by the economic downturn. With a focus on low-skilled workers, programs under the Fund help workers retain their jobs or transition to new ones. Programs under this fund are available to all Canadians, whether or not they qualify for Employment Insurance.

"We are expanding our employment training services to help Aboriginal people, women in non-traditional occupations, immigrants and people with disabilities upgrade their skills," said Minister Coleman. "New federal support enables us to better respond to key labour market challenges facing the province."

"This new funding will enable BC to expand services and extend opportunities for skills training into more communities, helping more British Columbians," said Minister Coell. "This is an important opportunity for us to build on the capabilities of our work force, improving our productivity and ability to succeed in the global economy."

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada is enhancing support to Canadians during the global recession and investing in Canada'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 and skills and training.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


To support Canadians during the global recession and invest in the country's long-term growth, the Government is temporarily investing $8.3 billion in the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy. Measures include:

- An additional investment of $1 billion over two years under existing Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDA) with provinces and territories that will help respond to the higher demand for labour market programs and training due to increased unemployment. This additional investment would respond to the demand for skills training, as well as the changing needs of Employment Insurance (EI) clients.

- Investing $500 million in a two-year Strategic Training and Transition Fund to support the needs of individuals, whether or not they qualify for EI. This fund will support provincial and territorial initiatives that help meet the different training needs of workers in affected communities and sectors in retaining employment or transitioning to new jobs. The Fund will be administered through existing Labour Market Agreements (LMA) but will provide provinces and territories with enhanced flexibility to implement measures tailored to meet their specific needs.

The $156 million in new support is in addition to existing federal funding. The Governments of Canada and British Columbia currently have two labour market agreements worth more than $340 million per year to help British Columbians improve their skills and get better jobs. Under these agreements, British Columbia designs and delivers employment and labour market services to address its local needs.

Labour Market Development Agreement

The Government of Canada provides provinces and territories with $1.95 billion annually to serve EI clients. In British Columbia, funding under the LMDA is used to support labour market programs and services for residents who are collecting EI benefits or have received them in the last three years, or for parents re-entering the labour force who have collected EI parental benefits in the last five years. It is also used to support employers in addressing human resources challenges.

Under the LMDA, the Ministry of Housing and Social Development will be able to better integrate the diverse network of employment services in British Columbia, and find more flexible and responsive ways to help citizens be successful in the labour market and turn challenges into employment opportunities.

The $280.735 million LMDA budget in 2009/10 will be used to provide Employment Assistance Services (EAS), Job-Creation Partnerships (JCP), Labour Market Partnerships (LMP), Self Employment (SE), Skills Development (SD) and Targeted Wage Subsidies (TWS) programs.

Labour Market Agreements

Through LMAs, the federal government is investing $500 million per year to support provincial and territorial initiatives aimed at helping unemployed Canadians who are not eligible for EI, and at employed persons who do not have a high school diploma or a recognized certification or who have low levels of literacy and essential skills.

Under the LMAs, British Columbia has been developing new programs designed to serve the needs of its residents, by improving the skills and capabilities of its work force. Some of these programs include:

- a $6 million project to enable apprentices to complete academic training online;

- a $2 million partnership with the Steelworkers Union so forestry workers can upgrade their skills and gain new employment opportunities;

- a $1 million Return To Work Employability Program for rural communities; and

- a $500,000 program to provide entrepreneurial skills training for First Nations.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education
    and Labour Market Development
    Corinna Filion, Communications Director
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    British Columbia Ministry of Housing
    and Social Development
    Paul Woolley, Communications Director