Forum of Labour Market Ministers (Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting)


Toronto, March 27, 1998 -- Federal-Provincial-Territorial Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) met today to review progress on labour market priorities under their joint responsibility and to agree on priorities for the future. The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Pierre S. Pettigrew, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada and the Honourable Joanne Crofford, Minister of Saskatchewan Post-Secondary Education and Skills Training.

Ministers agreed on priorities for the next three to five years. The primary focus will be on putting in place a comprehensive approach to address youth employment as directed by First Ministers in December 1997. Ministers also agreed to accelerate the elimination of barriers to labour mobility in order to improve the ability of Canadians to seek economic opportunities across the country. They also agreed to strengthen joint work on a range of labour market activities of national priority that will produce direct benefits to Canadians.

Minister Pettigrew commented, "Helping young Canadians get started in the world of work is a complex task. Success requires forging new partnerships inside and outside of governments that connect the energy and talents of young Canadians to our dynamic new economy. Today, the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments laid the foundation for a new era of collaboration on youth employment."

Minister Crofford noted, "Our ability to work together as governments and with partners from business, labour and the community is critical if we are to provide the training, education and information services our citizens need to succeed in the new information economy. The Forum of Labour Market Ministers provides us with a valuable venue for important discussions of common interest related to the labour market."

Endorsing a New Partnership Arrangement on Youth

In response to the call by First Ministers to put into motion an Agenda for Action on youth employment, Labour Market Ministers endorsed a set of strategic directions supporting the following goals that will focus on:

  • creating opportunities for all youth to develop the skills and knowledge needed for work by addressing the issue of student debt, creating opportunities in trade, technologies and apprenticeable occupations and creating new career pathways;    
  • increasing work opportunities for youth by providing entrepreneurial support and encouraging employers to participate in the transition to the workplace;    
  • helping young people respond to the changing nature of work by improving career and labour market services; and,    
  • addressing the cultural and social barriers that may prevent youth from working by developing ways to assist youth at-risk, improving labour market participation for aboriginal youth and connecting youth at-risk to existing services.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments have committed themselves to collaborate and strategically use their knowledge, expertise and resources to help young people find and keep jobs. The partnership allows them to cooperate in addressing the challenges which today's youth face.

As a first step, provinces, territories and the federal government will immediately begin discussions on bilateral arrangements that will focus on programs and services for youth. Labour Market Ministers agreed that the arrangements will seek to improve accountability and transparency of federal and provincial/territorial roles and responsibilities.

Labour Market Ministers recognize that a new comprehensive and sustained partnership is crucial to more effective programs and services for Canadian youth. Within this new arrangement, governments will be looking to establish further partnerships with key players including business, labour, schools, universities and colleges, youth, their parents and communities.

While the Government of Quebec essentially shares the same concerns about youth unemployment, it considers that active measures aimed at helping young people find jobs should be the object of an agreement modelled on the Canada-Quebec Labour Market Agreement. Therefore, this press release does not reflect Quebec's position.

Labour Market Ministers will report progress on youth employment to First Ministers by June and continue to monitor outcomes regularly over time.

Progress on Mobile Workers' Website

Labour Market Ministers reviewed a major national website designed to facilitate labour mobility across Canada. The site will soon be available to Canadians through the Internet. Ministers believe that this new source of information will offer practical help to Canadians who are prepared to re-locate in order to take advantage of work or training opportunities.

Removing Barriers to Inter-Provincial/Territorial Labour Mobility

The removal of barriers to inter-provincial/territorial labour mobility will make an important contribution to the economic union and will help Canadians have access to employment opportunities wherever they exist.

Labour Market Ministers have agreed that the removal of barriers to inter-provincial/territorial labour mobility must be accelerated.

Ministers directed FLMM officials to develop a detailed plan with specific timeframes to ensure that regulatory bodies and jurisdictions take the concrete and immediate steps necessary to secure full compliance with Chapter 7 on the Agreement on Internal Trade. Labour Market Ministers will review progress by the end of 1998.

Strengthening Co-operation to Meet Changing Labour Market Needs

Labour Market Ministers also agreed to strengthen cooperation on a range of labour market activities of national priority. Over the next three to five years the FLMM will:

  • accelerate the development and integration of occupational, career and labour market information (OCLMI) systems;    
  • jointly develop research and evaluation projects that support FLMM and common labour market priorities such as youth and transitions to a knowledge-intensive economy; and    
  • build linkages between the Forum of Labour Market Ministers and other structures in the broad social and economic environment.

The FLMM noted the importance of federal-provincial-territorial cooperation to make effective progress in all these areas.

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For information:

Anna Kapiniari
           Office of Minister Pettigrew
           Human Resources Development Canada
           Tel: (819) 953-2353
Peggy Buckley
           Forum of Labour Market Ministers-
           Lead Province
           Saskatchewan Post-Secondary
           Education and Skills Training
           Tel: (306) 787-1065