Employers are being required to take on further costs, this time
in relation to potential employees. How? Through
the Federal Government's 2013 Budget, released
March 21, 2013. In the Budget, the Government declared that it
would be reshaping the existing Labour Market Agreements that
currently provide funding for skills and job training to
underemployed Canadians who are ineligible for Employment
Insurance. Instead of leaving the allocation of this funding for
skills training up to the provinces and territories, the Budget
envisions this funding being allocated in response to labour market
demand, through the new Canada Job Grant.
The Canada Job Grant
Under the planned grant, the Federal Government would make
available up to $5,000 per person towards training at eligible
institutions.The catch? This grant will require matching funds
both from the province or territory involved, and
employers. After the addition of the provincial and employer
contributions, a worker could have up to $15,000 for skills
training, before he or she starts a job. Employers who plan to
train new or existing workers for skilled jobs themselves, will be
eligible to apply for the Grant.
The details of how the Canada Job Grant will be implemented are
still to be worked out through negotiation with the provinces and
territories, with input from employers and employer groups. The new
Grant will go into effect in 2014, giving employers time to assess
their labour market needs and whether they should budget for their
own investment in the skills training of prospective workers.
How should Employers Prepare?
In the lead-up to 2014, employers will need to assess how the
program fits with their business and how to handle getting invested
in workers before they even have the skills necessary for a
position. Questions employers should ask themselves include:
Does my business face a skilled labour shortage?
Are my needs short or medium to long-term?
Would training someone be time and cost effective compared to
my current solution (i.e. hiring foreign workers or chronic
Should I promise employment to a worker before they are
qualified? Can I make it a binding agreement?
What if a person whose training I helped pay for fails to
qualify or refuses to work for me?
Much will depend on the shape that the new Labour Market
Agreements take and how well employer concerns are integrated into
the Grant program. One thing for certain - employers will need to
be ready for the complications sure to arise from this type of
up-front investment in the workforce and the uncertainty of it
yielding direct returns.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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