Canada Job Grant deal reached with Quebec, says Jason Kenney
Quebec the last province to sign up for agreement on federal funding for skills training
Quebec has joined all other provinces and territories in a tentative agreement with the federal government on the Canada Job Grant, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said today in the House of Commons.
Kenney made the announcement in question period. The news follows his announcement last Friday that 12 provinces and territories had negotiated a tentative agreement with the federal government about the skills training money.
"And so, Mr. Speaker, we will proceed with the Canada Job Grant," Kenney said.
Quebec Labour Minister Agnès Maltais thanked Kenney for being open to negotiation and for recognizing Quebec's "unique character."
"We worked in total transparency, in good faith, and they finished by adhering to our idea that the Quebec way of doing it is the right one," she said in Quebec City.
The agreement is for six years, Maltais said.
Leaders of Montreal's business community said they're pleased with the deal.
“This agreement is good news for the Montreal metropolitan region, where more than half of all jobs in the province are situated. This agreement recognizes that Quebec has a system of training of the workforce that works well and that meets the needs of Quebec companies,” said Michel Leblanc, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
Speaking outside the House after question period, Kenney said the provinces and federal government are working toward final bilateral agreements. He hopes to finalize them by the end of this month.
Proof 'federalism can work'
Quebec's share will be $115 million and known as the Canada-Quebec job fund, he said.
"It's proof of how open federalism can work," Kenney said.
The province has a different model from the others, which includes unions in a tripartite arrangement with government and employers, he added. Employers are legally obliged to invest one per cent of their payroll costs in job training.
Last week, B.C.'s minister of jobs, tourism, and skills told CBC News that an agreement in principle over the grant was made possible because Ottawa's final offer was notably different from the take-it-or-leave-it grant sprung on the provinces during last year's federal budget.
"The government's final offer is significantly different from the unilateral announcement the government made without consultation in last year's federal budget," Shirley Bond said in an interview Friday afternoon.
Kenney sealed the deal by making several concessions, which he took to cabinet for approval, CBC News reported last week.