Government has an important role to encourage and facilitate investment, to ensure disadvantaged populations have access, to share information and best practices, to promote labour mobility, to foster skilled immigration, and to ensure effective systems exist to recognize training. In Nunavut, government includes local and territorial public government, federal government and Inuit land claim organizations. In the NWT, government includes local and territorial public government, federal government and Aboriginal governments.
Territorial governments have responsibility for education, including adult training. The federal government is responsible for employment insurance (EI) and they fund adult skills training through that program. People that are not eligible for EI cannot participate in those programs.
In recent years, the role of the federal government has changed. Under the 1996 Employment Insurance Act, the federal government withdrew from direct training. They enter into Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) funded through EI. Federal programs help employers deal with labour adjustments, help unemployed workers get skills and find work, and support industry sector initiatives. Federal funding supports labour market training only for EI clients and other target groups, including Aboriginal people.
The federal government provides some indirect support such as labour market research, career information and curriculum. One example is the Essential Skills Research Project. The goal was to develop profiles that show essential skills people need for over 500 Canadian occupations. Businesses can use the methodology to develop a customized profile for more specific occupations.
Another example is the Test of Workplace Essential Skills, or TOWES. Bow Valley College worked with SkillPlan to develop a test of three essential skills – reading text, using documents and using numbers. Businesses use TOWES to assess or screen workers for training or placement. Test materials are authentic workplace materials. See Appendix A for a few more details about these and other workplace and workforce resources.