Jobs training fund slammed
TORONTO—Unless the federal Conservatives make substantial changes to the Canada Job Grant, the jobs training fund is doomed to failure, provincial leaders said yesterday.
Ottawa has to be open to changing the program because a “one-size-fits-all” approach to helping more people find jobs isn’t going to work, said B.C. Premier Christy Clark and New Brunswick Premier David Alward.
“That is clear.”
All 33 stakeholders at the meeting in Toronto said changes were needed to the program and only three said they were prepared to support the program, Clark noted.
Small businesses also have concerns.
“The closer the organization was to actually delivering training on the ground in communities, the more concerned they were about the impact it was going to have,” Clark said.
“And that really, I think, speaks to the concern that a big, one-size-fits-all solution is just simply not going to work on the ground where training is actually delivered and where workers get what they need to go into the real workforce,” she stressed.
There’s a lot riding on getting the program right, Alward said.
“Ultimately it means that people will not be working,” he remarked. “Ultimately it means that businesses will not be successful.
“And ultimately it means governments—at all levels—will not have the revenues that they need to provide the services that people need.”
The federal Conservatives want to divert some of the money they give to the provinces and territories to the new Canada Job Grant, which would provide a grant of $15,000 per worker.
The provinces and territories, as well as the employers, each would kick in $5,000.
But the provinces and territories worry that it won’t give them enough flexibility to direct the money where it’s needed most and could jeopardize existing provincially-run programs that help disadvantaged groups.
They say they’d have to come up with more than $600 million to maintain their current programs, as well as match the cost of the Canada Job Grant.
Employment and Social Development minister Jason Kenney is expected to meet with provincial and territorial leaders this fall to talk about the program.