Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

STRENGTHENING THE WORK FORCE – Tracy-Anne McPhee, the minister of Education, and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell are seen at Wednesday’s announcement of the joint government plan to help Yukon workers improve their skills.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SKILLS TRAINING FORTIFIED – Shown left to right at Wednesday afternoon’s news conference are Education Minister Tracy-Ann McPhee, Connor Oliver-Beebe, Benjamin Rhames and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.

Fresh funding will help train Yukon workers

The federal and Yukon governments have reached an agreement to provide $45 million to the territory to train workers.

By Gord Fortin on June 27, 2019

The federal and Yukon governments have reached an agreement to provide $45 million to the territory to train workers.

The funding was announced Wednesday afternoon by Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Education Minister Tracy-Ann McPhee.

The $45-million investment will be over six years, which started in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. It will end in 2022-2023.

The Yukon is getting approximately $18 million from Workforce Development Agreement and over $27 million from the Labour Market Development Agreement. This was signed in April.

Bagnell said Canada is seeing record employment, with more than one million jobs being created under the Liberal government. He said this momentum must be maintained.

The Yukon has been leading on this front. He explained that it has been traditionally tougher to create jobs in the North than down South.

“The fact that we (Yukon) were leading was amazing,” Bagnell said.

This does lead to problems since the Yukon technically sits at full employment.

Many businesses in the territory are in sore need of employees, he pointed out. That said, there is still some unemployment in the area.

This funding can create opportunities for those who are unemployed, and can help people enter the workforce for the first time. He hopes this funding can help train people.

Up to $12 million has been set aside to help people with disabilities get into the workforce or to maintain employment.

Bagnell said this training is important because of the way society has progressed.

In the past, someone could train for a career or a job and be set for life. Today, that may not be the case.

Technology evolves and changes so fast that workers’ skills and knowledge become outdated.

“Everyone needs training,” Bagnell said.

This funding will provide opportunities for these workers to upgrade their skills and remain in their professions. Workers could also acquire skills and change careers if needed.

The federal government is working with its provincial and territorial counterparts to help deliver these opportunities to workers, he added.

He said the programs need to be created and operated by the territory so they can reflect the needs to the specific jurisdiction.

There were consultations in 2016 which helped the feds identify the best way to help.

The MP said this could help up to 650 people. He explained that this is not an exact number, and cited that many people visit Employment Central, which is in the same building as his constituency office.

McPhee said this funding will help provide financial support for apprenticeships. It will also help develop workplace accommodation and workplace supports. This can include tutors and job coaches.

Another benefit is it can help connect job seekers with employers.

“Our goal is to continue to move forward with this work and these agreements will help us do so,” McPhee said.

The territory wants to create more efficient services that are more client-centred. She added they want to help build foundational skills and reduce economic disparities between Whitehorse and the small communities.

The territory wants to keep partnering with First Nations and provide opportunities for under-represented groups. This includes people with disabilities, older workers and women in trades.

She said that some of these programs come with parameters that don’t work for the Yukon. This is not the case concerning Wednesday’s announcement. This means the funds can be used to help all Yukoners.

McPhee and Bagnell said this agreement has been signed that should move forward regardless of October’s federal election results.

Two people were invited to the news conference to share their experiences with this initiative.

Benjamin Rhames was a sheet metal worker but cannot continue in the trade anymore due to an injury.

Through this program, he was able to look into a new trade. Occupational health and safety interested him.

Rhames was able to take the knowledge of his previous job and apply it to his new one.

“I think that’s great, so thank you,” he said.

Connor Oliver-Beebe was formerly a welder. He suffered an eye injury and worried about his future in the field.

He decided to go into engineering, and completed his first year of studies. He has now found employment.

“I’m quite thankful for the funding that we’ve been receiving,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go back to school without being set back.”

Comments (10)

Up 7 Down 4

Michael Storm on Jul 3, 2019 at 1:31 am

Can some of this training money be used to train Yukoners how to drive safely, can it also be used to train people not to drive impaired on alcohol or drugs?

It's nice to improve skills but it sucks when too many people just do their impaired thing as if it's casual.

Up 15 Down 3

larry bagfail on Jul 1, 2019 at 11:56 pm

Just another liberal handout hoping to buy votes.
As for the "Yukon leading the way" in employment - This is 100% due to government hires, and the TFW program both of which are a net drain on our economy. The money that pays these salaries comes out of Canadian pocket books = economic cannibalism.

I suspect the vast majority of Trudeaus deficit spending will be revealed to be widespread public sector hiring after he gets the boot this fall.
Also, Larry is looking to ban/confiscate firearms from Yukon gun owners.

Don't take my word for it, call him and ask.

Up 18 Down 5

Mr M on Jun 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Funny when there is an election coming that is when all the money starts to roll out. Will probably start seeing candidates coming to the door now looking for a vote. Don't bother knocking. Haven't seen any since the last election. Lots of photo ops with Larry though. Need the Yukon Party back.

Up 21 Down 4

My Opinion on Jun 30, 2019 at 12:32 pm

It will never be seen. It is just likely funding that was already earmarked for the Yukon College (University)? Workers will never see it. Just a hollow promise, using your taxes to buy your vote. Don't be fooled.

Larry and Justin, you are DONE.

Up 22 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jun 29, 2019 at 9:49 am

I am wondering how much of these monies are being allocated for the immigration program participants? These recent federal announcements are carefully worded to be generic and imply that all Yukon people will be elligible to apply for them. Similarly, funding announcements for the new French school seem to convey that we will be witnessing an increase of French-speaking people from Quebec rather than from other nations where French is also spoken. Liberals have their own immigration agenda and it does not frequently benefit Canadians who pay for it all.

Up 30 Down 1

Oya on Jun 28, 2019 at 2:12 pm

And how do Yukon people access this funding? Where do we apply?

Up 17 Down 2

Wilf on Jun 27, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I was just looking back over the conservative funding for the Yukon compared to Liberals. I can believe the liberals are trying to follow the conservatives. Liberal Federal platform has something for everyone but no sense of direction on any thing other then spending more then we can afford in the wrong place. Like 75% increases in giving money away to other countries instead of spending it on Yukoners. Federal liberal action is going to make it hard for Yukon companies to find investors because of the political risk in Canada at this time.

Up 18 Down 5

Wilf on Jun 27, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Conservatives put tens of millions into training in the in trades and I think our liberal mayor was involved. It is all in government records. Larry is promising the moon but Trudeau will cut off the west and the north as he has said in so many words. Federal liberals cut our infrastructure fund by 70%, funding for health care, housing from $18 million a year to 42.4 million.

Up 38 Down 4

J white on Jun 27, 2019 at 3:46 pm

On June 27, 2019 Mr. Bagnell "announced" a program that started in 2017? Seriously ?

Up 31 Down 13

Wilf Carter on Jun 27, 2019 at 3:09 pm

This is nothing new. Conservatives started the program. Liberals just following conservatives. The problem now is there is no direction on who, how, where why and when Yukoners will get trained. Promising money Yukoners will never see. In 2015 we had liberals going to do lots but they never delivered on housing, land development, economic development, etc. No results all promises.

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