Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

February 20, 2008 12:00 ET

Governments of Canada and British Columbia Sign New Training and Skills Development Agreements

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 20, 2008) - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, and the Honourable Colin Hansen, British Columbia's Minister of Economic Development, today signed two new labour market agreements that will help British Columbians improve their skills and get better jobs.

Today's announcement represents a significant Government of Canada investment in the B.C. labour market while addressing the province's increasing need for skilled workers. These investments will help to remove barriers to labour market participation and provide access to training for individuals who are working and need to improve their skills, as well as for all unemployed British Columbians, including those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) training programs.

The first, a new Labour Market Agreement, will target those not eligible for employment programs and services under the Employment Insurance program and is worth approximately $396 million over six years. It will help Canadians too often excluded from the labour force, including Aboriginal people, immigrants, persons with disabilities, as well as those workers who lack literacy and essential skills, get the training they need to obtain meaningful and sustainable employment. This agreement takes effect April 1, 2008.

Through the second, a new Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA), B.C. assumes the responsibility for the design and delivery of Employment Insurance (EI) funded employment benefits and support measures, along with nearly $300 million per year going forward. This will provide the Province with the flexibility to focus job training programs and employment supports on the local and regional needs of both employers and clients. The province will assume this responsibility as of February 2, 2009.

"Our government promised to get this agreement signed, to ensure that British Columbians who want to work will be able to get the training they need to get a good job. Today I am proud to announce that we are delivering on our promise," said Minister Solberg. "Through this agreement, more British Columbians will be able to enjoy the benefits of the Province's prosperous economy, and employers will gain the skilled labour they need."

"The Province will gain significant economic benefits from these two programs, including improvements in labour productivity, an increase in the domestic product, and better wages for lower income British Columbians," said Minister Hansen. "These new agreements will support WorkBC - the provincial strategy for addressing B.C.'s short and longer-term needs for more skilled and unskilled workers - and will also complement our existing programs."

As part of the agreement for the province to assume responsibility for delivering services under the LMDA, federal employees currently doing this work in B.C. will receive a job offer with the provincial government to continue their work. Minister Hansen also noted that B.C. will work closely with the federal government to ensure a smooth transition of affected federal staff while maintaining continuous quality service for British Columbians. The federal government has similar arrangements in eight other jurisdictions which assume these responsibilities: New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The signature of these two labour market agreements fulfill commitments made in the Government of Canada's economic plan, Advantage Canada, and the 2007 federal budget to create the best educated, most skilled, and most flexible work force in the world. Similar agreements are being negotiated with other provinces and territories and will be signed in the coming weeks and months.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Visit the new HRSDC Web site - www.hrsdc.gc.ca.


Backgrounder

The signature of these two labour market agreements fulfill commitments made in the Government of Canada's economic plan, Advantage Canada, and the 2007 federal budget to create the best educated, most skilled, and most flexible work force in the world.

Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement

- Under the new Labour Market Agreements (LMA), the Government of Canada will invest $500 million annually over the next six fiscal years to increase the quantity and enhance the quality of Canada's labour force. These resources will be allocated to the provinces and territories on an equal per capita basis.

- The new Canada-B.C. LMA will inject approximately $396 million over the next six years into the British Columbian labour market - based on current population estimates - beginning with an investment of $66 million in 2008-2009.

- The new investments will focus on assisting the following individuals who are not in the labour market and therefore not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), as well as under-represented groups:

- Aboriginal people, immigrants, persons with disabilities, youth, women, older workers and other under-represented groups within the labour market; and

- individuals entering and re-entering into the workforce.

- Under these arrangements, the new resources will also help to provide training for employed individuals who are low-skilled and do not have a high school diploma or a recognized credential, or have low levels of literacy and lack essential skills.

- These investments will support the following activities:

- skills training, ranging from training in basic skills to advanced skills training;

- on-the-job training and workplace-based skills upgrading;

- group interventions and job readiness assistance;

- financial supports and benefits such as loans, grants and living allowances;

- employment counselling and services; and

- labour market connections that promote and enhance labour market efficiency.

- The LMAs contain a robust accountability framework that includes commitments related to the following:

- the development of annual plans and the engagement of stakeholders;

- the stewardship of financial resources provided under the agreement;

- the measurement of the outcomes and benefits of investments in three areas - participants, service delivery and participant impacts;

- regular public reporting of results achieved; and

- regular review and evaluation of activities.

- These new arrangements also contain a commitment to ensure that the new federal investments do not displace normal provincial expenditures within the labour market.

- In developing and delivering their eligible programs and services, B.C. agrees to take into account the needs of the official language minority communities within the province and to deliver, where there is significant demand, services in either official language.


Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement

- Under the new Canada-British Columbia (B.C.) Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA), the province assumes responsibility for the design and delivery of Employment Insurance-funded Employment Benefits and Support Measures. Over $300 million per year will be provided from the Government of Canada for this purpose.

- The new agreement replaces the existing co-managed LMDA signed in 1997, under which the federal government retained responsibility for the design and delivery of EI-funded Employment Benefits and Support Measures.

- The Canada- B.C. LMDA supports funding for labour market programs and services for B.C. residents who are now 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. Last year, more than 80,000 individual unemployed British Columbians benefited from EI-funded programs and services.

- The B.C. programs and services delivered under this agreement will be similar to the benefits and measures offered by the federal government under the previous agreement, including, Job Creation, Skills Development, Self-Employment Assistance, Employment Assistance Services and Wage Supplements.

- In developing and delivering their eligible programs and services, B.C. agrees to take into account the needs of the official language minority communities within the province and to deliver, where there is significant demand, services in either official language.

- The LMDA contains a robust accountability framework that includes financial management, performance measurement, regular public reporting on results, and ongoing review and evaluation.

- The Government of Canada retains responsibility for income support under Part I of the Employment Insurance Act. This agreement does not affect the delivery of benefits for EI eligible individuals.

- Under the agreement to have B.C. assume responsibility for delivering employment programs and services under the LMDA, federal employees currently delivering programs and services in B.C. will be offered a job with the provincial government. The details of the employee transfer will be worked out with B.C. in a subsequent agreement. As was the case in the eight other jurisdictions where similar transfer arrangements have been implemented over the years, there will be open communication with employees in the coming days and weeks on transition.

- The new LMDA will be fully implemented by February 2, 2009. Until then, the Government of Canada, through Service Canada, will continue to deliver EI-funded employment programming in B.C. The Province has also agreed to ensure continuity of service by continuing agreements with third party service providers for the next two years.

Contact Information

  • Office of Monte Solberg
    Pema Lhalungpa
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Ministry of Economic Development
    Rena Kendall-Craden
    Communications Director
    250-952-0152
    or
    Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance
    Richard Chambers
    Communications Director
    250-387-6489
    or
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559