The Liberal Party would increase investments in job-training programs for people in skilled trades if it wins the Oct. 19 federal election, leader Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
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During a visit to a union-run training facility for plumbers and steamfitters in Waterloo, Ont., Trudeau pledged over $750 million in federal funding for the training initiatives:
- About $500 million for existing labour market development agreements with the provinces and territories.
- $200 million to training for people who do not qualify for employment insurance or are currently unemployed.
- $50 million to renew and expand funding for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy.
Trudeau said the commitments will undo damage caused by Conservative cuts to the Labour Market Agreements — partnerships between the federal governments and provinces meant to increase the participation of underrepresented groups, such as people with disabilities, in the labour force. Agreements with some of the provinces were scaled back last year.
A Grit government would also put aside $25 million per year in new training facilities, and work with employers and the labour sector to boost apprenticeship opportunities on federal infrastructure projects.
"We need to train qualified and skilled workers who can fill well-paid jobs within the 21st-century economy," Trudeau said.
Trudeau also said his party's resolve to strengthen the middle class is a testament to the Liberal commitment to workers' rights.
"Labour movements in this country are an essential part of that — part of fighting for good wages for Canadians."
Late last week, the Liberals pledged $1.5 billion over four years for employment programs aimed at young people.
Both commitments are tied closely to the Liberals' plan to invest $125 billion over 10 years in different types of infrastructure — nearly $60 billion more than the current government has slated over the same period to build new projects and maintain existing infrastructure.
The plan would mean three consecutive years of deficits of up to $10 billion before the books are balanced by 2019.
Trudeau made Tuesday's announcement in the riding of Waterloo. The Liberals lost the riding to the Conservatives by only a handful of votes in 2008, and came a close second in 2011.
He was also asked when the Liberals would provide a fully costed platform. He declined to address the question, pointing instead to his party's fiscal framework that he says shows Canadians where the Liberals would spend money.
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With files from CBC's Margo McDiarmid and The Canadian Press