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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Ottawa invests $1.5 billion in workforce agreements with provinces, territories

Friday, November 13, 2020 @ 2:39 PM | By Ian Burns

The federal government is spending $1.5 billion to assist people who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic re-enter the workforce.

The new funding, which was revealed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Nov. 13, is part of workforce development agreements (WDAs) Ottawa has negotiated with the provinces and territories. It is aimed at helping under-represented groups and those particularly hard-hit by the pandemic — such as construction, transportation and hospitality workers — quickly access supports such as skills training, employment counselling and financial assistance.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Trudeau said millions of Canadians have returned to work since losing their jobs at the start of the pandemic “but there is still much more we can do.”

“By investing in skills training and employment supports, we are investing in our biggest asset — our people,” said Trudeau. “We will keep working with all provinces and territories to get the economy back up and running and Canadians back to work.”

Ontario will receive $614 million, with $303 million allocated for Quebec and $212 million for British Columbia. Under the WDAs, provinces and territories have flexibility to support their individual recovery efforts from the pandemic. The scope of eligible expenses under these agreements has been broadened to include costs associated with online training, new physical distancing requirements and mental health supports.

“Working with our provincial and territorial counterparts, the government of Canada is getting Canadian workers the training and supports they need to get good jobs as our country cautiously recovers from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough. “Now more than ever, we need to strengthen workers’ futures and help them succeed as our economy recovers and evolves.”

The government has pledged to create one million jobs as the economy emerges from the pandemic. In October, Trudeau announced a $10-billion infrastructure program as part of its economic recovery plan.

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