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Premier David Alward says the labour force and skills development strategy is a vital piece of the government's overall action plan designed to accelerate economic growth. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

The New Brunswick government has released a new labour force and skills development strategy, which is expected to help the province meet the increased demand for workers created by the proposed west-east pipeline.

The three-year strategy, unveiled in Fredericton on Monday, includes support for the K-12 and post-secondary education system to prepare students adequately for labour force needs.

It also includes support for learning and skills development, as well as support for the retention and attraction of highly-skilled individuals.

"Our approach will help ensure that New Brunswickers are given the skills and training support they need to meet the current and future needs of the province's labour force and remain here at home," Premier David Alward said in a statement.

Among the 44 priority action items in the 35-page document, the provincial government plans to expand successful pilot projects in schools, such as the Teen Apprenticeship Program in Saint John and pursue to development of a regionally streamlined apprenticeship program through the Atlantic Workforce Partnership.

The provincial government will also develop a "women in trades" program, designed to identify "job-ready women" interested in pursuing the trades and work with the private sector to identify which occupations need workers.

Earlier this month, TransCanada Corp. announced plans to move forward with its proposed Energy East Pipeline.

The $12-billion project, which still needs regulatory approval, would send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.

It has the possibility of creating 2,000 jobs during the construction phase of the pipeline and a few hundred refining jobs after, according to some estimates from the New Brunswick government.

The project would also include a new $300-million deep water marine terminal at Irving Oil Ltd.'s existing import terminal in Saint John.

Irving Oil officials have said the terminal's construction will create "hundreds of jobs" and the facility will employ up to 50 people once it is finished.

TransCanada expects to start seeking regulatory approvals on the pipeline in 2014 and the oil could start flowing to Eastern Canada by late 2017.

The document, New Brunswick's Labour Force and Skills Development Strategy 2013-2016, also commits to:

  • Implementing enhanced employer wage incentives for priority group clients to assist in securing labour force attachments and opportunities.
  • Revitalizing the Population Growth Strategy for fiscal 2013-14.
  • Funding a First Nations co-ordinator who will facilitate linkages and augment access to literacy, essential skills and apprenticeship services on First Nations communities.