Workforce Development Agreement programs— information

The Province of British Columbia has negotiated a new Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) with the Government of Canada that replaces the Canada-BC Job Fund Agreement (CJF). The new WDA provides B.C. with more funding and flexibility to address provincial labour market needs.

Topics on this page
Topics on this page

Overview

The WDA agreement provides $685 million over six years for labour market programming in B.C. and includes:

  • Greater flexibility to design programming specific to B.C.’s unique, diverse needs and to serve clients based on their need rather than EI status
  • Minimal restrictions in the funding allocation model to allow for more effective funding distribution
  • An increased focus on innovative program design and delivery
  • An ongoing agreement, rather than a time-limited agreement

Federal and provincial consultations were held with stakeholders to align the new WDA and B.C.’s programming to meet labour market needs. The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training designed a new program framework, with a multi-pronged approach to skills training and employment supports that will target British Columbians, employers, sectors and communities. It will emphasize the connections between skills training and employment supports, to client needs and labour market demands.

Programs

Programs under the new framework:

Skills Training for Employment Program (STE)
These programs will focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable and underrepresented groups, regardless of EI eligibility, by assisting British Columbians who face barriers to participate in the labour market. Clients will receive pre-employment assistance, skills training and employment supports to obtain sustainable employment. Programs will focus on serving specific population groups: Indigenous persons, youth, youth at risk (including former youth in care), older workers, survivors of violence and/or abuse and individuals who face multiple barriers such as mental health and homelessness. The STE Program will replace the current Employment Services and Supports Program.

B.C. Employer Training Grant (ETG)
This program is designed to assist employers to provide skills training to new or current employees. To develop skills and certification, upgrade skills needed due to automation, and enhance skills and productivity. The ETG replaces the Canada-BC Job Grant.

Community Workforce Response Grant (CWRG)
This program will provide flexible and timely responses to emerging and urgent labour and skills needs in B.C.’s communities and sectors. Grants will support:
  • Communities to develop workforce skills to respond to specific economic development opportunities and/or challenges 
  • Indigenous communities to develop the skills people need for employment or self-employment 
  • Sectors to address looming workforce shortages

The CWRG will replace the Employer-Sponsored Training Program and elements of the Canada-BC Job Grant.

Transition Plan

Existing programs will be phased out while new programs are phased in, to ensure a smooth transition for clients. The new B.C. Employer Training Grant rolled out in June 2018, and the new Community Workforce Response Grant opened in September 2018. The remainding programs will be introduced throughout 2019.

Procurement and Questions

Stakeholders are encouraged to monitor this page and BC Bid for upcoming funding opportunities.

Questions? Please contact WorkBC General Inquiries.