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CLC Wants Immediate Action on Skills Training

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Apr 5, 2013) - The President of the Canadian Labour Congress wants immediate action to provide skills training to unemployed Canadians.

Ken Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for March 2013. There were 1,374,700 unemployed Canadians in March, and the unemployment rate was 7.2%.

Georgetti says, "Unemployment remains unacceptably high by historical standards. We have 1.37 million unemployed Canadians. We also have labour shortages in some pockets of the economy. We need a strong emphasis on training and apprenticeship programs that will allow people to get back to work and to provide for their families."

Georgetti acknowledged that some provisions in the March 2013 federal budget deal with skills training but he said there are problems as well. "None of these proposed changes will come into effect for at least a year and only 16% of what was announced in the budget is new money. The rest is an extension or reallocation of existing funds."

Georgetti says, "Money has also been taken out of the hands of provinces and low-skilled workers, and put into the hands of employers to do what they should have been doing already. Money is being channelled to specific employers with no guarantee that training will meet broader labour market needs."

He adds, "The Labour Market Development Agreements, funded through the EI fund, are to be renegotiated with provinces and territories, in consultation with employers but not with workers, who also pay into the EI fund. Workers have different perspectives on training needs than the employers do and have to be at the table when these changes are negotiated."

Quick Analysis from CLC Chief Economist Sylvan Schetagne

The labour market is in decline with 54,500 workers having lost their jobs in March 2013. Of those, 54,000 had been working full-time. In March, the number of self-employed increased by 38,700. Rising self-employment is often a sign of a deteriorating labour market. Meanwhile, the number of employees in the labour market in March declined significantly, by 93,100. Most of the reductions (-85,400) occurred in the private sector.

There were 1,374,700 unemployed workers in March 2013, a significant increase of 42,100 over February. Another 12,300 Canadians were discouraged and left the labour market. The unemployment rate rose from 7.0% to 7.2% between February and March.

Most provinces experienced a decline, with the exception of Nova-Scotia. The decline was concentrated in a few industries, such as accommodation and food services, public administration and manufacturing, where the number of workers declined by 24,200. There have been 71,400 jobs lost in manufacturing since December 2012.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour