Posted on Apr 1, 2021
IN MIDDLE OF JOBS EMERGENCY, UCP LOSES $148 MILLION IN CRITICAL JOB RETRAINING FUNDS
EDMONTON – On the first day of a new fiscal year, the UCP have seemingly cost Albertans $148 million in federal dollars intended for a jobs program. No news has emerged from the office of the Minister of Labour and Immigration regarding their supposed “Alberta Jobs Now” plan.
The federal government announced $185 million for workforce development and retraining in Alberta, with the caveat that 80 per cent of the funds must be used before March 31, 2021. To date the UCP have not begun their program and have not created any new jobs with these funds.
“With no announcement from the UCP on the roll out of their Jobs Now plan, we are left to assume Jason Kenney’s government just lost $148 million meant for Albertans. This money was meant for retraining and to help Albertans find employment that is desperately needed during the jobs crisis,” said NDP Critic for Labour and Immigration Christina Gray.
Despite claims from Labour Minister Jason Copping last week that he was asking Ottawa to extend the deadline to fund Jobs Now, no deal has been announced.
The money was part of the Government of Canada’s Workforce Development Agreement with the provinces and territories, where additional funds were available for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, to help respond to the increased number of Albertans looking to re-enter the workforce.
“This money should have been put to use the moment it was announced,” Gray said. “Albertans are struggling during this pandemic, and these federal funds were intended to enhance the provincial jobs programs already in place. However, instead of investing this money in Albertans, Jason Kenney and the UCP chose to dither. This was supposed to be quick help, delivered as soon as possible. This UCP government may have cost our province precious funding that could have helped Albertans get back to work and helped our economic recovery.
“The UCP called their program Alberta Jobs Now, and they have completely failed to deliver jobs now.”
The federal government indicated that the funding was meant to provide rapid support for job retraining, and was an addition to the already $3.4 billion already provided for Workforce Development Agreements in the 2020-2021 fiscal budget.