Politics & Policies

Canada Job Grant / Provinces react to budget measures

New budget measures aimed at delivering the government’s controversial Canada Job Grant program have upset some provinces in the middle of already fragile negotiations with Employment Minister Jason Kenney.

“We were offered a take it or leave it Canada Job Grant program,” P.E.I.’s Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said in a written statement Tuesday evening…

The Quebec government, which has disavowed itself of the Canada Job Grant from the moment it was proposed in last year’s federal budget, took even greater offence with Tuesday’s budget measure, calling it a “threat” to la belle province.

Quebec’s Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau issued a terse written statement Tuesday evening deploring the federal government’s new budget.

Ranking high on Marceau’s list of beefs with Ottawa was the federal government’s decision to deliver the Canada Job Grant directly through Service Canada.

“Not only is the Harper government standing firm on its announcement, but it has issued a thinly veiled threat to Quebec and the other provinces,” Marceau said.

Delivering the job grant through Service Canada would cause Quebec to lose $70 million in funding from Ottawa, the statement said.

“This encroachment into our areas of expertise is unacceptable,” Marceau said.

Quebec’s finance minister reiterated Quebec’s call to opt out with full compensation from the proposed Canada Job Grant — an option that was not part of Kenney’s most recent revised offer.

Ontario‘s Finance Minister Charles Sousa was also upset with the new federal budget, describing it as a “kick in the teeth” of Ontario.

On the proposed Canada Job Grant, however, Sousa said the provinces were “making some headway” in their negotiations with the federal government.

Alberta‘s minister of jobs, skills, training and labour welcomed the federal government’s investment in skills training.

In a telephone interview with CBC News Tuesday evening, Thomas Lukaszuk said “additional investments in skills development shows the federal government is recognizing the fact that jobs in Canada should be made available to Canadians first.”

On the delivery of the Canada Job Grant, Lukaszuk said he was “cautiously optimistic” that Kenney would come back with a “positive response” to the provinces’ counter-offer.

“Provincial programs have worked exceptionally well in Canada. I’m hoping we are going to grow on that and not set up a separate bureaucracy and a separate federal delivery of programs.”

“One shouldn’t be contemplating opting out until you exhaust all means of negotiations,” Lukaszuk said.

Nova Scotia‘s finance minister says she’s concerned Ottawa’s plans to forge ahead with the Canada Job Grant is targeted to the West and will result in slashed training programs in her province.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at New Canada Job Grant budget measures upset fragile talks – Politics – CBC News and Jobs training funds targeted to West, says Diana Whalen – Nova Scotia – CBC News.

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