Skills and labour

As COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help all Canadians, including rural Canadians, no matter where they live.

Fulfilling and well-paid employment is key to the vitality of rural communities. Rural Canada has a higher unemployment rate than the national average and it also faces significant labour shortages, particularly for skilled workers and workers with the skill sets needed to work in the digital economy.

The digital economy continues to outpace most other sectors in terms of job creation. However, a lack of broadband connectivity means that rural communities aren't able to take full advantage of innovative technologies or the growth of the digital economy.

In some communities, particularly where there is high seasonal demand, there is a shortage of labour, which limits growth. For example, in 2014, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council estimated 26,400 agricultural jobs went unfilled, costing rural economies $1.5 billion in lost revenues.

Labour market transfer agreements

Every year, the Government of Canada provides provinces and territories with approximately $3 billion in funding through the Labour Market Development Agreements and Workforce Development Agreements programs to help Canadians improve their skills and find and keep employment. Through these agreements, provinces and territories have the flexibility to design and deliver skills training and employment supports that best meet the needs of their local labour markets, including rural areas.

Visit the Labour Market Transfer Agreements web page for more information on these programs and their progress.

Enabling Accessibility Fund

The Enabling Accessibility Fund provides funding for projects that make Canadian communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. The fund aims to create more opportunities for persons with disabilities to take part in community activities, programs and services or to access employment.

Visit the Enabling Accessibility Fund web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Youth and Indigenous employment programs

Other programs, like the Youth Employment and Skills StrategyCanada's Innovation and Skills Plan, the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, and the Veterans Education and Training Benefit focus on youth and Indigenous employment and on skills improvement and job readiness for older Canadians.

Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program

The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training ( ISET)  Program is a distinctions-based labour market program designed to support First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban/non-affiliated Indigenous people improve their skills and meet their long-term career goals. ISET funds a network of over 100 Indigenous service delivery organizations with over 600 points of service in urban, rural and remote areas to provide Indigenous people with training and supports to improve their skills and secure employment.

Visit the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Skills and Partnership Fund

The Skills and Partnership Fund ( SPF) is a partnership- and project-based fund that encourages partnerships between Indigenous organizations and industry employers to provide skills training for Indigenous people linked to economic opportunities at the local, regional and national level. SPF focuses on training Indigenous people for industry-identified, specific jobs that align with emerging labour market needs and government priorities.

Visit the Skills and Partnership Fund web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Canada Training Benefit

The Canada Training Benefit aims to help urban and rural working Canadians find the time and money they need to train, improve their skills and build their careers. The Canada Training Benefit includes an income tax credit for 2019 and subsequent years, the Canada Training Credit, which may be used for eligible tuition and fees paid for courses taken in 2020 or subsequent years. The Canada Training Benefit also includes proposals, not yet implemented, to provide job protection and income support during training when workers need to take time off work to increase or update their skills.

Visit the Canada Training Benefit web page for more information on the program and its progress.

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy

The modernized Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which includes the Canada Summer Jobs program, prioritizes projects that support opportunities for youth in rural and remote areas.

Visit the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy web page for more information on the Strategy and its progress.

Job Bank

Job Bank is the national employment service, co-delivered by the provinces and territories.  It serves rural communities as a trustworthy source for jobs available in your region. You can also learn about your local labour market by exploring job outlooks and keep up with the latest labour market news for your region.

Visit the Job Bank web page for more information on the program and its progress.

New and renewed skills and labour programs

As an immediate action, the Government of Canada is working to incorporate rural considerations in new and renewed skills and labour programs. These programs include the Canada Training Benefit and the Innovative Work Integrated Learning Initiative, which support rural Canadians as they learn and develop the skills they need in their home communities. The voices of rural Canadians will also inform the development of the Apprenticeship Strategy.