Canada strengthens workforce amid economic challenges

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Canada’s economy is demonstrating remarkable strength and resilience, with more women in the workforce than ever before and a higher number of Canadians employed than before the pandemic.

Federal Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault recently met with his provincial counterparts at the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) for the second time this year. Co-chaired by Boissonnault and Manitoba’s Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources, Jamie Moses, the meeting focused on collaborative efforts to strengthen Canada’s workforce.

Ministers discussed the critical role of labor market agreements with provinces and territories in addressing challenges in key sectors such as health care, housing construction, green industries, and the future economy. Minister Boissonnault emphasized the continuation of federal funding to provinces and territories, highlighting that these agreements have provided $25 billion in transfers since 2017, benefiting millions of Canadians through training and job assistance.

The discussions also included specific actions outlined in Budget 2024 aimed at creating more jobs and maintaining Canada’s economic leadership. Key initiatives include:

  • $50 million over two years for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to streamline the process in health care and construction sectors.
  • $90 million over two years to support apprenticeship placements with small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • $10 million for the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage careers in the skilled trades.

One goal is to develop a larger, highly certified, diverse, and inclusive trades workforce, helping to address the housing shortage across Canada.

Boissonnault stressed the importance of building a 21st-Century workforce capable of adapting to challenges such as artificial intelligence and automation. The recently announced $50 million investment over four years in the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program will provide new skills training to workers in industries potentially impacted by artificial intelligence.

Additionally, Canada’s interim Sustainable Jobs Plan focuses on supporting workers in transitioning to a prosperous and sustainable net-zero emissions economy. This includes initiatives like the Sustainable Jobs Training Fund and the Green Skills stream of the Union Training and Innovation Program, which provide access to high-quality jobs and targeted training across Canada.

Canada’s unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in May 2024, above the record low of 5.0% seen between December 2022 and April 2023.


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