Dear Minister Kenny:

On behalf of the members of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) across the province, thank you for taking the time to meet with our organization during your recent visit to St. John’s. We appreciated the opportunity to discuss with you directly some of the labour-related issues that this province is facing, including the shortage of skilled labour and the proposed Canada Jobs Grant. Given our aging population and competition from employers in Alberta and other provinces, the shortage of skilled labour is felt acutely in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As stated during our meeting, while there are still matters to be resolved or clarified, CME fully supports the Government’s efforts to promote company directed skills training under government sponsored programs through the Canada Jobs Grant. We consider strong input from industry to be critical to the program’s success and wish to offer our assistance in launching and promoting the program to employers across the country.

As details of the Canada Jobs Grant are finalized and preparations are made for its launch, it is important that the requirements and benefits of the program be clearly specified in order to facilitate uptake by employers, and especially small and medium sized enterprises. In particular, we would like to reiterate the following input provided during our discussion:

  • Employer “in kind” contributions should be eligible for matching funds under the program, including payment of salaries, wages for in-house trainers, equipment and facilities used for training, or time away from work duties;
  • You indicated in recent correspondence that “recognized third-party trainers” will extend beyond universities and community colleges. We appreciate this clarification; however, we continue to be concerned that the definition will not be broad enough. For example, industry associations, such as our own, have extensive experience providing employee skills training, and have worked and continue to work closely with government agencies and departments to deliver such training;
  • The definition of qualifying training must be broad to encompass the types of training that companies require in today’s globally competitive environment, including in areas such as technical, process improvement and operational efficiency, product development, management, sales and international business.t CME for example, we provide training in LEAN manufacturing principals that promotes efficiency through improvement in processes, which enhances labour productivity and is critical to the success of modern global manufacturing. This type of training should be captured under the program; and
  • In order for employers to take full advantage of the Canada Jobs Grant, and for the program to be effective, efficient processing of applications is essential. We were reassured by your statement that online submission of applications will be made available and that the service standard for processing applications will be two weeks. However, we must ensure strict adherence to this service standard once the program is functional.

Thank you once again for your visit and for your commitment to working with industry to find solutions to the shortage of labour and the mismatch of labour and skills in this province and throughout the country. We are at the disposal of you and your officials to respond to any questions you may have and to assist with the promotion and launch of the Canada Jobs Grant.

David Haire
VP NL Division, CME
VP, LEAN Atlantic and Best Practices
Cc: Jayson Myers, President & CEO, CME