As the Canadian economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, workers are facing new challenges. Residents of New Brunswick and all Canadians need access to training and employment supports to develop new skills and find good jobs.
Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and New Brunswick’s Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Trevor Holder highlighted that the Government of Canada has provided an additional $1.5 billion for training Canadian workers, through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of New Brunswick has received $22 million to help respond to the increased number of New Brunswick residents looking to re-enter the workforce, particularly those in hard-hit sectors and groups disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.
Supports include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion already provided nationwide to support Canadian workers under the Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) and WDAs in 2020-21. Each year, over a million individuals across Canada receive employment benefits and supports under the labour market transfers.
Building on the strong delivery networks already in place in New Brunswick, these investments will ensure quick access to training for the people of New Brunswick, particularly workers and employers in sectors hard hit by COVID-19.
As a result of this investment, the Government of New Brunswick will be able to allocate additional funding for initiatives targeting underrepresented groups, including persons with disabilities, social assistance clients, Indigenous people and newcomers. Other initiatives will focus on recruitment and retention, and labour force integration.
In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making the largest training investment in Canadian history and announced that it will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. This will be done by using a range of tools, including immediate training to equip workers. As a first step, this one-time investment through the WDAs will help contribute to this goal and create a stronger workforce.
To further support recovery efforts, the Government of Canada is also ensuring that Canadian workers can get the support they need under the LMDAs and the WDAs with provinces and territories by broadening the scope of eligible costs to include things such as the costs related to online training, accommodating new physical distancing requirements and providing mental health supports.
As we work toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to support the people of New Brunswick and help them grow their potential. By working together with the Government of New Brunswick, we can build a stronger workforce and position the country for an economic recovery that leaves no Canadian behind.
“Together, with the Government of New Brunswick, we are ensuring workers in the province have access to the training they need to get good jobs as our country recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen workers’ futures and help them succeed as our economy recovers and evolves.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce – Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“This funding will help us provide improved services for job seekers across the province, particularly those who were working in sectors devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our WorkingNB branches are providing critical services that support New Brunswick’s labour force and this funding is a welcome boost to these efforts. We thank the federal government, for recognizing this need and making an investment that will help both job seekers and businesses in need of workers.”
– New Brunswick’s Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Trevor Holder
Each year, the Government of Canada provides $3 billion in funding through the LMDAs and WDAs to help Canadians improve their skills, and find and keep employment. Budget 2017 provided an additional investment in these agreements of up to $625 million annually, between 2017 and 2023.
Following today’s announcement, total spending on programs for persons with disabilities through WDAs will increase by about $425 million.
Based on the latest job numbers from the Labour Force Survey, the national unemployment rate rose to 9.4% in January 2021 its highest rate since August 2020, but down from a high of 13.7% in May.
In New Brunswick, the unemployment rate was 8.8% in January 2021, down from 9.6% in December.
New Brunswick’s new WDA funding will be used specifically for initiatives targeting under-represented groups, including persons with disabilities, social assistance clients, Indigenous people and newcomers.
Each year 22,000 individuals in New Brunswick access employment training supports and benefits under the LMDAs.