Categorized | Canadian Politics

Job Programs For Vulnerable Ontarians At Risk

Posted on 28 November 2013 by admin

In tough economic times, our Employment Ontario offices and the support and training programs they provide are more important than ever. This is especially true for job seekers who might need a lot of guidance and support to get back into the workforce.

As well as help with a job search, the Ontario government offers a range of programs, including Literacy and Basic Skills Training, Second Career, Bridge Training, Pre-Apprenticeship Training – all designed to meet the needs of those who are trying to get back to work. These programs are funded jointly by the provincial government and the federal government.

But they are at risk, and the stakes are high.

In its 2013 budget, the federal government announced it would implement a new Canada Job Grant. This grant would take $232 million away from existing programs designed to help vulnerable workers get back to work in Ontario. These are people such as immigrants, social assistance recipients, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal persons and youth – those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance and most in need of support.

These are programs that work: 73 percent of Second Career graduates find work within six months. In the past year, the Employment Ontario network helped approximately 1 million people in our province, including 90,000 employers. In that time, more than 200,000 Ontarians obtained employment through our programs.

The Canada Job Grant proposed by the federal government would not help many unemployed workers. It would only help people who can find an employer to contribute money to their training. That really means people who already have jobs.

Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities met with his provincial and territorial counterparts on November 8 and reinforced to Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development, that the Ontario government isn’t interested in taking money away from our most vulnerable citizens. This stance was reaffirmed when the country’s premiers gathered at the Council of the Federation meeting on November 15. All of Canada’s provinces and territories agree – an untested and unproven program that takes money away from programs that are working is not a good idea.

In September, a resolution was passed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at their national conference “that the federal government, instead of implementing its own Canada Job Grant program, negotiate with the provincial/territorial governments to renew labour market agreements that are set to expire in 2014, in accordance with on-the-job training priorities”.

Ontario’s partnership with Canada over the past eight years has been working well, especially in supporting vulnerable workers. And the Ontario government agrees that creating better connections with employers to help improve training opportunities and our economy is a good idea – but it has to happen in a way that makes sense for everyone, and not at the expense of vulnerable workers.

The two governments need to move forward together to improve delivery of employment and training programs. When we help all people get the skills they need to find work and achieve their goals, everybody wins.

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