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Canadian businesses benefit from quicker access to highly skilled newcomers


Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, delivered a keynote speech at the #Can2020 Conference that focused on the solutions Canada is implementing to ensure that all Canadians have the skills and training they need to contribute to the country’s economic prosperity today and in the years to come.

The solutions Kenney outlined include: the need for more employer-led training, harmonization of skills training, improved labour mobility and labour market information, and speeding up the foreign credential recognition for internationally-trained professionals. 

He also highlighted the benefits of the recent improvements to the immigration system for quicker access to highly skilled professionals.

Kenney pointed to the programs and policies that Canada has put in place that are benefitting Canadians by ensuring they have the skills for in-demand jobs. 

Access to a highly skilled workforce is essential to making sure employers will be able to fill the pending skills gaps left by retiring baby boomers.

He also highlighted that, with many free trades agreements in place, and billions of dollars of infrastructure and resource based projects coming on stream, it is more important than ever that provinces and territories, the private sector and post-secondary institutions work together to make certain Canadians are prepared for the opportunities to come.

A few quick facts:
Hundreds of major resource projects, worth $650 billion in investment, are projected to come on stream in Canada in the next decade.
In the next 10 years, Canada is expected to need 300,000 new workers in the construction sector, with up to another 150,000 new workers in the petroleum sector and 145,000 new workers in the mining sector by 2020.

“Our top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians,” said Kenney. “That is why we are working hard to create opportunities for all Canadians to develop the skills they need to succeed today and in the future. But, we want to – and need to – work together with businesses, provinces and territories, post-secondary educational institutions and stakeholders to maximize our economic growth potential as a country.” 

In his speech at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Kenney highlighted Canada’s Skills Agenda, including reforming post-secondary education system, supporting apprenticeship training, and fostering more employer involvement and investment in training. 

The speech highlighted two key elements: 
The Canada Job Grant, for which applications are now being accepted in seven provinces and territories and the Canada Apprentice Loan.
Canada is also supporting the skilled trades with the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, the Apprenticeship Completion Grant, the Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction Tax Credit to help apprentices and tradespersons pay for tools, and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit to encourage employers to hire apprentices.

Kenney also spoke about reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

There are tremendous opportunities in the skilled trades in the years ahead:
Along with the job opportunities expected to be created in the construction, mining and petroleum sectors listed above, the supply chain sector in Canada says it will need 357,000 new workers by 2020.

The Canada Job Grant will help ensure that Canada has the skilled workforce it needs to help bridge the gap between the skills Canadians have and the skills employers are looking for.  

Economic Action Plan 2014 announced the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will be available in January 2015, to provide apprentices in Red Seal trades with access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. 

It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will apply for these loans.

“Our focus is on creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Kenney. 

“Our Skills Agenda is our plan to ensure that Canadians have the skills that are in demand in today’s economy by ensuring that Canadians have the skills employers are looking for.”

Posted: Nov 3, 2014

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