Minister Kenney addresses skills shortages in electricity sector
TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, highlighted the need to address skills mismatches and shortages, as well as government efforts to tackle this critical issue at the Electricity Human Resources Canada conference.
"Our government's top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. That is why we are taking action to fix the paradox of too many Canadians without jobs in an economy that has too many jobs without Canadians," said Minister Kenney. "Canada is facing skills shortages in the electricity sector and other industries. That is why our government is taking action with the Canada Job Grant which will result in Canadians getting access to training that leads to guaranteed jobs."
The two-day conference brings together business leaders and human resource professionals working in the electricity and renewable energy industry. In his speech, Minister Kenney pointed to the looming skills shortages in the electricity industry. According to the Electricity Sector Council's 2012 report, the industry will need to recruit 45 000 new skilled workers in the next five years.
"We are currently facing challenges in apprenticeship training: low completion rates, lack of employer participation, inconsistency between provincial and territorial apprenticeship systems, and high apprentice-journeyperson ratios," said Minister Kenney. "We must act now to reform apprenticeship systems, implement the Canada Job Grant and better integrate labour-market needs into post-secondary education. We also have to improve foreign credential recognition and increase labour mobility so workers can fill jobs anywhere in Canada."
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to equip Canadians with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to increase the labour market participation of under-represented groups, such as people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.
Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum $5,000 federal contribution and matching contributions from provinces, territories and employers. The Grant will be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. 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 once implemented in 2014.
Upon full implementation, nearly 130 000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need for available jobs.
The Canada Job Grant is strongly supported by employers and other stakeholders including:
- The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business
- Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
- Association of Canadian Community Colleges
- Canadian Construction Association
- Information Technology Association of Canada
- Welding Bureau
- Engineers Canada
Support for Apprentices
The Government supports the skilled trades and apprentices through grants, tax credits and tax deductions.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in designated Red Seal trades. As a result of these grants, apprentices could be eligible to receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses. To date, the Government of Canada has issued over a half-billion dollars in apprenticeship grants for Canadians.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a $1,000 taxable cash grant for apprentices who complete the first and/or second level of their apprenticeship program in a designated Red Seal trade, to a maximum of $2,000.
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 Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices, as well as a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools.
Economic Action Plan 2013
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to help Canadians get the knowledge, skills and experience they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing significant support to increase the labour market participation of under-represented groups, such as people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.
The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure Canadians can make better choices and get the skills and training that employers are looking for by:
- removing disincentives from Employment Insurance to ensure that it is structured in a way that people are encouraged to work, find jobs easier and are rewarded for it;
- transferring $2.7 billion each year to the provinces and territories to help ensure that unemployed and low-skilled Canadians get the training they need to participate fully in the labour market;
- increasing funding to programs that give work experience to youth and people with disabilities so they can develop and make use of their skills and meet employers' needs;
- enhancing learning and labour market information so people can make more informed education and career choices;
- offering Apprenticeship Grants and tax credits to encourage Canadians to pursue careers in the skilled trades;
- streamlining foreign credential and experience recognition for in-demand occupations, such as physicians and engineers; and
- investing over $10 billion annually in support of post-secondary education.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada