Canada Job Grant won't be in place July 1 in most provinces

Most if not all of the provinces and territories will fail to deliver the federal government's controversial Canada Job Grant in time for Canada Day, despite a three-month extension given to them to implement and deliver the grant by July 1.

Workers looking to upgrade skills under Canada Job Grant will likely need to wait until fall

Canadian workers looking to upgrade their skills through the Canada Job Grant will have to wait a little longer before they can apply, due to further delays in implementing the program. (David Moir/Reuters)

Most if not all of the provinces and territories will fail to deliver the federal government's controversial Canada Job Grant in time for Canada Day, despite a three-month extension given to them to implement and deliver the grant by July 1.

Less than half of the provinces and territories that agreed to implement the grant last spring have finalized their funding agreements with Ottawa. The six provinces are: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

The Canada Job Grant, a centrepiece proposal made by the federal government during last year's budget, will provide workers with up to $15,000 to help them land a new or better job.

The federal government will provide employers with up to $10,000 to train each worker, with employers kicking in up to $5,000. The grant would cover the cost of training each worker including paying for their tuition and training materials.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney succeeded in getting the provinces and territories on board following several months of intense negotiations, and agreed to a request for a three-month extension to deliver the grant.

Of those six provinces that have finalized their funding agreements with Ottawa, three have confirmed to CBC News they will not have the grant in place by July 1. And because the other seven provinces and territories have not yet finalized their funding agreements with Ottawa, they too will need more time to see the grant through.  

A government official who was not authorized to speak on the record told CBC News that Ottawa expects different provinces will implement the grant on different dates, but that both levels of government are working in good faith to deliver the grant "as soon as possible."

That means Canadian workers looking to upgrade their skills through this grant will have to wait a little longer before they can apply, in some provinces that means they will have to wait until fall.

Grant delayed until fall in some provinces

B.C.'s Shirley Bond, one of three key ministers who negotiated face to face with Kenney, told CBC News the province hopes to have the programs in place in three months from now.

"B.C. has been meeting with key skills training stakeholders and employers for their input and advice on how to best deliver the Canada Job Fund and Canada Job Grant in British Columbia with an eye to being open for applications this fall."

In February, Bond said it was unrealistic for the federal government to expect the provinces and territories to have the skills training program in place by April 1.

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada showed the provinces and territories had initially asked Kenney for a six-month extension. In the end, he agreed to three months.

Employers and workers in Alberta will also have to wait until the fall before the Canada Job Grant is in place.

Alberta's Kyle Fawcett will now oversee the delivery of the grant after Thomas Lukaszuk threw his hat into the leadership race to replace Allison Redford, who resigned as premier in March.

Janice Schroeder, a spokeswoman for Fawcett, told CBC News that the grant was "not yet" in place.

"We will be announcing the provisions likely towards the end of July, and people will be able to apply in the fall," Schroeder said in an email on Friday.

Different minister in charge in Ontario

In Ontario, Brad Duguid, who was an outspoken critic of the grant, will no longer be responsible for the skills training program, as that responsibility was shifted over to another minister.

Fresh off the campaign trail, Reza Moridi, who is the minister of research and innovation, has also been asked to take over as minister of training, colleges and universities following this week's cabinet shuffle. That means it will fall on Moridi to put the programs in place.

Moridi could not confirm how long after July 1 the grant would be delayed, but said he looked forward to working with Kenney to ensure the programs are implemented "effectively" and serve "the best interests of Ontarians." 

"The province will continue to work closely with our federal counterparts on this significant agreement to better connect employers to job training and the labour market while continuing to protect programs in place for our most marginalized and vulnerable workers," Moridi told CBC News in a statement on Friday.

A spokesperson for Kenney said the minister was pleased that the provinces and territories agreed to work with the federal government on the delivery of the grant.

"The Canada Job Grant will ensure skills training actually leads to a guaranteed job and that employers are putting more money into equipping Canadians for available jobs," said Alexandra Fortier, a spokeswoman for Kenney, in a written statement to CBC News on Friday.

The Canada Job Grant will be delivered through the new Canada Job Fund, which is the name the federal government gave to the former Labour Market Agreements that expired at the end of March.


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