Employment and skills training programming and services in Canada are supported and delivered by both federal and provincial/territorial governments. The federal government provides funding to provinces and territories through four major bilateral transfer agreements referred to collectively as labour market transfer agreements (LMTAs).
With a 2016 federal budget announcement of funding increases for LMTAs, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Labour Market Ministers launched broad-based stakeholder consultations with the objective of ensuring that the Agreements are responding effectively to labour market priorities.
More than 20 federal or provincial/territorial roundtables were held, and more than 70 written submissions received from a range of stakeholders.
A summary of the input received from the 700+ organizations and individuals who participated in the consultations is presented in this report. All are to be commended for taking the time to reflect on their opinions, experiences and share their knowledge. It is important to note that “What We Heard” summarizes their collective input; the 90+ individual roundtable reports and submissions contain much more detailed information than can be included in a high-level summary.
The main findings contained in this report include:
- Stakeholders felt that employment and skills training programs should aim to develop a workforce that is educated, empowered, adaptable, and productive. This involves two main components: helping the unemployed gain employment, and increasing the skills of vulnerable workers.
- Today’s labour market requires a wide range of skills. Having the technical skills necessary to fulfill occupational tasks is a priority for employers; foundational skills are necessary for all – to improve job transition and retention, and provide the capacity to navigate a dynamic labour market.
- Employers play a key role, both in providing training opportunities for jobseekers and employees, and reinforcing skill acquisition in the workplace. Small- and medium-sized enterprises may be hampered in this role by a lack of administrative capacity to create a workplace culture of learning.
- Programs and services should be demand-led. A widely-held opinion of stakeholders is that employment and skills training programs should be driven by labour market demand and employers’ needs. Moreover, programs need to take a long term view of the labour market to ensure responsiveness.
- The needs of vulnerable populations must be served, and are unique from one another. There was widespread acknowledgement of the need to provide pre-employment training, particularly for those with multiple barriers. There was a perceived lack of capacity in the current programs to deliver services adequately tailored to the needs of vulnerable groups.
- Program awareness and accessibility is limited in some groups. Navigating a complex system with a wide range of programs, eligibility criteria, and providers may hinder individuals’, employers’, and service providers’ understanding of what is being offered by whom. Moreover, it can be difficult to differentiate the program streams offered by federal, provincial and territorial governments.
- Flexibility in programs and services is essential to meeting client and employer needs. Current programs lack the flexibility required to serve the needs of a diverse Canadian workforce. Program and service adaptability is improved through alternative modes of delivery.
- LMDA restrictions around EI eligibility leave many Canadians unable to access benefits or programs, including those most in need. This concern was expressed among a wide range of stakeholders, who suggested a number of changes in the agreements to address this.
- Improvements are needed in the production and dissemination of LMI. The current state of LMI is fragmented, with gaps in the quality and availability of data on labour demand and supply, as well as outcomes of employment and skills training programs. A government-led collaboration in which multiple stakeholders contribute to the production of LMI could improve the quality, comprehensiveness, and timeliness of the information available.
- Innovation in programming should be evidence-based, which will require improved information and data systems. Stakeholders supported development of a strategic, comprehensive, and collaborative approach that builds on existing data sources and integrates new ones. Centres of excellence were viewed as an innovative way of supporting research on best practices and innovation in the employment sector. These centres respond to the needs of the skilled labour market, while also developing programs for individuals further from the labour market. As well, they can play a role in linking employers to priority job seekers such as persons with disabilities.
Take a look at CCEDNet’s post on Recommendations for Labour Market Transfer Agreements from November 2016
Table of contents
Glossary of acronyms
What We Heard: Executive Summary
2. Impact (what do we need to do now)
2.1 Objectives of employment and skills training programs
2.1.1 A demand-led approach for workforce development
2.1.2 The need to develop a wide range of skills
2.1.3 To whom should programs be targeted?
2.2 Program flexibility
2.2.1 The need for flexibility and adaptability
2.2.2 Programs need to address workplace readiness
2.2.3. How do we better support Indigenous people?
2.2.4 How do we support vulnerable groups?
2.3 Program awareness and accessibility
2.3.1 Limited awareness and service gaps for some groups
2.3.2 Improving awareness and accessibility
2.4 Employment and skills training needs
2.4.1 The importance of identifying market needs
2.4.2 Employer role
2.4.3 Government role
3. Innovate (future needs)
3.1 Innovative approaches and partnerships
3.1.1 Evidence-based practices
3.1.2 Innovation in partnerships and collaboration
3.1.3 Social enterprises, community benefit agreements, and social finance
3.1.4 Early career planning and skills development
3.1.7 Entrepreneurship programs
3.1.8 Recognition of skills
3.1.9 Dedicated funding for innovation
3.2 Increasing responsiveness
3.2.1 Removing or reducing LMTA restrictions
3.2.2 Streamlining and simplifying program applications
3.2.3 Responding to jurisdictional and regional difference
3.2.4 Supporting continuous program improvements
3.2.5 Multi-year funding to achieve stability and foster innovation
4. Inform (what do we know)
4.1 Labour market information (LMI)
4.1.1 Who uses LMI, and how?
4.1.2 What are the features of “good” LMI?
4.1.3 The need to improve the production and dissemination of LMI
4.2 Engaging stakeholders
4.2.1 Identifying stakeholders
4.2.2 Effective approaches
4.3 Communicating with the public
4.3.1 The importance of both quantitative and qualitative information
4.3.2 Information gaps