The Canada Jobs Grant will not work for people who face barriers to employment, especially Aboriginal Manitobans. As Shauna Mackinnon wrote in The Canada Jobs Grant: Perpetuating Aboriginal Exclusion, the new federal program will take money away from successful programs that are helping unemployed people get the training they require to move into the labour force. In Manitoba, the changes remove $11-million federal dollars from programs that do important pre-employment education and training with Aboriginal students and lead to career-track jobs that pay a living wage. Even with the new offer from the federal government, which eliminates the requirement for provincial matching contributions to the Canada Jobs Grant, the provinces are still forced to decide to back-fill these programs or eliminate them. Federal off-loading to the provinces persists.
The Canada Jobs Grant requires matching funding from employers, and shifts job training priorities to employers. This may work in larger manufacturing centres like southern Ontario, but will not work in Manitoba. Manitoba\’s relatively low unemployment rate — which does not include many workers who have given up looking for a job, or who have never looked for one — requires a different approach: bringing excluded Manitobans into the labour force.
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