The province of Saskatchewan began the latest province to reach an agreement with the Federal government to deliver the Canada Job Grant.
Saskatchewan and the federal government signed a memorandum of understanding earlier today to renew the former Labour Market Agreement, now renamed the Canada Job Fund, and to create the Canada Job Grant. Under the agreement, the federal government will continue to provide $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training through the Canada Job Fund. Saskatchewan will continue to receive approximately $16 million as Saskatchewan's per capita share of the $500 million.
The Canada Job Fund will now include $200 million of employer-driven training, which may include funding for the Canada Job Grant or other existing employer-driven training programs. In Saskatchewan, this means approximately $6 million of its Canada Job Fund allocation will be spent on this employer-driven training.
The Canada Job Grant was announced in the Economic Action Plan 2013 as a new way to deliver training that will lead to job development.
A media release on today's announcement noted that the number of available workers for every job vacancy (unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio) in Saskatchewan was 2.4 in December 2013, well below the national average of 6.3.
The release also noted in the next five years, Saskatchewan expects to need 35,000 new workers and almost 60,000 replacement workers, according to the 2013 Saskatchewan Employment Forecast. The construction sector is forecast to need 5,500 workers; transportation and warehousing 6,100 workers; mining, oil and gas 4,800 workers; manufacturing 4,000 workers; and 16,700 workers in other services for industries such as professional, scientific and technical services and management of companies.
"One of the most important challenges Saskatchewan faces in maintaining its economic momentum is not just ensuring that it has enough workers, but ensuring that it has enough qualified workers. The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth positions the province to capture new economic opportunities and meet the challenges of growth. One of its key features is an ambitious agenda to educate, train and develop a highly qualified workforce. The Canada Job Grant will help support skills training in a labour market that is one of the tightest in the nation," Saskatchewan Minister of the Economy Bill Boyd stated in the press release.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. The Canada Job Grant will ensure that employers put more skin in the game and that skills training leads to a guaranteed job. This is good news for the people of Saskatchewan, who will have better access to training that leads to real, guaranteed jobs and who will get a better bang for their buck on funding for skills training. It is also good news for Saskatchewan's economy, because the Canada Job Grant will increase employer investment in skills training and help employers train Canadians for jobs that need to be filled so their businesses can grow and succeed," commented MP Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development.
Earlier in the day a similar agreement was signed with the province of Alberta.