Minister of Labour and Immigration Tyler Shandro hosted a Round Table with members of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association to tout the second intake of the Alberta Jobs Now program.
The Alberta Jobs Now program is investing up to $370 million over two years to help private sector businesses and non-profit organizations hire and train unemployed Albertans, and the funding is split between the federal government and the provincial government. Since its first announcement, it has been retooled to meet the needs of employees and potential hires.
Some of the changes include offering it to businesses that have been operating for less than a year and allowing the hiring of part-time workers. While the program remains focused on supporting the hiring of unemployed Albertans, this will no longer be a requirement for new hires.
“A lot of employers are just going to be hiring the right person for the right job,” said Shandro. “A lot of those employers in the first tranche ended up not getting the grant.”
“This is quite frankly the largest jobs program in the history of the province and we need to work quickly to get the money into the hands of these job creators and get more people hired.”
It appears the province is making progress and Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation Doug Schweitzer announced the October 2021 Labour Force Survey showed an increase of 9,000 new full-time jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen lower than any point during the pandemic to date.
Minister Shandro says work is still needed.
“Don’t think our employment levels are higher than they have been historically, even if we go back to the increase we saw in 2014, so we still want to see a decrease, more back to historical levels, we have had in Alberta,” said Shandro.
“When do we foresee it continuing until? I think there is going to be a third tranche that might be included in Budget 2022. Of course, we have to wait and see what is released. In Budget 2021, we are contemplating this being a program going into the next fiscal year… We have to continue to see how issues are going with employers in different sectors. We do have a structural labour shortage and mismatching of skills in the province. Even though we have higher than historical levels of unemployment, we also have quite a few employers who are in quite a need to be hiring.”