Canadian Manufacturing

Time running out to strike skills training deal with feds: Ontario

Only 40 days left before current labour market agreements expire, according to provincial minister

TORONTO—Ontario says unemployed Canadians risk losing programs that could help them find work if the federal government doesn’t step up.

Provincial Colleges, Training and Universities Minister Brad Duguid says time is running out to strike an agreement on the Canada Job Grant.

He says there are only 40 days left before the current labour market agreements expire and federal money funding provincially run job training programs runs out.

The provinces and territories have firmly resisted the contentious federal skills training proposal, which was the centrepiece of the Harper Conservatives’ 2013 budget but has yet to be implemented.

The proposed grant is supposed to provide $15,000 for each eligible worker, with the cost divided equally among Ottawa, the provinces and employers.

But the provincial governments say they want to see more flexibility before a deal can be reached.

They presented Ottawa with a counter-proposal earlier this month that would provide more flexibility to the provinces in how the proposed program would be funded, as well as how small businesses could participate.

Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney offered in December to cover the provincial portion, but no new money has been allocated to do it.

In the 2014 federal budget tabled last week, Ottawa announced it would launch the program on its own if a deal was not reached by April 1.

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