Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a brief statement about one of the measures foreshadowed in the Speech from the Throne opening this session. The Government undertook to propose grants and loans to assist workers moving to new jobs. This is an important part of our attack on the waste of our human resources which results from inadequate employment opportunities.
The new program will make loans available to anyone who is without work but for whom a job is open beyond commuting distance from his present home. The loans will apply to the costs of moving and of resettling in a new home. They will cover the actual costs of the family's transportation and movement of household effects, plus a resettlement allowance which may be up to $1,000 for a family. For a single person the maximum will be $100 plus the cost of transportation. The repayment period will normally be not more than two years.
The loans will be of great assistance, I believe, in enabling many people to make a new start. But loans are a larger financial obligation than can reasonably be assumed by people who have suffered prolonged unemployment. Therefore grants, instead of loans, will be available to people who have been unemployed for four of the previous six months, or who cannot get a job locally after completing a training course.
For a single man or woman the grant will be limited to actual transportation expenses. A family will be entitled to expenses of transportation and movement of household effects, together with a resettlement grant of up to $400 for a childless couple and up to $1,000 if there are six or more dependants. Grants and loans under this program will be available not only to unemployed wage earners but also to other people, such as farmers, if they are in similar financial circumstances and can obtain employment by moving.
For the purposes of this program Parliament will be asked to approve, in Department of Labour estimates, a $5 million revolving fund for loans and a $5 million appropriation for the cost of grants in this fiscal year.
I would like to emphasize that in addition to its direct benefit to the unemployed, this measure should be of great assistance to industry. We cannot enjoy efficient economic expansion unless people can take advantage of employment opportunities despite the handicaps of distance. For the worker with dependants, those handicaps are very large. The effect of this proposal is that for the first time the doors of opportunity will not be barred to a family just because of where they live. The benefits will be social and economic. They will also be national; we will be helping all Canadians to feel that their community is as broad as Canada itself.
It is not my wish, Mr. Speaker, to exaggerate the importance of this measure. There is much more to do, but this is one item in the first phase of the planned attack on the problems of poverty and inadequate opportunity and as such I believe it is of real significance and will, I hope, be welcomed by the House.
Subtopic: ASSISTANCE TO WORKERS MOVING TO NEW JOBS