More mature workers in small B.C. communities will receive the training and support they need for local jobs, thanks to an additional $4.1 million investment into the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW), a successful cost-shared initiative between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
Today, during his visit to the College of New Caledonia Fort St. James campus, B.C. Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad announced that, due to its success, the Targeted Initiative for Older Worker (TIOW) program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2016. The federal and provincial governments are providing an additional $4.1 million to 14 service providers delivering the TIOW program in 16 communities throughout B.C., to ensure that unemployed older workers continue to receive support. The extension is an additional investment by the governments, following their $6-million funding investment for the last two years of programming, which concluded in March 2016.
The provincial and federal governments launched the TIOW program in 2007 to assist vulnerable communities that are facing labour-force adjustments due to changes in the local economy. The program provides skills training and employment support to unemployed older workers, aged 55 to 64 YEARS, so they can pursue longer-term jobs, further education, or career training. This program not only benefits program participants, but will help local employers and their region as well, as they gain the skilled workers they need to transform their economy.
Each TIOW program is based on the unique demographics and economic outlook of the region. Because of this tailored approach to content and delivery, this program has been well received by both participants and employers. Since 2007, the TIOW has helped more than 4,300 participants, the majority of whom found employment or pursued further education after the program.
The TIOW program delivered by the College of New Caledonia in Fort St. James was recently recognized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a successful example of support for older workers facing employment challenges in small communities. The program was publicized in the OECD’s international study of local economic strategies for ageing labour markets.
MaryAnn Mihychuk, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour –
“The Government of Canada is demonstrating the importance of helping workers of all ages get the skills and experience they need to build strong communities across the country. It’s part of our plan to build the middle class in British Columbia and across Canada.”
Shirley Bond, British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour –
“Our government recognizes the challenges that older workers and small communities in B.C. are facing due to changes in their economic landscape and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program is providing the training, as well as support, that older workers need to find employment. I am excited about the extension of this program and the positive impact it will have on not only participants but employers, as well as their communities. The program in Fort St. James is a great example of how our targeted skills training programs are delivering results.”
John Rustad, British Columbia Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Nechako Lakes –
“Older workers bring life experience, knowledge and wisdom to their jobs and extending this program will help them access the skills training they need to get jobs and participate in our diverse, strong and growing economy.”
Henry Reiser, president, College of New Caledonia –
“We are very grateful to the Department of Employment and Social Development and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for this funding. The College of New Caledonia believes in the importance of providing equal access to training and work opportunities for all members of our communities. Older workers have just as much need and desire to be engaged in their local economies, and we are confident that this funding will help ensure that.”
- The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia signed the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program agreement in 2007, which was renewed in 2014 for the program to continue to 2017.
- Under the agreement, Canada and B.C. have committed approximately $10.4 million to deliver the TIOW program from 2014 to 2017. This includes $8.7 million from the federal government and $1.6 million from the Province ($2.9 million from Canada and $554,000 from B.C. each year).
- The TIOW program is for participants in small communities of 250,000 or less that are experiencing high unemployment, significant downsizing/closures, unfulfilled employer demand, and/or skills mismatches.
- Since TIOW’s launch in 2007, provinces and territories have targeted more than 35,500 unemployed older workers in small communities across Canada for participation. In B.C., more than 4,300 individuals have been assisted to date.
- Employment and Social Development Canada’s followup survey in 2014 shows that:
- Approximately 75% of program participants throughout Canada found paid employment following their participation in the program.
- The majority of respondents believed that their participation in the program improved their employability.
- The majority of former TIOW survey respondents (82%) were satisfied with the activities and/or training they received through the program.
- The B.C. Labour Market Outlook indicates that, by 2024, there will be nearly one million job openings in B.C. due to the growing economy and anticipated retirements. Eight out of 10 of these openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.
OECD international Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) study —The Canadian Targeted Initiative for Older Workers in Fort St. James: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/industry-and-services/local-economic-strategies-for-ageing-labour-markets_5jrnwqk5d4f7-en
British Columbia’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
B.C. Labour Market Outlook 2024: https://www.workbc.ca/labour-market-information/b-c-s-economy/reports.aspx
A backgrounder follows.