WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, April 11, 2008 — The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, and the Honourable Andrew Swan, Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade for Manitoba, today signed a new agreement to help Manitoban workers improve their skills, and to prepare them for the jobs of the future.
Today's announcement represents a significant Government of Canada investment in the people of Manitoba while addressing employers' needs for skilled workers. Under the new agreement, the Government of Canada will invest nearly $110 million in Manitoba's labour market over the next six years.
Now, residents of Manitoba who are not eligible for training under the Employment Insurance (EI) program will have opportunities to improve their skills. The funding will be used to help those often excluded from the labour force, including Aboriginal people, immigrants and persons with disabilities, gain access to the training they need to find good quality jobs. It will also help people move from low-skilled work to better jobs within a variety of sectors such as construction, mining, and manufacturing.
"Today's announcement will result in a win-win situation for individuals and businesses across the province: thousands will be able to get better training - such as upgrade their skills or acquire an important certification - while employers will have access to more skilled labour," said Minister Solberg. "The Government of Canada made an important commitment in our 2006 plan, Advantage Canada, to create the best-educated, most-skilled, and most flexible work force in the world. With today's agreement, we are one step closer to getting this done."
"This agreement allows the Province to expand employment and training opportunities to meet the growing demand for skilled labour," said Minister Swan. "Our goal is to equip Manitobans with the skills that will help them compete for better jobs and at the same time meet the needs of employers."
"As the leading provider of skills training in Manitoba, Red River College appreciates this commitment from the Governments of Canada and Manitoba," said Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President of Red River College. "The skilled labour market is fueling the growth of the Manitoba economy, and it's important that we ensure that all Manitobans are able to participate in that success."
The new Canada-Manitoba Labour Market Agreement comes into effect today, and complements the Labour Market Development Agreement signed between the Governments of Canada and Manitoba in 1997, under which the Province assumed responsibility for designing and delivering employment programs and services for unemployed people eligible under the EI program.