Atlantic Ministers concerned about the impacts of Federal Workforce Funding cuts

Atlantic Workforce Ministers met on June 6, 2024 to discuss the impact of the $625 million cut to Labour Market Transfer Agreements (LMTAs) on workers and employers. They are demanding the federal government reverse this cut. The affected workforce development programs help people find and maintain jobs in sectors facing critical labour shortages such as construction. These programs support persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, women and newcomers, helping them to get the training and supports necessary to secure meaningful work, while also assisting employers to meet their labour demands.

With this cut, LMTA funding will revert to pre-2017 levels at a time when inflationary costs continue to have profound impact on citizens. Provinces and Territories were not notified of this cut prior to the release of the Budget on April 16th, 2024.

Coming mostly from the Employment Insurance (EI) account that Canadian workers and employers pay into, this decision means a $62.3 million annual reduction in funding for skills training and employment initiatives in Atlantic Canada. The federal government has yet to clarify where the funding taken from LMTAs is being spent.

Atlantic ministers highlighted the negative impact the cut to this funding will have on the 120,000 individuals and 8,500 employers and organizations that have benefited annually from these programs throughout Atlantic Canada. Not restoring this funding will inevitably limit the region’s capacity to be responsive to current and emerging labour market opportunities and challenges. Ministers are committed to working together to ensure Atlantic Canadians have the programs and services they need to prosper here, now and into the future.

Ministers also raised concern with the federal government’s misleading assertion that there are other funding sources to replace the cuts to LMTAs, such as claiming the introduction of capital gains revenues will allow provinces and territories to replace the $625 million in LMTA cuts. This statement is disingenuous, as the capital gains money will not be fully accessible until a year or longer. In the meantime, the future of essential LMTA programs and services that Canadians rely on remain in peril, with no resolution in sight.

Atlantic ministers remain resolute with all provincial and territorial ministers that worker training is a national priority under Provincial-Territorial jurisdiction and continue to advocate fiercely for workers and employers.

Government of PEI

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