The federal government plans to launch its promised new training
grant by April 1, 2014, even though several provinces strongly object to
The Canada Job Grant was a central feature of the
2013 federal budget, promising up to $15,000 for individual Canadians
looking to obtain job training. But the announcement caught provinces
off guard, especially since the Conservative government expects them to
help pay for the grants and will be cutting back on transfers toward
provincial training programs.
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley confirmed the target date
Tuesday after speaking to a national conference of Canada's Building
Trades Unions. The government announced in the budget that it will
overhaul a $500-million-a-year program aimed at training unemployed
workers who do not qualify for employment insurance.
negotiating with the provinces and territories to put those [agreements]
in place with a target of having the implementation start April 1 next
year, Ms. Finley said.But also making sure that we're taking ¦ the
decisions about what training is provided to the unemployed, out of the
hands of government and putting it where it really belongs: in the hands
of employers and Canadians who want to work.
are pushing back, noting that Ottawa is only promising to contribute up
to $5,000 toward each grant - and the federal money will be in lieu of
cash that used to be transferred to the provinces to fund their training
The Parti Quebecois government announced almost
immediately after the federal budget was released that it would refuse
to participate. Ontario's Liberal Minister of Training, Colleges and
Universities, Brad Duguid, says the federal plan amounts toa shell
game with transfers that currently go to vulnerable populations like
aboriginals and people with disabilities.
Canada's major business
groups have been strong supporters of the proposed job grant, arguing it
will help companies respond to serious skills shortages. Bob Blakely,
chief operating officer of the Canadian Building Trades Unions, said the
jobs grant seems like a positive move to address the uneven approach to
apprenticeship programs across the country.