While there are now signs of recovery in the labour market—Canada has regained all of the jobs lost during the downturn—Canadians have felt the impacts of the global economic recession. Canada's Economic Action Plan includes $9.1 billion over two years to support those workers most affected and help them access opportunities through skills development and training. The Government delivered additional support under the Economic Action Plan of over $3.7 billion for the unemployed in 2009–10 and is providing a further $5.4 billion in 2010–11.
|(millions of dollars—cash basis)|
|Strengthening benefits for Canadian workers||1,258||1,550||2,808|
|Enhancing the availability of training||896||996||1,892|
|Maintaining low Employment Insurance
|Total—Helping the Unemployed||3,725||5,353||9,077|
|Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.|
Over the course of the recession, this additional assistance, combined with the natural increase in EI benefits that occurs during economic downturns, led to a significant increase in the temporary support provided by the Employment Insurance (EI) program to Canadians. Total EI benefits and support measures were $5.3 billion higher in 2009–10 than in 2008–09 (Chart 2.2.1).
In areas where unemployment has risen, the program has automatically adjusted to lower eligibility criteria to qualify and extended the duration of EI benefits. As of August 2010, 36 out of the 58 EI regions had a lower eligibility requirement and higher duration of benefits than they did in October 2008. As such, 83.1 per cent of the labour force population had easier access and longer benefit durations. All regions in B.C. and Alberta have seen a decrease in their eligibility requirements. In addition, 15 regions in Ontario and 5 regions in Quebec have also experienced a decrease in their eligibility requirements.
The EI premium rate is remaining at $1.73 per $100 in insurable earnings in 2010, the lowest level since 1982. Based on current projections, this represents projected relief of $9.2 billion over 2009 and 2010 for Canadian workers and their employers relative to what would have been the case had rates been set at the break-even level over these two years. This fiscal cost excludes the additional $2.9 billion for enhanced EI benefits and training announced in Budget 2009.
Canada's Economic Action Plan took immediate and decisive action to protect jobs and help Canadians directly affected by the global recession. At the same time, the Government has maintained a focus on the economy of the future by contributing to the development of a skilled, flexible and knowledgeable workforce. Through these initiatives, the Government is continuing to help Canadians and support jobs and training in 2010–11.
The Brick Canada (Ontario)—The Brick Canada, one of the country's largest volume home furnishing retailers, experienced significantly weaker sales at the onset of the recession. Like many companies across the country facing a similar situation, The Brick wanted to avoid reducing their work force. Seeking an alternative, Dana Dryden, the Director of the Distribution Ontario Centre, heard about work-sharing through Service Canada. The Brick's work-sharing agreement started on June 28, 2009, and ended on June 26, 2010, and provided 300 employees with secure employment. Since the end of the program, the employees have gone back to working full-time hours and are confident of a promising future with the company.
Trecan Combustion (Halifax, N.S.)—Trecan Combustion, a Canadian company that has been designing and manufacturing snowmelters for over 35 years, experienced difficult times in 2009 as sales slowed. Faced with this dramatic change in the business environment, the company contemplated laying off workers. However, rather than letting people go, Trecan turned to the work-sharing program, which provided EI benefits to qualifying workers willing to accept reduced hours. David Regan, the Production Manager at Trecan, said that the program allowed the company to maintain a strong core group of workers. This will help the company as soon as work picks up by enabling it to keep and support some of its most experienced, hard-working employees, which they might otherwise have lost.
Kingston, Ont.— During her internship with the Kingston Sustainability Centre, Katie McKenzie had the opportunity to gain more than experience. With support from the Youth Eco Internship Program, she is getting closer to her dream of being a primary school teacher. She hopes to teach at the local school board, and her internship allowed her to put her teaching skills to excellent use in developing and implementing curriculum-based education programs focusing on sustainability. Visitors to the Kingston Sustainability Centre can learn how to become more sustainable in their daily activities and choices. With the knowledge she gained and the connections she made in the community, Katie will have a promising future when she finishes her internship.
Victoria, B.C.—Amy Medve is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a wildlife biologist thanks to the Youth Eco Internship Program. She applied for funding through the program and then approached the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary in Victoria, B.C. for an internship. Through this internship, Amy is gaining valuable experience by being able to focus on breeding bird research and evaluating the types of birds that use the park for breeding. She is learning skills that are vital to becoming a wildlife biologist and that will allow her to contribute to the field of environmental sciences.
Inuvik, N.W.T.—Terry is a professional cook who recognized the opportunity that skilled trades offer. When he lost his job in Windsor, Ontario, a restaurant in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, made him an offer he couldn't refuse. He moved to Inuvik, where he completed an apprenticeship at the Mackenzie Hotel, and he has been working there ever since. Terry's dream would not have been realized if he had not benefited from the Government of Canada's Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant. The two grants are offered to registered apprentices in designated Red Seal trades. Since completing his training, Terry has even had the honour of cooking for the Prime Minister and the Governor General when they visited Inuvik.
Calgary, Alta.—Dana Hawkes is a construction electrician who has benefited from the Apprenticeship Completion Grant. Once she became a certified Red Seal journeyperson, she was able to use the grant to apply her skills and confidence to work as a construction electrician on many different projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. Dana feels that she has chosen the right trade because of the mental and physical challenges the job provides. Her long-term goal is to open her own green electrical business and help homeowners make their houses more eco-friendly.
Saskatoon, Sask.—Dylan Ratt was frustrated with being unemployed, and his future brightened as a result of the Bridges and Foundations Career Development Corporation. Canada's Economic Action Plan invested $2.9 million in the corporation through the federal government's Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) program. The corporation supports major economic opportunities identified in the residential construction industry in and around Saskatoon. With training provided for up to 600 Aboriginal people in the region, it is expected that at least 400 participants will secure long-term jobs in construction. Dylan, now an exterior finisher with Global Exteriors in Saskatoon, believes the project gave him the opportunity to find employment and made a huge difference to him and his family.
Sydney, N.S.—The Prosperity Project is a partnership-based initiative supported by the ASEP program. As part of Budget 2007, the Unama'ki Partnership for Prosperity project received $2.1 million in funding. Canada's Economic Action Plan included an additional investment of $1.2 million for phase two of the project. Serving as a role model for future graduates and for his children, Jason Johnson feels that employment and training opportunities with the ASEP program will allow Aboriginal people to obtain skills and employment in the environmental field and other trades.
Corner Brook, N.L.—Having had difficulty securing work in her field of study, Tracey Pells researched programs that would help her establish her own business. She came across Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's Self-Employment Program and has moved forward on her career goals by leasing a year-round practice facility for golfers. The Self-Employment Program is one of a broad range of EI training programs that provide financial assistance to help unemployed Canadians find jobs and employers find workers.
|(millions of dollars)|
|An extra 5 weeks of EI benefits||796||575||575|
|EI—long tenured workers
(Career Transition Assistance program)
(extension of regular benefits)
|Wage Earner Protection Program||22||25||25|
|Enhancing the Availability of Training|
|EI training programs||500||500||500|
|Strategic Training and Transition Fund||250||250||250|
|Canada Summer Jobs Program||10||10||10|
|Federal public service student
|Targeted Initiative for Older Workers||5||34||34|
|Apprenticeship Completion Grant||39||40||40|
|Foreign Credential Recognition program||12||30||30|
|Aboriginal Skills and Employment
|Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic
|Aboriginal Human Resources
|Subtotal—Enhancing the Availability of Training||896||996||996|
|Keeping EI premium rates frozen for 2010||1,570||2,807||2,807|
|Total—Helping the Unemployed||3,725||5,353||5,353|
|Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.|