Mr. Speaker, our government's priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That is why Canadians elected a strong, stable, Conservative majority government. Canadians understood that the economic leadership of the Prime Minister was key to navigating the difficult economic times we faced.
That trust paid off, and we have seen the creation of more than 900,000 net new jobs. Most are full-time jobs in the private sector, with over two-thirds being in high wage industries. This reflects the strength of Canada's economy amidst global economic uncertainty.
As good as these results are, however, our focus is still on getting Canadians back to work. While there are currently thousands of jobs across Canada going unfilled, there are still too many Canadians looking for work. We are confronted with mismatches in some regions between the existing skills of the local labour force and the skills that are required by employers for new jobs. This is leading to shortages in some occupations that are key to our competitiveness and continued economic growth.
As a member of the human resources committee, I have heard many employer and employee groups appear before the committee to discuss how we can address this growing skills gap. I have also heard this from employers and employees in the great riding of Mississauga—Streetsville.
Our committee has travelled across Canada to gather testimony. We focused on apprentices, persons with disabilities and those in rural and remote parts of the country. In every one of these studies, in every corner of the country, we have heard of the growing skills mismatch and how this is a pressing issue facing our economy.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 details the government's strategy to connect Canadians with these jobs. Through our EAP, we will equip Canadians with the skills and training they need to be hired in these quality, well-paying jobs.
We announced, as an example, the creation of the Canada jobs grant, which could provide $15,000 or more per person. This grant would shift the planning and delivery of training from government to job creators. This would directly connect Canadians who are unemployed or those looking to advance within their workplace with a job that is currently going unfilled.
We would create opportunities for apprentices by making it easier for them to get the experience they need to get to journeyperson status. We would also provide funding for 5,000 more internships for those who have recently graduated from college or university, and we would provide unprecedented support to groups that have faced barriers in the past to full labour market participation, including persons with disabilities, youth, aboriginal peoples and newcomers, so that they too can find meaningful work.
I mention these examples because I believe there is a misperception as to the intentions of the government when it comes to this program. Our government is doing everything in its power to ensure Canadians have the first crack at available jobs. We are investing in the skills of Canadians in unprecedented ways to ensure they have the qualifications to find better-paying employment.
Employers need to prove there are no Canadians available to fill a job before they can turn to foreign workers through the temporary foreign worker program. In areas of absolute and acute labour shortages, the temporary foreign worker program exists to help businesses get short-term workers to grow their businesses.
I know the opposition members appreciate the need for this program. How do I know that? At least eight NDP MPs lobbied for more TFWs in their ridings, and at least five Liberal MPs have done the same.
While we can all agree that temporary foreign workers should not displace Canadian workers, it is a little hypocritical to have the opposition members across the way vilify a program in public when in private they are demanding more from it.
On one hand, the member for Cape Breton—Canso—