A "closed" sign hangs in a store window in Ottawa, Thursday April 16, 2020. A new survey from Statistics Canada finds that nearly one-third of businesses do not know how long they can continue under existing conditions, as the pandemic's second wave portends a drawn-out winter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Feds to give $1.5 billion to help Canadians in hard-hit sectors train for new jobs

Feds to give $1.5 billion to help Canadians in hard-hit sectors train for new jobs

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will send $1.5 billion in job-training support to the provinces and territories to help Canadians in industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will help laid-off workers in sectors like construction, transportation and hospitality re-enter the workforce by bolstering access to skills training and employment services, Trudeau said Friday.

“Now more than ever the labour market is evolving quickly and workers need to be able to develop new skills,” Trudeau said.

The money comes at a critical time, with a new survey from Statistics Canada finding nearly one-third of businesses do not know how long they can keep going under existing conditions brought by the second wave of COVID-19.

Nearly 40 per cent of businesses have laid off staff since March and nearly one in five report they will be compelled to take drastic action in less than six months if cash flow does not improve.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate barely budged last month, sitting at 8.9 per cent compared with 9.0 per cent in September, to leave some 1.8 million people out of work.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce chief economist Trevin Stratton said the outlook for business owners is “grim” and called for sector-specific support to help the hospitality and arts-and-entertainment industries.

“The one-size-fits-all approach to support programs is not sustainable through 2022, and it may not be particularly useful at this stage of the pandemic,” he said.

While the government has pledged to sit down with the airline industry to start hammering out a bailout deal, Ottawa has shied away from sector-specific support, instead preferring programs available across industries.

A revamped COVID-19 aid package now before the Senate as part of Bill C-9 would extend a federal wage subsidy until next summer, expand a popular business loan program and redo a program for commercial rent relief.

The rent subsidy, whose precursor was widely criticized for requiring an opt-in from landlords who tended to shy away from it, now cuts them out of the process.

However, the rejigged program includes a requirement that entrepreneurs pay their rent before applying, putting the subsidy out of reach for many cash-strapped stores.

Facing backlash from industry, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland promised Thursday to pass followup legislation that would scrap that stipulation, and to instruct the Canada Revenue Agency to disregard it in the interim.

While the rent subsidy will be retroactive to Sept. 27 — when the original Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy expired — Trudeau said he urges swift passage of the bill, with many business owners barely scraping by amid renewed local lockdown orders.

“I told the premiers last night that anything they can do to encourage the senators that represent their jurisdiction to move forward quickly on passing Bill C-9 will be a big relief to business owners,” Trudeau said Friday.

Meanwhile, the $1.5 billion for job training — $614 million of it for Ontario — will flow to the provinces and territories under their workforce development agreements via a delivery network of employment service centres.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough highlighted manufacturing, retail, transportation, tourism and recreation as long-suffering industries where workers need support.

“I’m particularly concerned for those who already, even before the pandemic, face barriers to employment because of their race, gender or disability,” she said.

The funding comes on top of the $3.4 billion Ottawa is transferring to the provinces and territories in 2020-21 under workforce and labour market development agreements.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Jobs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

(Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)
Mask bylaws not popular in rural areas

Red Deer and Blackfalds bylaws requiring masks in public places kick in on Monday

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Innisfail RCMP arrest man following ‘lengthy pursuit’

Innisfail RCMP say a “lengthy pursuit” through a rural area ended with… Continue reading

hay
Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

In this Friday, March 13, 2020, photo, Nic Talbott looks up from his computer at his home in Lisbon, Ohio. Talbott was participating in an Army ROTC program after an Obama administration policy permitted transgender people already serving in the military to be allowed to do so openly. As vice president in 2012, Joe Biden endeared himself to many LGBTQ Americans by endorsing same-sex marriage even before Obama. Now, as president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBTQ activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Biden plans swift moves to protect and advance LGBTQ rights

As vice-president in 2012, Joe Biden endeared himself to many LGBTQ Americans… Continue reading

Canadian Olympic gymnast and National Sport School alumni Kyle Shewfelt announces his retirement in Calgary, Thursday, May 21, 2009. Calgary's board of education will close the National Sport School that has produced Olympic and Paralympic champions for 26 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary’s National Sport School to close, looks to join a different school division

Calgary’s National Sport School to close, looks to join a different school division

Canada's Erica Wiebe, left, celebrates after defeating Nigeria's Blessing Onyebuchi, right on the ground, to win Gold medal in women's FS 76Kg wrestling at the Commonwealth Games on Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Canada’s Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe eyes return to competition

Canada’s Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe eyes return to competition

Most Read