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Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Economic Action Plan, entitled The Road to Balance, Creating Jobs and Opportunities

The Federal Government released its 2014 Economic Action Plan, entitled The Road to Balance, Creating Jobs and Opportunities. In planning to balance the budget in 2015, the federal government offered few new or large items. Skills and training was a top agenda item, however, and the following highlights may be of interest to those in the education and training field.    

The Canada Job Grant
  • The Grant, originally announced in Budget 2013, will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, including tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. Employers will be required to contribute on average one-third of the total costs of training.
  • The Grant will be for short-duration training provided by an eligible third-party trainer, such as community colleges, career colleges, trade union centres and private trainers. Training can be provided in a classroom, on site at a workplace or online.
  • There are provisions for small businesses to allow for flexibility including the potential for in-kind contributions, such as the potential to include wages as part of the employer contribution. 
  • The budget highlighted the government’s commitment to work closely with provinces and territories toward the implementation of the Canada Job Grant and the renewal of the Labour Market Agreements. In jurisdictions where Agreements are not secured, the budget noted that the Government of Canada will deliver the Canada Job Grant starting April 1, 2014 directly through Service Canada, engaging employer networks through the Regional Development Agencies.
Essential Skills Ontario recognizes there are many unknown aspects of the Grant that need to be clarified. We continue to follow the negotiations between the Federal Government and the Provinces closely and hope for a positive outcome that will ultimately assist vulnerable adults to access the training opportunities they need. 

Other Training Items:
  • The federal government plans to expand the Canada Student Loans Program with the creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan. Under the program, apprentices enrolled in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship can apply for up to $4,000 in interest-free loans “per period” of training.
  • $75 million over three years to expand the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program, which will help unemployed older Canadians in smaller communities find jobs.
  • $40 million for the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program for entrepreneurs creating new businesses.
  • $40 million over two years for up to 3,000 internship positions in “high-demand fields.”
  • $15 million over three years to connect persons with developmental disabilities with jobs.
  • $11.4 million over four years to expand vocational training programs for Canadians with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

  • Invests $305 million over five years to extend and enhance broadband internet service for Canadians in rural and Northern communities. 
  • An additional $5 million per year for the New Horizons for Seniors Program to support additional community projects that benefit seniors. This funding can support municipalities, not-for-profits, social enterprises and other community partners to address the needs of seniors.

Measures aiming to reduce administrative costs and burdens for charities while encouraging increased giving, including:
  • Electronic filing of registration information and annual financial returns.
  • Greater clarity and flexibility for trustees of estates to maximize charitable donations from those estate

Essential Skills Ontario will continue to keep our stakeholders informed on these items as more details emerge. 

Thank you,
Essential Skills Ontario