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Evidence of meeting #35 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 need.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Arthur Sweetman  Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual
Jean-Marie Berthelot  Vice-President, Programs and Executive Director, Quebec Office, Canadian Institute for Health Information
Rachel Bard  Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nurses Association
Lisa Little  Consultant, Health Human Resources, Canadian Nurses Association

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ed Komarnicki

Perhaps we could get the members and presenters back to their seats. We certainly appreciate the visiting during the break. I'm sure there were a lot of good questions posed and answers given.

4:40 p.m.

A voice

Better answers.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ed Komarnicki

Perhaps they were better questions, but there are good answers always.

That said, on a more formal basis, we'll ask Mr. Cuzner to commence his round.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Speaking of better questions—

4:40 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ed Komarnicki

—with some better questions.

Go ahead.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

—I have three that I want to ask, but first, Professor Sweetman, you're an economist.

4:40 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

That's right.

April 25th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

I'll ask you and any of the others to comment on something that we've heard from the corporate sector. I appreciate your comments on the provincial sponsorship, I absolutely do, but what we've heard from a couple of the corporations here is that they still believe there's a federal role. I think your reference to the federal role is a light touch, and I appreciate that.

One thing they floated is something that works really well in Ontario now, a tax credit for co-op opportunities or mentorships, and what have you. Do you see that being a benefit coming from the federal government as well, as far as closing that skills gap domestically is concerned, with our own trained people from Canadian institutions?

4:40 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

So are you focusing explicitly on youth—

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Yes, exactly.

4:40 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

—or in general?

In some sense, the federal government already has implemented a program like this. Under EI—

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

A tax credit?

4:40 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

Yes. You rebate EI premiums for net new hires to small firms. Expanding that to firms of all sizes, I think, would be a great idea. Focusing it on youth, I think, would be problematic.

If you think back, we used to have a program where we did focus that on youth. In 1998 and 1999, unemployment insurance premiums were rebated for net new hires of youths between the ages of 18 and 24. I think what the research is showing—I've done some of this myself and some of my Ph.D. students have done some of this—is that you saw firms distort the market, preferentially hiring people between the ages of 18 and 24 and not hiring them between the ages of 25 and 26. So I think age—

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Yes, but this would be for training opportunities as opposed to just new hires.

4:45 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

I understand, but ultimately you won't want people trained and dropped. That's fairly useless. I think there's a lot of evidence where new hire programs have been evaluated by HRSDC. They've been tried and they've had mixed results.

I think what you're doing right now works fairly well. It could be beefed up a bit with an EI premium rebate—and you can adjust the size of the rebate—not just to small firms, but to all firms. I think something like that would be very good in stimulating employment growth without paying for a bunch of people who are going to be hired anyway.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

As opposed to just a tax credit...?

4:45 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

It's effectively a tax credit.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

It is. Yes.

4:45 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

you can structure it through EI or you can structure it as a tax credit.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Yes.

4:45 p.m.

Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University, As an Individual

Dr. Arthur Sweetman

It's six or half a dozen, so I don't care how you structure it.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Okay. I appreciate that.

If I could, I'll throw a question at Ms. Bard with regard to Canadian-trained nurses.

I don't have any figures, but I'm sure you do, on how many nurses we bleed, how many we lose, especially to the United States, nurses who are trained here and leave the country. Do we have any indication of how many that would be annually?

4:45 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nurses Association

Rachel Bard

I don't have specific numbers here, but we know that if we had a unique identifier we would be able to start tracking that. We had an assumption and know that they are—

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Is that information out there? We don't have that?