GATINEAU, QC, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today highlighted key Economic Action Plan 2013 measures that will address Canada's skills shortages and transform the way Canadians receive skills training. She was speaking at the 2013 Canadian Policy Conference hosted by the Building and Construction Trades Department.
"Our Government recognizes that a highly qualified and mobile skilled trades workforce is critical to Canada's productivity and competitiveness," said Minister Finley. "By helping Canadians connect with available jobs and putting a priority on skills and training, we are ensuring continued economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity."
Economic Action Plan 2013 announced measures to equip Canadians with the skills and training needed to support the skilled trades. These include:
- introducing the new Canada Job Grant;
- working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training and certification requirements;
- supporting the use of apprentices in federally contracted construction and maintenance projects; and
- providing support to groups that are under-represented in the job market, such as people with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal people and newcomers.
These investments complement other Government of Canada initiatives, including apprenticeship grants. In addition, the Government of Canada offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices, and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools. In Budget 2011, the Government of Canada also made occupational, trade and professional examination fees eligible for the Tuition Tax Credit.
"Through grants, tax credits and support for training programs such as apprenticeships, we are encouraging Canadians to pursue careers in the skilled trades," added Minister Finley.
The Government of Canada also collaborates with the building trades unions on the Helmets to Hardhats Program. This national program assists both serving and retired members of the Canadian Forces, including those with disabilities, to transition to careers in the building and construction industry.
For more information, visit helmetstohardhats.ca, or call 613-238-2300 or 1-855-238-9707 (toll free).
To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.
Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant will take skills-training choices out of the hands of government and put them where they belong: in the hands of employers and Canadians who want to work. The Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum federal contribution of $5,000, plus matching contributions from provinces or territories, and employers. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. Upon full implementation, it is expected that nearly 130 000 Canadians each year will be able to access the training they need to obtain gainful employment or improve their skills for in-demand jobs. The Canada Job Grant will be introduced in 2014-15 as part of the renewal of labour market agreements.
Opportunities for Apprentices
To further reduce barriers to accreditation in the skilled trades in Canada and increase opportunities for apprentices, the Government will work with the provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices and will examine the use of practical tests as a method of skills assessment in targeted skilled trades. This will support more apprentices in completing their training and encourage mobility across the country.
In addition, the Government will support the use of apprentices in federally contracted construction and maintenance projects. The Government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing Program support the use of apprentices. As part of the new Building Canada plan for infrastructure, the Government will encourage provinces, territories and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.
Support for Under-represented Groups
Economic Action Plan 2013 will also support labour market participation and a more inclusive skilled workforce with a range of measures, including:
- the introduction of a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for people with disabilities;
- the reallocation of $19 million over two years to promote education in high-demand fields, including the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
- investing $70 million over three years to support an additional 5 000 paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates, ensuring they get the valuable hands-on work experience needed to transition into the workforce;
- dedicating $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure that Aboriginal youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment;
- maintaining funding of $40 million per year, starting in 2015-16, for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The reform of the program will also result in more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make the program more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery; and
- extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund, at a level of $15 million per year, to support the capital costs of construction and renovations that improve physical accessibility or workplace accommodation for persons with disabilities.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a $1,000 taxable cash grant for apprentices who complete the first and/or second level of the apprenticeship program in a designated Red Seal trade, to a maximum of $2,000. The AIG was announced as part of Budget 2006.
The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a $2,000 taxable cash grant for eligible apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship training and receive their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade. The ACG was announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2009.
As a result of these grants, apprentices who complete their apprenticeship training in a designated Red Seal trade and become certified journeypersons could be eligible to receive up to $4,000. To date, the Government of Canada has provided over $493 million in apprenticeship grants to Canadians to encourage them to become skilled tradespeople.
For more information about these initiatives, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
SOURCE Human Resources and Skills Development Canada