Donna Wood and Thomas Klassen propose changes to the governance of EI and training.
Employment and training policy in Canada has undergone considerable reform in the past fifteen years. The devolution to provinces of programming funded by the Employment Insurance program that began in 1996 represents a dramatic change. Nevertheless, governance problems—in a policy domain where the federal government spends $3.4 billion annually—remain. Based on our analysis of past experience as well as other policy areas, we propose modifications to governance that will lead to stronger policy to sustain Canada’s workforce development system. Our governance model has four features. First, the creation of a national agency: The Canadian Labour Market Information Agency. This body would be charged with improving the quality, transparency and usefulness of labour market information, reporting and analysis. Second, a reformed and expanded Forum of Labour Market Ministers with the mandate to act as a multilateral, pan-Canadian intergovernmental forum responsible for the collective determination of all aspects of employment and training policy in Canada. Third, the consolidation of the existing separate bilateral federal-provincial agreements into one comprehensive agreement between the federal government and each province. In other words, each province would have only one labour market agreement with the federal government, with a common set of accountability and reporting requirements. Fourth, as part of the consolidation of agreements, and in keeping with greater multilateral decision-making, the federal government would transfer responsibility to the provinces for programs for youth and persons with disabilities, and provinces would accept and support an enhanced federal role in areas such as research, comparative benchmarking and pan-Canadian reporting.View PDF
Thomas R. Klassen & Donna E. Wood
September 7, 2011