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Canada’s Premiers Focused on Growing the Economy and Creating Jobs

TORONTO, November 15, 2013 – Canada’s Premiers met today to continue their focus on jobs and the economy.

In order to grow the economy, Premiers are united in their commitment to provide skills training to all Canadians who want to participate in the workforce. They support evidence based programming that has been proven to help Canadians. Consultations led by Premiers Clark and Alward confirmed that the proposed Canada Job Grant will not work for employers or the most vulnerable Canadians.

As proposed, the Canada Job Grant would focus training funds on those that already have jobs, and leave unemployed Canadians behind. Premiers Clark and Alward will lead efforts to develop a counter proposal that allows Canadians, including the most vulnerable and unemployed, to receive the training that they need. Premiers reaffirmed their position that provinces and territories must be able to opt out with full compensation.

Premiers also discussed a number of other priorities important to economic growth including modernizing Canada’s fiscal arrangements, enhancing retirement income security, international trade, and investments in infrastructure.

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For further details, please consult the media backgrounder.

Media enquiries may be directed to:

Premier’s Media Office
Government of Ontario
(416) 314-8975

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Media Backgrounder

TORONTO, November 15, 2013

Skills Training:

Premiers today reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring Canadians have access to training programs threatened by recent federal proposals.

The proposal by the federal government to redirect funds from proven skills development programs to the Canada Job Grant will not address the needs of unemployed Canadians who most need to improve their job prospects, particularly young people, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people, recent immigrants, social assistance recipients, the long-term unemployed and older workers.

As the federal government has acknowledged, these programs have a proven track record in helping vulnerable workers connect with the skills they need to gain and hold employment. The federal government has to date shown no evidence that the proposed Canada Job Grant will work for employers or workers.

Premiers are driven by their conviction that every Canadian deserves a job and that their joint efforts should be directed at getting as many people as possible into the work place. The proposed Canada Job Grant as currently structured is about training those already working.

In July, Canada’s Premiers called for a meeting of Labour Market Ministers with the federal government to discuss the Premiers’ concerns with the proposed Canada Job Grant. Premiers are pleased that this meeting took place on November 8.

Premiers support involvement by employers in skills and job training and targeting programs to better meet employers’ needs. Under the leadership of Premier Clark and Premier Alward, provinces and territories have consulted extensively with business and labour leaders and heard concerns from many business leaders across Canada that this untested program would be ineffective in meeting the needs of Canadians.

Premiers Clark and Alward will lead efforts to develop an alternative that works for the people who need it the most. Canada’s Premiers agree that governments need to continue to serve vulnerable groups with skills training and employment services by renewing the existing labour market agreements at current levels of funding; any federal program requiring provincial-territorial cost-matching must have the explicit agreement of provinces and territories.

They also agreed that employers and small and medium sized businesses need flexibility with their participation and that an evidence-based approach is required to address the diverse needs of the country’s labour markets. We should not replace proven programs with a new untested approach when the well-being of so many Canadians is at stake.

Premiers are unified in their position that provinces and territories must retain the right to opt out with full compensation of any federally funded agreements or initiatives such as the proposed Canada Job Grant program.

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