TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – In a keynote speech on Wednesday at the Mining Association of Canada's board meeting, Canada’s Employment and Social Development and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said the country was committed to increase the skills and employability of Canadians to overcome skills shortages in the mining sector.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. With tremendous growth projected in Canada's mining sector in the coming years, we need to ensure that Canadians have the skills they need to fill the jobs available today and in the future," Kenney said.
He added that in order to continue with the country’s economic growth, it must address the skills mismatch, which is one of the biggest challenges Canada faces.
“With the Canada job grant, our government is committed to fixing the skills mismatch in Canada, where we have too many Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians," he said.
Kenney underlined his approach for addressing labour market challenges, specifically implementing the Canada job grant, a plan to make federal funding for job creation and training more demand-driven and ensure that employers were part of the solution.
He noted that the apprenticeship system should be strengthened, that the labour market needed better integration into post-secondary education and that foreign credential recognition had to be improved.
Kenney called on employers to recruit individuals from groups that were under-represented in the workforce, such as people with disabilities, youth and Aboriginal people.
The federal government’s ‘Economic Action Plan 2013’ proposed new measures to equip Canadians with the skills and training they need. These included the Canada job grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to increase the labour market participation of under-represented groups, such as people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.
He noted that the natural resource sector currently supported more than 30 000 Aboriginal jobs, making natural resources a leading employer of Aboriginal people in Canada.
"Given the proximity of many First Nations communities to large economic projects, there is a tremendous opportunity to address some of Canada's skills shortages, while improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal people."