Federal Inaction Hurts Ontario Workers, says Cunningham

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Federal Inaction Hurts Ontario Workers, says Cunningham

TORONTO, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - If the federal government was committed to supporting a knowledge-based economy, it would sign a Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) with Ontario, instead of planning another round of lengthy consultations, Ontario's Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities said today in response to the release of a federal discussion paper on skills training.
"The paper released by the federal government today is a poor substitute for a concrete plan. Ontario workers and employers have already been very clear about their needs, and want governments to take action," said Cunningham.
On May 30, 1996, the federal government committed to transfer Employment Insurance funding to the provinces to deliver labour market programs and services. Today, this promise remains unfulfilled, as Ontario is the only province in Canada where two levels of government continue to operate completely separate training systems.
"Ontario needs one integrated system to provide training and labour market programs. The current system promotes inefficiency for taxpayers and confusion for citizens," said Cunningham. "What we need to do now is break down the silos between governments. Only then can we guarantee that Ontario's workers will be ready to respond to the challenges of the 21st Century."
With an LMDA, Ontario could deliver accountable and relevant programs to an additional 200,000 Ontarians who need help keeping pace with the changing needs of the economy.
"Nowhere in Canada is a skilled labour force more important than in Ontario" said Cunningham. "Our province represents close to 40 per cent of Canada's workforce, but receives only 27 per cent of federal funding for labour market programs. Two thirds of the massive EI surplus is paid by Ontario workers and employers, and they deserve more for their money."
For further information on Ontario's approach to training, visit http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/statement_e.html.

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For more information visit www.edu.gov.on.ca
For further information: Contacts: Tanya Cholakov, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, (416) 325-7526; Dave Ross, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1625