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Canada Job Grant Meets Fierce Resistance

There’s a groundswell of hoopla around the controversial Canada Job Grant of late, with politicians nationwide voicing opposition strong enough to yank the whole thing off the map.

The Canada Job Grant is the feds’ proposed skills-training program. Unveiled as a keystone of the 2014 federal budget earlier this year, the grant will bring the federal, provincial and territorial governments together with employers “to invest in skills training for unemployed and underemployed Canadians so that they are qualified to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs available.”

The fund recommends transferring $300 million from the $500-million pot Ottawa already gives to the provinces to underwrite programs that provide job support for marginalized groups — First Nations people and individuals with low levels of literacy among them — into training grants.

Under it, the federal government would pay one-third of the $15,000 in training moneys earmarked for each worker, with the other two-thirds covered equally by employers and the provincial governments.

The opposition to the plan hones in on the risk at which it puts some of the successful and necessary provincially run programs already in existence.  

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Here’s the 411 on the CJG affair.

• Many Canadian jobs are perpetually vacant because there simply aren’t individuals with the applicable training to take them on. This is so despite a national unemployment rate of 7.1 percent.

• Earlier this week, provincial leaders attended a skilled labour roundtable in Toronto with representatives from the labour sector to discuss the solution this grant purports to be. Of the program’s 33 private-sector stakeholders, only three expressed support for it.

• “All premiers agreed that the program as it stands will not go ahead in any province,” BC Premier Christy Clark told the media scrum after the meeting.

• The grant’s challengers argue that each province would have to pony up in excess of $600 million to meet the grant’s requirements if it hopes not to cut back on current programs.

The federal government is scheduled to enact the Canada Jobs Grant on April 1, 2014, but has signaled that it’s open to compromise. Further discussions are expected to get underway in November.

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