Evidence of meeting #44 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was job.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Alexis Conrad  Director General, Horizontal Management and Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
  • Yves Gingras  Senior Director, Economic Policy Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
  • Catherine Scott  Director, Trades and Apprenticeship Division, Labour Market Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

4:25 p.m.

Director General, Horizontal Management and Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

Alexis Conrad

With regard to your comment around the sector council program, I'm sure you know the minister has announced a successor program to that, the sectoral intelligence program, which is approximately $30 million. Part of it will focus on sectoral-based LMI, to try to build that into the system, and eventually that will get morphed into Working in Canada tools and we'll make it available that way.

We expect later this year there will actually be a call for concepts. At that point, there will be a little more clarity in terms of what the department is looking for.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Am I right, then, that you don't know at this point how and how much of that information is going to be at our disposal and that we can rely on, pending that request for proposals?

4:25 p.m.

Director General, Horizontal Management and Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

Alexis Conrad

Essentially we've been working with the sector councils and other people who have interest in the program to get a sense of what their priorities are and to make sure that our call for proposals is consistent with what's going on in the labour market at the moment. That's one of the ways we're trying to fill that in.

Also, as you know, the department did cut the core funding to the sector council program, but the sector councils do have other sources of revenue. We expect in some cases they will continue to do some of the work they're currently doing.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

You have a minute left.

Ms. Boutin-Sweet, one minute, so make your question short, if you could.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Conrad, you referred to programs for aboriginals. You said that the government is investing in a strategy targeting employment for youth. You also said that the objective was to help young people acquire the skills, abilities and work experience needed for a successful transition into the labour market.

However, up until last year, there was already such a program in existence, the Wapikoni Mobile program, which consisted of itinerant workshops and studios where videos and music could be created. The idea was to allow young people to acquire basic skills.

Many witnesses have told us that basic skills are essential and that they should be the starting point, before more specific job training is provided. I find it very strange that last year the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development abolished the half-million dollar subsidy for that program, when our study showed that it did a very good job of meeting the needs of young aboriginals who wanted to join the labour market.

Why was that decision taken?

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

You certainly used up a full minute and then some, but if you want to have a short response, that would be fine.

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

I'd like a long response, but....

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Does anyone wish to respond?

4:30 p.m.

Director General, Horizontal Management and Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

Alexis Conrad

Yes, I will.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Okay, a short response.

4:30 p.m.

Director General, Horizontal Management and Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

Alexis Conrad

In regard to the specific project you mentioned, I'm not familiar with the project, but I would note that the government has increased the youth employment strategy envelope by $50 million. A number of our aboriginal programs, including the skills and partnership fund, which picks up a lot of the elements of previous programs, offer significant amounts of money to support youth.

One of the things we do know, and I agree, is that where people lack the basic and essential skills, they will struggle to get into and stay in the labour market. Lots of our programming—both within the youth employment strategy envelope but also through our office of literacy and essential skills—is targeted at working with provinces and with employers to increase investment in those kinds of interventions, so that people can move up their literacy and essential skills, and actually move into the workforce more easily and stay in the workforce for longer.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you.

With that, Mr. Shory, go ahead.

June 18th, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, witnesses.

I am from Calgary, Alberta, so I know that there is a huge shortage of skills and general labour in the energy sector. But during this study, I think we can all agree, we've found out that there are skills and labour shortages in other sectors as well, not only in the energy sector. Of course during this study we are trying to identify and obtain some solutions or suggestions on how to fix this issue.

Our government is working with businesses to identify and try to fix the skill shortage and labour problem. Can you provide some information to us on how the federal government, specifically your department, HRSDC, is working with private industry in order to address the skills and labour shortage issues, if you are?

4:30 p.m.

Senior Director, Economic Policy Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

Yves Gingras

I will try to outline some elements.

Alexis, feel free to complement, if you wish.

When it comes to working with the private sector, I can give one good example of a recent accomplishment. We've been able to incorporate in our basis of information—when it comes to labour market information—job postings that are collected by the private sector to improve the type of information that we bring. We know that the market takes time to adjust and may not fully adjust, so helping with better information is one way that we think we can support adjustments in the labour market.

We have a labour market in Canada that's very dynamic. There are a lot of changes occurring. Jobs often are filled by people who are currently employed. They will switch from one job to another. When we look at those jobs that are vacant, using information from the private sector is, we think, up-to-date information; we have one provider who provides us with three updates a week. So we have very up-to-date information that helps us complement the national surveys that we have and the information that we get mainly from the surveys of Statistics Canada.

That's a good example of where we partner with the private sector and get information in a cost-effective manner.

4:30 p.m.

Catherine Scott Director, Trades and Apprenticeship Division, Labour Market Integration Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development

I'll just add to that in terms of entry into the skilled trades. There has been a significant investment in both the apprenticeship incentive grants and the apprenticeship completion grants to encourage individuals to enter into the trades and to support them through their training. The apprenticeship job creation tax credit is another example of a support directly to employers to hire apprentices.