Employers get funding boost for skills training

$9.6 million is being made available by the province through the Canada-B.C. Job Grant

There is a new batch of funding available for employers to access to hire more staff or help train the ones they already have.

Another $9.6 million is being made available by the province through the Canada-B.C. Job Grant for businesses – or those acting on their behalf – to apply for.

Under the program, the federal and provincial governments provide two-thirds of the total training cost for an employee – up to $10,000 per person – to offset the cost to the employer, who pays the remaining one-third.

That is, except for the $2 million being made available to employers wishing to train and hire currently unemployed British Columbians, where up to $15,000 per employee is available and no employer contribution is required.

Eligible costs under the program include tuition and training fees, mandatory student fees, textbooks, software and other training materials, along with examination fees.

“The next intake for the Canada-B.C. Job Grant funding ensures there are ongoing supports for small businesses and their employees to access skills training that helps grow and diversify our economy,” says Coralee Oakes, minister of small business and red tape reduction. “We are continuing to build on our successful partnership with Small Business BC and cutting red tape for entrepreneurs so they can focus on doing what they do best; growing their businesses and creating jobs.”The government says more than 15,000 employees within the province have already received training through the Canada-B.C. Job Grant program.There are four streams of allocation for the next batch of funding.

The “Priority Sectors” stream has been allocated $5.6 million, which covers employers that fall under the categories of Small Business, Technology and Green Economy, Construction, Manufacturing and other select industries.

The “Under-represented Groups” stream has been allocated $1 million and includes employers hiring or training new Canadians, youth, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities or women in trades and natural resource sectors.

Another $1 million is being made available under the Refugee Fund to support eligible organizations acting on behalf of employers to prepare refugees for employment in their particular sector, match refugees to employers and jobs and deliver job-specific skills training in partnership with employers.

“Our province is expected to lead the country in economic growth over the next two years,” says Shirley Bond, minister of jobs, tourism and skills training and minister responsible for labour in the announcement. “This funding will go a long way to help businesses provide their current or future employees with the skills training they need to ensure we have the workforce to keep our economy strong, diverse and thriving.”

This round of funding is for training that will begin between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year.

Information on eligibility criteria and the application process can be found online at workbc.ca/canadabcjobgrant.

The government says more than 15,000 employees and 3,000 employers have taken advantage of the $26 million they have invested in the Canada-BC Job Grant since the program began.

Employers themselves have contributed another $13 million towards the initiative.