In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the global pandemic, Canadians have demonstrated resilience, compassion, and adaptability. The commitment to shared values of compassion, courage, and determination has defined our collective response. As we move forward, the government, under the leadership of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, is poised to deliver bold and concrete actions to build a healthier, more resilient future.
Climate Action and Environmental Responsibility
Recognizing the urgent need for climate action, Canadians are calling for swift and substantial measures. Acknowledging climate change as an existential threat, the government emphasizes the importance of a collaborative effort to build a cleaner, greener future. The Minister is directed to seek opportunities within the portfolio to support the government's commitment to reducing emissions, creating clean jobs, and addressing climate-related challenges faced by communities.
Reconciliation and Indigenous Rights
The discovery of unmarked graves near former residential schools has underscored the imperative to expedite the path to reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. The Minister is directed to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and work in partnership with Indigenous communities to advance their rights. This commitment aligns with the government's dedication to truth and reconciliation.
Addressing Systemic Inequities
A core focus is placed on addressing systemic inequities and disparities embedded in the fabric of Canadian society. The Minister is expected to ensure that the government's priorities and work reflect the diversity of Canadians. Inclusive collaboration with various communities, including women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and linguistic minorities, is emphasized. Intersectional lenses, such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus), will inform decision-making processes.
Strengthening Public Policies and Government Practices
Recognizing the evolving landscape, the government calls for an evaluation of practices to ensure agility and effectiveness in serving Canadians. The Minister is expected to lead in adapting and developing more agile approaches to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. Collaboration with Parliamentarians and constructive relationships with Opposition Critics are emphasized to ensure the success of parliamentary initiatives.
Minister's Mandate: A Vision for Canada's Future
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion is entrusted with a multifaceted mandate, addressing immediate priorities and fostering long-term resilience. The commitment includes:
1. Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
The government aims to secure the passage and implementation of a new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit. This initiative supports workers facing interruptions due to public health measures, aligning with the overarching goal of supporting the recovery of a strong middle class.
2. Training Personal Support Workers
Collaboration with the Minister of Health and provinces and territories is emphasized to train up to 50,000 new personal support workers. This initiative seeks to address workforce needs and contribute to the broader healthcare system.
3. Canada Disability Benefit Act
The design, introduction, and implementation of a Canada Disability Benefit Act are outlined, focusing on providing support for low-income working age persons with disabilities. This initiative aligns with the government's commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.
4. Modernizing Employment Insurance (EI)
A comprehensive plan to modernize the EI system is highlighted, ensuring inclusivity for all workers, including those in seasonal employment and the digital platform economy. The plan includes new benefits for self-employed Canadians, adoptive parents, and long-tenured workers, showcasing a commitment to evolving with the changing nature of work.
5. Canada's Disability Inclusion Action Plan
The Minister is tasked with finalizing and releasing Canada's Disability Inclusion Action Plan, in consultation with the disability community. The plan addresses financial security, employment, and inclusive spaces, reflecting a commitment to advancing the rights of Canadians with disabilities.
6. Transforming Canada Student Loans
The government outlines initiatives to permanently eliminate federal interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, increase repayment assistance thresholds, and allow new parents to pause loan repayments. This comprehensive approach aims to alleviate financial burdens on students and new parents.
7. Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy
Supporting a transition to a low carbon economy, the government emphasizes the importance of a Just Transition. This includes launching a Clean Jobs Training Centre, redesigning and implementing the Canada Training Benefit, and addressing training gaps to ensure all Canadian workers can benefit from sustainable opportunities.
8. Strengthening Foreign Worker Programs
Collaboration with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship is outlined to establish a Trusted Employer system, simplify permit renewals, and enhance the Global Talent Stream. These initiatives aim to support Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers and improve foreign credential recognition.
9. Agricultural Labour Strategy
The Minister of Employment is directed to work with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to develop a sector-specific Agricultural Labour Strategy. This strategy addresses persistent labour shortages in farming and food processing, contributing to the vitality of rural communities.
10. Supporting Inclusivity in Training
Initiatives are outlined to make training more accessible, particularly for women and vulnerable groups. This includes requiring businesses supported through the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to include wrap-around supports, fostering a more inclusive training environment.
The comprehensive mandate entrusted to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion reflects the government's commitment to building a resilient, inclusive, and stronger Canada. The outlined initiatives address immediate needs while laying the groundwork for a future where all Canadians have a real and fair chance at success. As the Minister embarks on these commitments, the government emphasizes the importance of accountability, adaptability, and active engagement with Canadians, ensuring progress is regularly reported and priorities are continually assessed. This vision, encapsulated in the Minister's mandate, represents a crucial step towards a better future for all Canadians.