Mr. Chair, it is my pleasure to rise this evening to elaborate on the targeted initiative for older workers. This particular program is cost shared federally, provincially and territorially. It is an employment program created to provide a range of employment activities to older workers who live and work in vulnerable communities and who have lost their jobs.
The projects will include activities such as assessment counselling, skills upgrading and work experience for new jobs. It will target communities experiencing ongoing high unemployment and/or high reliance on a single employer or industry. The census metropolitan areas with populations greater than 250,000 are now eligible for the programming.
I would like to say that we already have an agreement with Quebec, and six more provinces and two territories are already interested in working with us.
It is essential, we have found, that we keep older workers active in the labour market. We need to find ways of working with our provincial partners to reintegrate older workers into the workforce as quickly as possible. Not only does this supply the labour market with much needed workers, but it allows older workers to continue their contributions to their communities and to share their wisdom with others.
I am not alone in saying this. In a recent job strategy and thematic review, the OECD strongly indicated that more focus should be given to strategies that retrain and integrate older workers into the labour market.