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New Report--Back to Work: Modernizing Canada’s labour market partnership, Mowat Centre

The federal government has signalled its willingness to re-evaluate the intergovernmental framework supporting active labour market policy – the programs governments provide to help unemployed Canadians get back to work.

These programs are crucial to ensuring workers do not get locked into cycles of long-term unemployment. This paper outlines some major problems with the current transfers system, including its link to EI and interprovincial inequality, and proposes solutions for a more equitable, responsive, and open framework.

Executive Summary

Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) are the government programs that help un- and under-employed workers improve their skills and find jobs. Collectively, they make up the public employment service. They can be crucial to protecting individuals from the pernicious, cyclical effects of long-term unemployment.

But the framework for ALMPs in Canada has not kept pace with changes to the labour market. This should be a major concern. Structural changes to the economy are underway, including a shift away from manufacturing and towards gig and part-time work, and ongoing impacts from automation across sectors. We need a functioning public employment service, and this starts with better, more rational federal-provincial collaboration.

Prepared by Michael Morden, Policy Associate

Released on August 16, 2016

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