New Brunswick

Government rebranding employment offices, reformatting services

The Department of Post Secondary Training and Labour is changing the way it operates its employment programs. The department is rebranding its 19 employment offices under the name Working NB and consolidating its current programs into one fund, called Workplace Connections.

Government will continue to spend $120 million on its employment programs

Trevor Holder, the minister in charge of training and labour, said the government is tailoring its employment programs to meet individual needs, instead of making clients fill out an application and meet certain criteria. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

The Department of Post Secondary Training and Labour is changing the way it operates its employment programs.

The department is rebranding its 19 employment offices under the name Working NB and consolidating its current programs into one fund, called Workplace Connections. 

The government's employment programs, including One-Job Pledge and the Workforce Expansion Program, will still exist, but those seeking help will no longer be required to fill out an application. 

Trevor Holder, the minister for the department, said it wanted to change how it offers existing wage subsidy programs to make it easier for employers and employees to access those services.

"We were hearing from employers and employees across this province that both said they didn't know what was available," Holder said.

Holder also said staff spend too much time examining applications, when they could be tailoring a program to meet the specific needs of the employer or employee. Favouring a more customized approach, the department decided to scrap the criteria for its employment programs.

"Our whole model, up until now, has been based on a 1970s model where we had a really high unemployment rate," said Holder, adding New Brunswick now has jobs and not enough workers to fill positions. New Brunswick's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.1 per cent last month, even though the province lost 1,200 jobs.

Instead of applying to a specific program, an employee or employer can now enter a Working NB office and meet with a workforce consultant to match their needs to an employment program. 

"This will reduce a lot of red tape," Holder said.

The government spends $120 million on its employment programs. That money will be carried over into the new single fund.

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