Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

April 30, 2009 11:00 ET

Governments of Canada and Quebec Sign Three New Agreements Totalling Over $1 Billion

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - Mr. Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, with the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, the Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, and Mr. Sam Hamad, Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, announced today the signing of three new agreements totalling over $1 billion aimed at developing the skills of workers and improving the employability of unemployed people in Quebec.

The announcement today shows the Government of Canada's support for the strategic initiatives implemented by the Government of Quebec, namely the Pacte pour l'emploi, announced in March 2008 to encourage a better match between the pools of available workers and the labour needs of businesses, and the Pacte pour l'emploi Plus, implemented in March 2009 to support the people, workers and businesses in Quebec affected by the difficult economic situation.

"This funding is proof of the Governnment of Canda's commitment to Quebec", said Minister Finley. "Our goal is to provide easier access to training tailored to the needs of the Quebec market, which will allow workers in Quebec to get better jobs."

"For our government, the important thing is first and foremost to enter into fruitful partnerships to respond to the needs of our fellow citizens," added Minister Verner. "And that's what we're doing by providing the Government of Quebec with more resources to meet its objectives in a priority area."

Three New Agreements

Canada-Quebec Labour Market Agreement

Under the new agreement, the Government of Canada will invest more than $700 million over the next six years through the Canada-Quebec Labour Market Agreement. This agreement is in addition to the 1997 Labour Market Agreement between the same parties, under which Quebec is responsible for designing and implementing employment programs and services for unemployed people who are eligible for Employment Insurance.

These new investments are aimed at unemployed Quebecers who do not qualify for training assistance under the Employment Insurance program, including members of under-represented groups within the labour market, such as social assistance recipients, immigrants and persons with disabilities. The new Labour Market Agreement is in keeping with the commitments made in the Advantage Canada plan, which aims to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world.

Labour Market Agreement

Furthermore, as stated in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government will also provide Quebec with $261.2 million over the next two years through the Labour Market Agreement already in place to facilitate access to training under the Employment Insurance program. These funds are in addition to funding of over $598 million provided this year to the Government of Quebec under this agreement.

Strategic Training and Transition Fund

Almost $128 million from the Strategic Training and Transition Fund will be paid out during the same period to ensure that everyone has access to training or any other form of assistance they require, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.

These investments will also support the Pacte pour l'emploi and the Pacte pour l'emploi Plus implemented by the Government of Quebec, which aim to improve workers' skills, to integrate pools of available labour, to make participation in the workforce more attractive and better paying and to meet the labour needs of growing Quebec businesses in the coming years.

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Labour Market Agreements

Labour Market Agreements are designed to financially assist individuals who are not receiving Employment Insurance benefits in getting the training they need to prosper and thrive in their chosen career.

Under this federal initiative, the provinces and territories receive a portion of the funds based on their share of the Canadian population. The federal contribution has been established at $500 million per year for six years ending in March 2014.

The new investments will focus on supporting skills development for individuals who do not qualify for training assistance under the Employment Insurance program, among them members of under-represented groups within the labour market, including:

- Immigrants, people with disabilities, youth and older workers;

- individuals entering or re-entering the workforce.

Under these arrangements, the new resources will also help provide training for employed individuals who have low skills or who do not have a high school diploma or recognized credentials.

Strategic Training and Transition Fund

Through existing Labour Market Agreements, as announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada is investing an additional $500 million over two years in the Strategic Training and Transition Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to support provincial and territorial initiatives designed to address the needs of workers in communities and sectors affected by the economic downturn and enable them to retain their jobs or find others.

The provinces and territories will have the flexibility they need to design programs adapted to their specific requirements. The Fund makes it possible to ensure that people, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance, have access to the training or other employment programs they need during these tough economic times.

Labour Market Development Agreements

The Government of Canada, through Labour Market Development Agreements, invests a total of $1.95 billion annually in federal and provincial or territorial programs serving unemployed Canadians who are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. In Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government committed to an additional temporary investment of $1 billion over two years to respond to the higher demand for labour market programs and training resulting from higher unemployment.

Pacte pour l'emploi

The Pacte pour l'emploi, an investment of nearly one billion dollars over three years, of which $548 million comes from the Government of Quebec and $439.4 million comes from the private sector, is a solution introduced in March 2008 by the Government of Quebec to keep Quebec's economy strong. The effects of an ageing population represent a challenge for upcoming years. The Pacte pour l'emploi will help any person willing to work to ensure that Quebec has enough qualified workers by helping them increase their skills, supporting businesses that want to increase their productivity by focusing on training and skills development and engaging local and regional partners in employment and workforce development.

Pacte pour l'emploi Plus

In March 2009, the Government of Quebec strengthened its action by introducing the Pacte pour l'emploi Plus, which includes additional investments of $518 million over two years, including $455.8 million in public sector investments and $62.2 million coming from the private sector. From an initial investment of $1 billion, the Pacte pour l'emploi now represents investments of $1.5 billion over three years. The Government of Quebec implements an array of targeted measures that will have a tangible and immediate impact on people who have lost their jobs and on businesses experiencing cyclical difficulties. For individuals, these measures represent increased financial assistance and personalized support towards employment or training leading to a new job. The Government of Quebec also introduced measures to help keep workers on the job and to increase productivity, including financial participation in training projects.

On April 1, 2009, in order to be more proactive, Emploi et Solidarite sociale introduced a new toll-free telephone service (1-888-EMPLOIS) to help businesses faster, therefore preventing layoffs. Depending on the required assistance, dedicated regional intervention teams will quickly work together to assist businesses in weathering the current economic downturn.

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