The federal government’s 2021 budget makes notable investments in helping employers recruit and train workers to meet the growing demand in the skilled trades sector and includes a new service to help connect apprentices with employers.
Budget 2021, A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience, unveiled by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland today (April 19), proposes $470 million in funding over three years beginning this year to Employment and Social Development Canada to establish a new Apprenticeship Service.
According to the budget, the service would help 55,000 first–year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades connect with opportunities at small and medium-sized employers.
“Employers would be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for all first-year apprenticeship opportunities to pay for upfront costs such as salaries and training,” the budget states. “In addition, to boost diversity in the construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades, this incentive will be doubled to $10,000 for employers who hire those underrepresented, including women, racialized Canadians and persons with disabilities.”
The budget also states various sectors such as construction, clean energy and health care are growing rapidly but struggling to find workers to fill positions. It proposes to deliver $960 million over three years for a new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to help train and reskill people to help the workforce grow and meet demand.
“Working primarily with sector associations and employers, funding would help design and deliver training that is relevant to the needs of businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, and to their employees,” reads the budget. “This investment will help connect up to 90,000 Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in sectors where employers are looking for skilled workers…It will also help diversify sectors by ensuring that 40 per cent of supported workers are from underrepresented groups, including women, persons with disabilities and Indigenous people.”
The budget also proposes to provide $55 million over three years to Employment and Social Development Canada for a Community Workforce Development Program aimed to help communities develop local plans identifying high potential growth organizations and connecting employers with training providers to develop and deliver training and work placements to upskill and reskill jobseekers to fill in demand jobs.
“Funding would be delivered through calls for proposals under two streams: a national stream focused on priority areas, like de-carbonization and supporting a just transition for workers in transforming sectors like energy, which would dedicate 75 per cent of funding to projects that support underrepresented groups; and a regional stream delivered by Service Canada regional offices, in partnership with regional development agencies, and focused on regional priorities,” the budget reads. “This initiative will benefit approximately 25,000 workers, 250 businesses, and 25 communities, by accelerating job creation and the re-employment and deployment of workers to growth areas to meet employers’ needs.”
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The budget also recognizes the role of temporary foreign workers in Canada, especially during the pandemic, and proposes to provide:
- $49.5 million over three years to Employment and Social Development Canada, to support community-based organizations in the provision of migrant worker-centric programs and services, such as on-arrival orientation services and assistance in emergency and at-risk situations, through the new Migrant Worker Support Program.
- $54.9 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to increase inspections of employers and ensure temporary foreign workers have appropriate working conditions and wages.
- $6.3 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to support faster processing and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers, which helps migrant workers in situations of abuse find a new job.
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