The federal government has revealed plans to future-proof Canada’s workforce after finance minister Bill Morneau tabled the annual budget yesterday afternoon.
“As we create the jobs of tomorrow, we will support a culture of lifelong learning and skills training to help workers and their families adapt to the changing demands of our time,” said Morneau.
The plan includes $1.8 billion over the next six years to expand labour market development agreements – arrangements with the various provinces and territories to help finance a number of programs including skills training.
The budget also outlines a strategy to make adult learning more affordable with $287.2 million committed over three years for a project aimed at making it easier for adults to qualify for student loans and grants.
Unemployed jobseekers also stand to benefit as $132.4 million over four years – beginning in 2018-19 – has been allocated to allow unemployed Canadians the chance to pursue training without fear of losing their employment insurance.
The government says it’s also planning to assist indigenous people with $90 million over two years dedicated to a post-secondary support program. A partnership with charitable organization Indspire is also in the works with $5 million directed to the company every year for five years – on the condition it raises $3 million per year in matching funds from the private sector.
During Wednesday’s speech, Morneau stressed the importance of encouraging a more innovative, tech-fuelled economy while also ensuring traditional workers don’t get left behind.
Last year, stakeholders urged the government to make agreements more flexible to employers and workers as they attempt to keep up with the rapid pace of change.