Canada Job Grant counter-offer includes 2-year review

posted on February 4, 2014

By Susana Mas, CBC News | Link to Article

By Susana Mas, CBC News | Link to Article

If the provinces and territories have their way, the controversial Canada Job Grant would be delayed six months and phased in over a longer period and would be subject to review after two years, according to a copy of their counter-offer obtained by Radio-Canada.

Ministers Shirley Bond from British Columbia, Jody Carr from New Brunswick and Allen Roach from P.E.I. presented federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney with their counter-proposal to his Canada Job Grant in Toronto Tuesday.

While no deal was reached today, both sides said the meeting was “productive,” in separate statements issued Tuesday evening.

“The federal government will take the time to carefully review the provinces’ latest proposal,” Nick Koolsbergen, Kenney’s director of communications, said in a written statement, adding that the minister is still hopeful a deal can be reached by April 1.

The provinces said in a statement issued by P.E.I’s Roach, “our new proposal is built on a principled approach — encouraging employer involvement in training while protecting vulnerable Canadians, which provides more flexibility on how the program would be funded, including more flexibility for small and medium-sized businesses.”

Alternate funding

As CBC News reported last week, under the provinces’ counter-offer, Ottawa would give the provinces other options in the way the grant is funded and give employers more flexibility to participate in the grant.

The provinces currently receive $500 million a year in funding from Ottawa under existing Labour Market Agreements set to expire on March 31. But under the proposed Canada Job Grant, the provinces would lose $300 million, or nearly 60 per cent, of Ottawa’s contribution.

In a copy of the provinces’ counter-offer dated Jan. 28 and marked “confidential” which was obtained by Radio-Canada, the controversial grant would be paid for through three funding streams, including the Labour Market Development Agreement and other sources of revenue.

The provinces would like to see the Canada Job Grant pushed back to Oct. 1, instead of April 1, and would gradually see it phased in over a period of six years instead of four.

The provinces would also have the right to review the grant after two years and “make required changes or move funds to programs or services that are yielding better results.”

All provinces and territories would be allowed to opt out with full compensation — a position Quebec has been advocating since the federal government introduced the grant in last year’s federal budget.