Economic Action Plan 2013: Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs

budget small pictureCalgary, Alberta—Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today highlighted key Economic Action Plan 2013 measures that will address Canada’s overall skills and labour shortages and transform the way Canadians receive skills training, in her remarks to the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. In line with the Harper Government’s priority focus on skills training, Dr. Leitch also announced Skills Link funding of over $574,000 for the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society to help youth overcome barriers to employment.

“While our economy continues to grow and create jobs, the challenges confronting us remain significant,” said Dr. Leitch. “By helping Canadians connect with available jobs and putting a new focus on skills and training, we are ensuring continued economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity.”

The funding announced today will enable the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society to help participants gain life and employability skills through workshops on topics such as healthy lifestyles, job searching techniques and overcoming cultural differences in the workplace. Additionally, they may gain work experience through job placements with local employers in a variety of positions such as customer service, administration and entry-level engineering.

“This project empowers immigrant and refugee youth by providing the necessary skills, support, information and experience to overcome employment barriers,” said Fariborz Birjandian, Executive Director, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. “We are thrilled with the overall success of the program and its profound and positive impact on these youth in Calgary.”  

Youth employment programs are part of the Harper Government’s broader strategy to create an educated, skilled and flexible workforce. The federal government reaffirmed its commitment to this strategy in Economic Action Plan 2013.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces specific new measures to address skills mismatches and labour shortages. These include:

  • Introducing the new Canada Job Grant through renewed Labour Market Agreements, which will transform the way Canadians receive training by placing skills training decisions in the hands of employers and Canadian workers. The new Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, with a maximum federal contribution of $5,000. It will also ensure greater involvement and engagement of employers in training Canadians for the jobs that are in demand.
  • Working with the provinces and territories to harmonize requirements to help apprentices obtain their accreditation and create opportunities, as part of addressing shortages in skilled trades across the country.
  • Providing support to groups that are under-represented in the job market, such as people with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal people and newcomers.

“The quality of our workforce must remain one of our greatest strengths,” added Dr. Leitch. “By governments, businesses, universities, colleges, unions, training institutions and other groups working together, we can make this happen.”

Economic Action Plan 2013 also offers a path to return to balanced budgets by 2015-16, which will strengthen Canada’s fiscal advantage and spur long-term jobs and growth.

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Youth Employment Strategy

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace.

Skills Link, which is part of YES, helps youth facing barriers to employment, including youth who are single parents, youth with disabilities, young newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas, to develop the skills and gain the experience needed to find a job or the confidence to return to school.

To learn more about Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy and other youth employment initiatives, please visit

Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant will ensure Canadians are able to obtain the qualifications they need to get jobs in high-demand fields. The Grant could provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum $5,000 federal contribution and matching contributions from provinces/territories and employers. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. Upon full implementation, nearly 130 000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need to obtain employment or improve their skills for in-demand jobs. The Canada Job Grant will be introduced in 2014-15 as part of the renewal of the Labour Market Agreements.

Opportunities for Apprentices

To further reduce barriers to accreditation in the skilled trades in Canada and increase opportunities for apprentices, the Government will work with provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices, and examine the use of practical hands-on tests as a method of assessment, in targeted skilled trades. This will support more apprentices in completing their training and encourage mobility across the country.

In addition, the Government will support the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. The Government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing Program support the use of apprentices. As part of the new Building Canada plan for infrastructure, the Government will encourage provinces, territories and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.

Support for Under-represented Groups

Economic Action Plan 2013 will also support labour market participation and a more inclusive skilled workforce with a range of measures including:

  • An introduction of a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities   with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for people with disabilities.
  • A reallocation of $19 million over two years to promote education in high-demand fields, including the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Investing $70 million over three years to support an additional 5 000 paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates, ensuring they get the valuable hands-on work experience needed to transition into the workforce.
  • Dedicating $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure Aboriginal youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment.
  • Maintaining funding at $40 million per year, starting in 2015-16, for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The program will also be reformed to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.
  • Extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis, at a level of $15 million per year, to support capital costs of construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities, including workplace accommodation.

For more information about these initiatives, visit