May 5, 1972

LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

In the budget debate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Are we going to hear from all of you?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

You are going to hear from this person. I do not take up too much time in the House, and I hope I may have an opportunity during the debate I mentioned. If not, the estimates are not completed and we can go into the estimates a little more intensively than I have. To set a good example, perhaps, I have stuck very closely to the bill before us. I recommend to the House the amendments contained therein. At the same time, I emphasize that this should not be misconstrued as a major overhaul of a piece of legislation which needs a thorough revision in the near future.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Would the minister reply to a question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Chair has, recognized the hon. member for Gander-Twillingate. If there is unanimous consent and the minister is prepared to receive a question, the hon. member may ask one. Is there such consent?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Mr. Speaker, I have a brief question. There has been some concern about the role of the farmer's wife, housewives on farms. Do they qualify for manpower training allowance under this act?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasay:

Mr. Speaker, I will answer that in my usual direct fashion by saying that when we get to the committee stage the whole question of women in the work force will, I am sure, be thoroughly discussed. Certainly, I know the hon. lady in the hon. member's party will want to ask some basic questions about the definition of one year training and whether or not work done in the home by the farmer's wife, for example, could be defined accordingly by regulation. I shall be prepared to answer this in depth when we get to committee stage.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
PC

John Howard Lundrigan

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John Lundrigan (Gander-Twillingate):

I have one observation to make about the in-industry program concerning what I think will be the most serious response that the minister will receive from the provinces. Even though the minister might say that this is something of a motherhood bill and will receive, I anticipate, the approval of members of the House, it will generate a lot of response from the various provinces and there is one aspect that has to be considered when talking about inindustry training. Something that has bothered our party, and which ought to bother every member of the House, has been the continual emphasis in government programs during the last several years on the designation of special areas, from the regional economic expansion programs to this bill itself. The rural parts of the nation, the more unstructured parts as far as industry is concerned, have been unable to take advantage of government programs.

We had an example of this today in the minister's announcement of the extension of the local initiatives program. The Opportunities for Youth program is another example. These programs have a tendency to discriminate against those people far removed from the centre of industrial activity, those who are isolated in terms of rural communities, those who are-I hesitate to say out of touch, but those who are not as tuned in to government communications systems as others and therefore are not able to find a way of taking advantage of government programs.

One of the most serious gaps that I see in the in-industry training program is the lack of opportunity for those in the unstructured, unsophisticated communities of Canada to take advantage of the program. How can you expect those in the small towns of northern Ontario, where you have a high unemployment rate, to find their way into government on-the-job training programs? The same can be said of those in the Gaspe peninsula or along the north shore of Quebec, small towns where in the wintertime there are pockets of 50 per cent unemployment, or in Nova Scotia, a large part of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the province I represent, the northern parts of the prairie provinces and many areas in inland British Columbia, areas where there is high unemployment. Areas of highest unemployment also have the least sophisticated business communities. Many businesses are very small operations employing half a dozen people. But that is the economic fibre of rural Canada.

Therefore, the minister must take great care to see that the benefits of this program do not flow only to those living in two or three regions of Canada which have very sophisticated and structured business operations. I think of Toronto and Montreal as examples. These areas have the capacity to take full advantage of the program, and so they should. Let them milk every nickel they can from the programs. But other communities in Canada, not just the rural communities comprising a handful of people, many middle sized towns and cities, will be unable to take advantage of the program.

The minister must ensure a fair amount of flexibility in deciding what constitutes on-the-job training. There must be detailed consultation with the provinces so that those provinces without the highly sophisticated business structures are nevertheless able to receive a per capita response under the program. I just draw that to the minis-

Adult Occupational Training Act ter's attention, reluctant as I am to agree to give him the power that he will have if the bill is approved to enter into an agreement with any group or employer. Rather than continue along these lines, I will use the next seven, eight or nine minutes to make three or four suggestions of a more general nature. Perhaps they can be incorporated into government programs of one sort or another.

The minister has already admitted that he regrets it has taken so long for the three year labour force requirement to be eliminated from this legislation. He has also admitted in committee that he agrees there is a limitation in manpower legislation which permits only 52 weeks of training under manpower training programs. I am aware of many examples of people reaching the end of their 52 week period, wanting another two, three or four weeks to complete their training programs, but their training period has been terminated. This has resulted in a panic situation. If my colleague the hon. member for Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe (Mr. Marshall) were here, he could give a graphic illustration of two cases of this kind which occurred in the past few years. Thanks to the co-operation of members of the department who are experts in this field, and perhaps I should not refer to the fact that I can see them before me, the problem has been resolved. I do not know whether other members have met with this same success in their areas.

These restrictions are incompatible with any educational foundation or manpower training scheme. There is no way you can expect to bring people into programs, expose them to 52 weeks of training and then bring down the guillotine. We must make sure this restriction is eliminated, and I appeal to the minister to have his officials begin immediately drafting legislation that will amend this stipulation or requirement. I have become aware of cases this year which are pitiful examples of how this regulation wreaks hardship on people. It is much like the previous three year requirement which resulted in people not being able to take basic training programs, even though the result of not doing so was being laid off from previous jobs.

I have not thought out my second recommendation clearly enough to make it specific, but there should be some group or body in the minister's department which has the power to hear appeals. Perhaps the minister will want to think about this, and I pass it along as a suggestion. I do not think specific regulations in respect of manpower training programs should be used as the final determination regarding a person receiving manpower training. In any field of education, manpower training or resource development, there must be a fair measure of flexibility. A Canadian constituent should have the right to challenge the decision of a manpower group or office as far as receiving training is concerned. He should have the right to challenge the decision in respect of allowances.

Today, the minister introduced a measure of flexibility when he said that people who live at home with their parents can, under this bill, receive a small allowance of $20 per week. I think I am right in saying that. Up to now, such a person could not receive an allowance. Such a person should not only receive an allowance but should be

1946

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act in a position to appeal a decision of the department. In many cases where a young person lives at home, he may need more than a person living away because of the financial circumstances of that family. Somewhere along the line there must be a way of setting up an appeal procedure so that a person can suggest, on the basis of certain facts, that he should receive thus and so in order to assist him to get into a training program.

Another example is the case of an individual who might not be able to get into a training program because he has not got the basic requirements, not having reached a certain educational level. That person may have a tremendous potential as a mechanic, as some kind of operator or in a specific skill. He is a natural, the type of flower born to blush unseen, but may never have had the opportunity to get a basic education. He should have the right to point out to the department that he has this potential. I am sure the minister has seen many of these people who have a tremendous potential or inherent capability which has never been developed through schooling, on-the-job training or anything like that. This type of person should not be restricted through a narrow interpretation of any manpower training program regulation. He should be able to appeal any such decision.

My third point involves the need for the minister to take a very close look at the integration, or lack of it, of the type of training received through manpower programs and the economic need. We have completed a graphic comparison between various training programs and the number of people in them as they correlate with unemployment. The minister understands what I am saying. There is a plus or positive correlation between the number of people in training programs on the one hand, and the level of unemployment on the other. During the winter months when unemployment reaches about 600,000 people, we have about 70,000 to 85,000 people in training programs. Perhaps the number reaches 100,000 at times. During the summer period, when the level of unemployment is substantially reduced, and I am not talking about seasonally adjusted but actual numbers, the number in training programs might drop to 25,000 or 30,000.1 suggest there is a tendency for the government to offset the impact on employment statistics by engaging people in training programs. I do not think that is good enough. I have heard the minister say, and he has been quoted in this vein, that he does not believe a person should be put into a training program just to take him off the unemployment list.

I know of many people who have taken training programs year after year when there was no chance in the world that once they had completed the program they would find themselves in an occupation, trade or profession. This is a waste of money and a waste of time for the individual. I have heard people say, and this is a standing joke, that three years ago they took this program, last year they took a different program, they are taking a LIP program this summer and next winter they intend to take some kind of skill training program. This becomes a farce, and the people involved recognize it as such and laugh. They recognize it is a shifting of impact, and that it does not train the human resource muscle to fit our economy. The minister must look more closely at this aspect

and set up some kind of procedure to assist relevancy in respect of training programs and the needs of the country.

My final point, and I am glad to be able to make this before we adjourn because I know the hon. member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys (Mr. Muir) wants to elaborate on this, is that there is a significant number of Canadians who cannot take advantage of these programs or provincial educational programs because they have not reached the necessary level of education. They cannot get into universities, trade schools or upgrading schools, and they cannot take advantage of any type of training program because they have not reached a certain level of educational capability. This is usually the result of background circumstances and it bothers me to a great extent.

There are a great number of Canadians, mostly poor, many in rural areas, and particularly in Atlantic regions, who could become part of the labour force with proper training. There has to be some way to help these Canadians better themselves through training programs and I suggest they are not being reached today by our present manpower training programs.

I will conclude with that remark, as I know my colleague will want to elaborate on that point later on this afternoon.

At one o'clock the House took recess.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 2 p.m.


NDP

John Leroy Skoberg

New Democratic Party

Mr. John L. Skoberg (Moose Jaw):

Mr. Speaker, I did not have the pleasure of knowing the former deputy minister of the Department of Manpower and Immigration, but I am familiar with the present deputy minister. He has had quite an introduction into the area of unemployment and manpower training through his close association with the Unemployment Insurance Commission, and thus has the necessary background that will assist him in breaking new ground in this department. Having experience with the type of situation which existed respecting the number of applications made to the Unemployment Insurance Commission will stand him in good stead in the work that he and his minister will be doing in introducing this new program.

Looking at this bill to amend the Adult Occupational Training Act we realize we could spend a lot of time on the various amendments that it proposes, and could go into the background of the problems that have arisen. We have seen some of them personally, and others have been brought to our attention. But this being a Friday, it is really not the day to do that. There is also the fact that some amendments proposed in the bill are ones with which we agree, particularly the one reducing the time period from three years to one year, which was recommended years ago by our party when the original statute was introduced.

Our main area of concern does not lie with how the amendments will be applied, but rather with the question

May 5, 1972

of whether too much is being left to be done by regulation. All of us appreciate the fact that manpower and unemployment are closely interrelated. I believe the minister himself will agree that there must be a close working relationship between the Unemployment Insurance Commission and those people who apply through the UIC for manpower training. This is necessary if we are to bring about any meaningful improvement to the over-all structure.

The responsibility for co-ordinating these two departments will probably rest with the present minister, who is answerable for the Unemployment Insurance Commission. This will give him an opportunity to consolidate unemployment insurance efforts with manpower upgrading. This was probably the reason behind the switch which was made not too long ago, in which the present Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Mackasey) retained responsibility for the Unemployment Insurance Commission. I am sure all of us appreciate the fact that when people do go to Unemployment Insurance Commission offices invariably they have to apply for manpower training. Invariably, they have to apply to obtain some information regarding the adult upgrading program. If they can do all this in one fell swoop, the effect can only be beneficial for the country and will result in a better co-ordinated program.

Further, Mr. Speaker, all of us agree that being trained is not the entire answer, particularly if the government is completely insensitive to the provision of job opportunities. The previous speaker mentioned this aspect of the matter. This is really where the government must be involved. It must be involved to the extent that there will be a program development associated with the type of job opportunities that are and should be available in Canada.

When speaking on this question I can refer to the "Eighth Annual Review of the Economic Council of Canada" which states:

Manpower policy is conceived of in Canada largely as a policy affecting the supply side of the labour market. In Sweden, however, "manpower policy" is far more comprehensive in scope in that it controls many expenditure programs affecting the level and location of employment and thus operates on the demand side of the market too.

Again dealing with the type of policy that is being used and the type of board that has been developed in Sweden, the review points out:

For example, the Swedish Labour Market Board (which includes government, employer, and union members, and operates autonomously as a statutory body) plays a prominent role in industrial location policy and administers an investment fund on the basis of contracyclical government policy.

If we are sincere in our talk about adult occupational training, we should determine that we must give some authority to the Department of Manpower and Immigration with respect to making the decisions as to where industries should locate in Canada. Does it make sense to have a department spend millions and millions of dollars trying to upgrade and retrain people if, after their retraining, those people have to be sent from one end of the country to another to fill job opportunities there? I suggest the government has a responsibility to involve this department in industry location decisions, because really manpower is the basis of the success of any country.

Adult Occupational Training Act

No doubt all of us have heard complaints about people who have taken manpower upgrading courses simply to have something to do. It is difficult for any manpower officer to question the intent of an individual who applies for an upgrading course, but it is true that people who have applied for such courses have told less than the truth to the manpower officer concerned. At the same time, there are many thousands of other people without employment who could benefit from such upgrading courses. This is one area on which we must express our concern.

A few moments ago, I mentioned the situation that pertains in Sweden, and now I turn to clause 6 of the bill with which one of my colleagues will be dealing at greater length. It specifically excludes people who are represented by recognized trade organizations and trade unions. Surely, it is a two way street. If workers are going to be employed by groups of employers, then the same principle should apply. Reference to this is found on page 3, after the third section. Possibly the minister will look at this very closely to see why the organizations themselves do not become involved in the type of discussion referred to on that page.

The Economic Council of Canada review contains the statement that manpower policy is largely a policy affecting the supply side of labour, and refers to the fact that we must spend some time in determining what we hope to achieve. Training on the job is an added benefit that the minister has included in the bill. I am sure it is something that he, his department and his deputy minister have studied. They will realize that we have poured millions of dollars into it, and more people should have benefited.

At page 104, dealing with manpower policy, there is this statement in the Economic Council of Canada's eighth annual review:

In striking contrast to several other countries, less than 5 per cent of total Canadian federal adult occupational training expenditures (excluding apprenticeship) is directed to training-in-industry. In the United States, about 80 per cent of federal training expenditures go to programs involving training and "work experience" in industry. In Britain, moreover, the Industrial Training Act of 1964 provides for a redistribution of funds among firms within a number of industries for training to be undertaken by industry itself.

The heavy-in fact, almost exclusive-emphasis on institutional training in Canada is difficult to understand when experts generally agree that, for many occupations and for many individuals, training-in-industry appears to be preferable.

The charts on the following page of the report show that of the total amount spent on training in Canada, only 3.9 per cent was for training in industry, while in the United States 76.8 per cent was spent in this area. The same thing applies to other countries like Sweden which spend a considerable amount of their resources on training-inindustry rather than the type of training we have provided. The occupational upgrading that is provided is invariably in a classroom setting, and once the individual leaves there everything he touches is foreign to him to the extent that many times he is not of much use to an employer. This is an area about which all of us are concerned as, no doubt, is the minister. I am sure he will be looking at the situation and, hopefully, will be trying to divert more

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act money to training on the job or in industry as the case may be.

For comparison purposes, Mr. Speaker, and referring to the cost of relocating people who have been trained or those who are making application for job opportunities, I would point out that in 1965-66 the national employment service placed 960,995 people in jobs at a cost of $22.95 per placement. In 1970-71, Manpower placed only 722,832 people in jobs at a cost of $232.70 per placement. This did not include the money spent on manpower training. This is exactly what I am getting at, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased that the minister has included on-the-job training in the legislation, but the contrast between what was spent in 1965-66 and what is spent now per job placement illustrates the increase in spending in an effort to cope with the problem. I heartily agree with the minister when he says that he is pleased to see this point covered in his bill, and it is one area that we in this party support since it will bring about a saving to the Canadian taxpayer.

What one is questioning really is whether the best value is being received for the tax dollar or whether we are just keeping people off the labour force survey by putting them into some kind of occupation training or upgrading course. I am sure many members realize that this has happened because some people are not interested in training to upgrade themselves but just want to have something to do at a certain time of the year.

The previous speaker mentioned the 52 week maximum period. I am sure all of us know cases where trainees have not completed their courses because the final term of the course could not be completed within the 52 week period. I was pleased to learn that the former minister, as stated in a letter to me dated January 20, 1972, was willing to vary this requirement. The last paragraph of that letter reads:

I have advised officials of the manpower division that I am prepared to authorize extensions of training for individuals who have been ill during their training period or who have been unable to achieve normal progress in their training program. These extensions would only be authorized following consultation between the Canada Manpower Centre and the training authorities.

There are some, however, Mr. Speaker, who are still unable to complete the course and there is no use denying that the amount of money spent on them has gone forever, as are the benefits they could have provided to society. In this area, I believe the minister could give more discretionary power to the local manpower officials. They are on the spot and know whether a particular applicant really wishes to pass the course or is just trying to pass the time. This aspect has bothered many people across the country, including some who have tried to complete their training within the 52 week period which is provided in the present act and which remains in the act.

I have a few comments on the amendments before us, Mr. Speaker, and no doubt we will get into some of these matters in depth when the amendments reach committee. Section 4(1) of the present act provides:

Where an adult who has not attended school on a regular basis for at least 12 months informs a manpower officer-

Section 4(1) of Bill C-195 reads:

Where an adult who, at any time since attaining the regular leaving age in the province in which he resides has not attended

school on a regular basis for any period of at least 12 months informs a manpower officer-

It seems strange indeed that the stipulation "any period" should be included with that 12 month period. That makes me wonder if we are not trying to hit something with a baseball bat that does not exist, at least as far as abuses are concerned. Perhaps we can go into this in committee.

May I congratulate the minister and the department for making changes in another area about which we were concerned. The waiting period has now been redefined and is to be one year instead of three years. We are glad, because we were concerned about the matter. The hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) asked the minister earlier if wives of farmers are to be included in those eligible for training, and the minister replied that this will be considered in committee. What bothers me consistently about programs such as the one we are considering is this: much depends on the regulations and, invariably, when considering certain legislation or amendments, as we are now doing, we are asked to pass that legislation without knowing exactly what the regulations are to be. Actually, we do not know very much about the regulations until we see them. Therefore, we are being asked to pass legislation, the effect of which we do not really know. The minister and the Department of Manpower and Immigration are obligated to explain fully just who will be included and who will be excluded from the provisions of this bill. That can be done in committee.

We remember what happened in connection with unemployment insurance. We raised questions concerning severance pay and holiday pay, and are still waiting for answers. We are considering a most important amendment, and do not know exactly what the regulations will provide. Because we do not know what the regulations will provide, we could be subjected to a barrage of questions and criticism for passing a bill in good faith after debate in this House. I suggest, therefore, that we will need to examine closely the amendments which will be introduced in committee.

The minister should realize, I think, that on-the-job and in-plant training could be more valuable for certain employees than vocational training made available in institutions. In this regard the employers of this country have an obligation to fulfil, just as have the employees who take part in training programs. We must also make sure that people are placed in jobs for which they have been trained, so that they may use the practical knowledge they have acquired. Everyone knows that industry in this country is becoming highly automated and that technological changes are being introduced. We must make certain that changes in training programs will be in keeping with changes in industry. New skills cannot always, in my opinion, be taught at vocational training schools. Some can be better acquired through on-the-job training. Employees right in the plant can find out what methods are used. By so doing they can continue to serve the employer with whom they have trained and, if they meet the necessary requirements, serve him better.

May 5, 1972

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
SC

Roland Godin

Social Credit

Mr. Roland Godin (Portneui):

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to congratulate the minister who is sponsoring Bill C-195, to amend the Adult Occupational Act, now before us.

The continuance and improvement of this program is a laudable initiative, and I rejoice at the thought that from now on the three-year period which in the past was required before people could become eligible for an occupational training course will be reduced to one year.

I imagine that of all hon. members who have no income other than their parliamentary allowance, not one could afford to wait for three years before getting paid.

However, this is more or less what we used to ask of young people under the previous act. We used to ask them to wait for three years before they could qualify and become eligible to receive a few cents, just enough to survive until they got a job.

Although our general education system has been improved, it is obvious that all young people still cannot aim for a profession. The chance to study big books and to attend places of higher learning regularly is not given to everybody, and this bill is designed to assist all other people who still have skills.

In this life, we need good lawyers, good doctors, good accountants, but we also need butchers, bakers, carpenters, and electricians. In other words, we need a very large team which, though it may not seem so, is very important-a team of people who accomplish tasks which are indispensable to the smooth running of our society.

Although this bill appears on the whole to be very effective, it should not lead us to believe that every problem will be immediately solved. We are getting ready, we are making plans and we want to help young people and persons of all ages to retrain and be prepared to perform new tasks, but after reviewing the events that took place in our country these last few years, I am asking the following question: Will the minister's appropriations be as great as his intended generosity?

My question relates to the fact that I know some people in my riding who have actually qualified for training courses, who have attended them for a certain period of time and, suddenly, have been forced to wait another year before resuming the second part of these two-year courses. When these people complained to the Manpower Centre or to the Quebec office, they were repeatedly told for a week that this delay was due to lack of facilities and space. The following week, these same persons called up other officials of the manpower centre and, this time, they were given another explanation to the effect that the interruption of the courses was primarily due to lack of funds, the budget having been exceeded. I think that this explanation has worn thin, Mr. Speaker.

Other ministers have proposed other programs; municipalities and citizens groups have also submitted projects to the government and it often happens that they are rejected due to lack of money.

The Opportunities for Youth program has come back this year amidst an unprecedented publicity campaign and we know that of the 19,000 projects that are submitted, the minister will only retain 3,000 and reject the remaining 16,000 because of lack of funds.

Adult Occupational Training Act Today, the minister is brimming with good intentions; he has come to us with a clear and definite bill. But how will it be implemented? With regard to the Opportunities for Youth program, one project out of six only was approved, on the average. Therefore, can the minister assure the House that everyone that qualifies under the act will be accepted? Will the minister have to deal with the same problems as his colleagues who introduced the Local Initiative Program and the Opportunities for Youth program? Is the bill before us, Mr. Speaker, going to be accepted throughout the country, for all provinces and all regions of this country? Or will this legislation only apply to some special, designated, Liberal, Social Credit, or Conservative areas? One may ask all those questions, Mr. Speaker, as a result of the way legislation is accepted in this country at the present time, and applied in several fields. Unhappily, such situation occurs on too many occasions. Now, there is a provision of this bill which really makes me laugh, that is section 6, page 2, which reads as follows:

(1) The Minister may enter into a contract with

(a) any employer operating or undertaking to operate an occupational training course for the training of adults employed by the employer, or

(b) a group or association of such employers,

to provide for the payment by the Minister to that employer, group or association, as the case may be, of the costs incurred, as specified in the contract, by the employer, group or association in providing such training.

(2) The Minister may enter into a contract with

(a) any employer who has arranged for the training of adults employed by him in an occupational training course that is not operated by the employer, or

(b) any group or association of such employers,

to provide for the payment to that employer, group or association, as the case may be, of the costs incurred, as specified in the contract, by the employer, group or association in providing such training.

Despite the clear wording of the legislation, I wonder whether employers will take this provision seriously, after the bad experience they underwent last winter. And I will take the liberty, at this stage, to quote a letter which I received on March 24, 1972:

I quote:

Mr. Roland Godin,

M. P. for Portneuf,

Parliament Building, Ottawa.

Dear Sir:

Following the outcome of my request for training and employment to the manpower centre, I submit my opinion to you uncritically, as you will certainly and very shortly be able to convey it to the people, departments, members of Parliament or officials who will be able to act on it.

I submitted a request for training pursuant to the requirements of the manpower centre, which consisted in a program based on twelve months of training and liable to result in about 55 per cent of the performance necessary for the candidate to continue his job. Without giving up the basic purpose of my proposal, I accepted, having no other alternative, the eight weeks that I was offered, in view of my employee requirements to be able to expand my business.

I infer from this that the federal government or the manpower centre is really working to create jobs, but if I consider the outcome of my proposal, I wonder whether securing continuing

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act jobs while creating jobs through training programs would not be a better solution to the present unemployment problem.

How can 16 per cent of 55 per cent of required training secure a future for the candidate selected? What positive contribution can 16 per cent of a minimum of training make to the expansion of my business?

This case relates to a man who repairs and sells television sets. In fact, this businessman simply wanted to train electronics technicians. He feels it is really ridiculous that the manpower centre should dare believe that people will get appropriate training within eight weeks in such an important field as electronics.

I now continue my quotation:

Until I get proof to the contrary, I must conclude to a lack of seriousness in such decisions because 16 per cent is far from enough to meet the very objective of this training program set up by the government.

I have working for me a number of candidates to the manpower training program who deserve better job security and whose open minds, initiative and general ability should be encouraged. As for me, please believe that I will do my utmost to keep those employees.

By this letter surely you will admit the seriousness and agres-siveness of my business since the start and no less can be expected from those involved.

In another area, I would point out that other industrialists in my riding where approached last fall, that is to say in early January, when the government implemented a similar program. Officials of the Quebec manpower centre visited Loretteville and Saint-Emile where you can still find a fair group of glove and shoe manufacturers.

At that time they were proposed a program similar to that presented today. Long questionnaires were completed with the help of experts from the Manpower Centre.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed program was to last 26 weeks and all projects were to be submitted before March 31. However, for those who had made applications in January, answers were sent out in the afternoon of March 29 only, which was Holy Thursday. Those manufacturers who had jobs to offer were told that their programs had been accepted, even though the legislation stipulated that first they had to apply to manpower centres to get workers. Therefore, in waiting until Holy Thursday to inform the workers of the Loretteville and St. Emile area, the government was getting rid of them easily since the Quebec City manpower centre was closed on both Good Friday and the next day. These people had to wait until the next Monday to give an answer. So, in many cases, those manufacturers who were in a position to take in 30, 40, 50 or 60 workers finally hired only 5 or 10. Finally, the whole project went down the drain, especially when one considers that one manufacturer could have hired 50 people instead of the 5 that he actually did hire.

Mr. Speaker, this is an unfortunate situation, even if this bill is good. But to return once again to our manufacturers. When working for the federal government, especially in the Income Tax Division, even the most intelligent man in the world may behave stupidly simply because he walks around with a copy of the act in his pocket. Should he fail this year, he can always turn to the past four years to pick the pockets of Canadians and run away with what he can find. But for the businessman, the shoe and glove manufacturer at that, it is a completely different story. He

must hire travelling salesmen who must look after the orders. They have to buy leather for their industry and all kinds of materials essential to them and that must be done months in advance.

Whenever Manpower Centre employees discuss with manufacturers, they realize that they are not dealing with tax officials, that they are not dealing with people looking backward. The manufacturer is a man who has to look forward and take care of his business. If he did not, he would soon have to close shop. Those who are still in business are those who looked after their undertaking and I should like the government to give them full co-operation. Those people have done their utmost to make our country what it is today.

In concluding, Mr. Speaker, I should like the minister to give us the assurance that his budget will be important enough to come up to everything he is offering at the present time and I am wondering whether it would not be beneficial for the Canadian people to have a revision made in manpower centres in order to know what agents will assist manufacturers in cases such as this one.

And whenever a person is refused admission to a certain course, I should like manpower centre officials to be in agreement with one another so as to give the same answer every day. If the answer differs, it is too bad for people lose confidence in such programs.

It is for that reason that many citizens show dissatisfaction and I believe they are right, because we lied to them too often. Moreover, it is about time we helped them in every possible way and especially made financial means available to them.

So I hope that the minister will not miss the opportunity to explain such needs to all his colleagues, particularly the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) who after all is the last one to sign his name.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Thomas S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to spend a few minutes discussing a particular aspect of the amending bill which the minister has placed before us. I refer particularly to the subject matter of Sections 5 and 6 of the act to which the minister's bill proposes certain modifications.

I think it is clear that with regard to the authority which is conferred upon the minister, the act may be divided into two parts. First, there is authority to enter into agreements with the public authority, the province, to spend public funds of the government of Canada; second, to enter into agreements with private authorities such as industrial corporations. From my understanding with regard to entering into agreements with the public authority for the expenditure of money for manpower training, the individual taking the training either has to be referred to and approved by a manpower officer or has been approved in effect through the legislation of the respective provinces under their various training programs. This makes it clear there is a direct dealing, either by the federal or provincial authority, with the individual involved in a training program. It is my understanding that this relationship between the individual and the manpower office of the federal government or a parallel office under an apprenticeship training program of a province is

May 5, 1972

one which must exist. However, clause 6, which gives the minister authority to enter into an agreement with an employer or a group of employers, makes no reference at all to the individual concerned-to whether he ought, or ought not, to be undertaking a training program. This is an essential difference and one which should be borne in mind in terms of two aspects of the bill as they are set forth in clauses 4 and 5 together and in clause 6.

I am not quarrelling with the principle that the minister should have authority to enter into agreements with employers or employer groups. I understand there are two aspects of the program. There are occupational training courses which are operated by an employer within his own premises and, second, there are situations in which an employer can arrange to send an employee to an institution for training and be reimbursed for costs so incurred. It seems to me there is an essential element missing from the minister's proposals, and that its absence warrants some changes being made in the bill when it reaches the committee stage. I suggest that, to the extent that the new arrangements for entering into contracts with private employers fails to provide for direct contact with individual trainees, an important safeguard is missing, even if one considers the matter from the point of view of protecting the public purse alone. In addition to being satisfied that the employer concerned has consulted the government of the province in which the trainee is located before a contract can be entered into, there should, in my view, also be a provision that the minister must be satisfied that the employer has entered into consultation with the certified bargaining agent of the employee before he can enter into a contract. In my opinion, the minister should consider adding to the new clause 6(3), after the part which states that the minister must be satisfied that the employer has consulted with the government of the province, something along these lines: "and with any certified bargaining agent or agents of the employees of the employer, or the group or association, as the case may be."

I am not putting this idea forward out of a vacuum, as it were. I am advancing it partly because the proposed new clause 6 would remove the prohibition against entering into contracts in which the minister agrees to pay an employer the cost of on-the-job training in skills only useful to that employer. The minister will recall that there is a provision in the present section 6 of the act which gives general authority to enter into an agreement, subject to a subsection which states:

The minister shall not enter into a contract with an employer described in subsection (1) with respect to training of adults employed by that employer, that is, training on the job, or in skills useful only to that employer unless he is satisfied that such training is necessary because of technological or economic changes affecting that employer which would otherwise result in loss of employment by the adult being trained in the course.

This is not an inconsequential matter if one thinks in terms of safeguarding tax money provided by the citizens of Canada for training programs which directly involve individual private employers and which is connected presumably with their attempt to improve the efficiency of their operations. The safeguard is also important as a means of discouraging employers from simply using the

Adult Occupational Training Act mechanism provided by this act in order to enhance their own private positions as a result of the expenditure of public funds. Perhaps no more effective safeguard could be provided than to require that the minister must be satisfied in all cases where a trade union is certified that the union has been consulted.

The proposal in this legislation, if I understand it correctly, is designed to make possible a more permanent application of some of the features of the on-the-job training program. This has given rise to some concern in the ranks of certain trade unions, because these arrangements have been used in such a way as to interfere with terms which have been negotiated as part of union agreements.

In some cases in Canada-this is a matter that can be gone into in depth in committee more effectively than one can discuss it in a speech on the floor of the House-very detailed contracts, agreements or memoranda of agreement have been worked out plant by plant with some employers which provide for on-the-job training of employees as a matter of course. As part of the collective agreement it has been deemed to be to the mutual advantage of employer and employee that the employer, without any assistance from the public purse, has a continuing program of training for his employees for upgrading their skills, so the employer always has available a work force which is expert in the skills which it performs in the plant.

In some cases these agreements in their genesis go back over a number of years. As a result of experience during the course of time, they have been upgraded and improved. To my knowledge, during the past winter, through the on-the-job training program and without any knowledge whatever coming either from the employer or the officials in the minister's department, the employers in effect, started to interfere with what was and has been accepted as being normal practice in the plant under memoranda of agreement between trade union and employer.

I suggest to the minister that, quite apart from anything in the legislation, as a matter of administrative practice-I am sure that under the act which set up his department the minister has this authority-it should be routine for the management of a local manpower office to advise and consult with established trade unions who are certified as the bargaining agents for employees in the particular plants or activities carried on by employers in their area of operation.

Apart from any legislative requirement for consultation by the employer, manpower offices should be a source of information. There should be a two-way flow of information between manower offices and local offices of trade unions lying within their area of operation. This has not always been universal practice across the country and has led to unnecessary misunderstanding and confusion about what has been actually going on in regard to the work force of the area concerned. I suggest that this question could best be dealt with in detail in committee, but I put the matter forward now in the hope that the minister and his advisers will give the situation very serious consideration and that opportunity will be given

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act during the course of the committee proceedings to call experienced administrators in the trade union field to deal with the matter.

Even as a result of certain arrangements worked out in the past whereby employees have gone to training schools outside the employer's premises, in the opinion of some of those who are most familiar with the details of operation in the industry some of the courses offered have been less than useful vis-a-vis the amount of federal funds expended upon them. In the view of some of these people whom 1 know, the employer in effect has unnecessarily leaned on the public purse in order to provide a poorer kind of training than that which has been traditionally provided on the job without any supplement from the public purse be it federal or provincial.

This is another aspect of the matter which I think should be considered and is another reason provision for consultation should be made between the agents of the people involved and the employer before the minister is given the authority, as proposed in the bill, to enter into contracts.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Mr. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grace):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise only one point regarding this bill but it is a very important point. It is not clear to me whether the bill or the regulations to be made thereunder cover the point. I fully approve of all the evident measures put forward in the bill and congratulate the minister for them. I am particularly pleased at the provision removing the requirement of three years in the work force and that regarding the eligibility of women who work in the home as housewives.

My point concerns those individuals who live in bilingual areas in Canada, such as Montreal, Ottawa, Moncton, Sudbury, Cornwall and so on, and who cannot find work due to the fact that they cannot speak the other official language. As a representative from Montreal I have found in the past few years that many well trained Canadians have been laid off from work for one cause or another and are unable to find other work because they do not speak the other language. For example, I have met many English-speaking stenographers and secretaries who are most competent and are looking for work, but when they go to the personnel office or employment agency they are asked whether they can also speak French. Very often, although these people have had some training in the second language it is insufficient to permit them to work in that language and this is the principal reason they cannot obtain employment.

I have been arguing for several years now that our manpower retraining program and retraining allowances should apply to people such as this, whether it be a French-speaking person in Ottawa who cannot find work because he does not have sufficient knowledge of English, or an English-speaking person in Montreal who cannot find work because he does not speak French. I maintain that our manpower retraining program should give these people courses in the other language so they can become qualified for work, just as other people need training in the art of carpentry, electronics and other trades.

As the House knows, courses are given under the manpower retraining program for completion of high school

and many people take grades 9, 10 and 11. If we agree it is necessary to be educated to grades 9, 10 and 11 in order to find work, we should agree to train people in the second language if that is necessary for them to find work. In areas such as Montreal and other bilingual districts, such is not now the case.

I am pleased to back the government's program which has been to promote bilingualism in those areas of Canada where it is necessary. At the same time, I believe that when people are affected by these requirements in their work we should help them, under the manpower retraining program, to acquire proficiency in the other language with which they are not familiar.

One of the anomalies of our programs is that under the immigration program we help people to acquire a working knowledge of the French and English languages. A person who comes to Canada as an immigrant can take a French or English course through the Manpower and Immigration Department and is paid a training allowance while taking the course. People coming from countries such as England, Ireland or the United States, being English-speaking can under the Department of Manpower and Immigration program take training courses in the French language while receiving a living allowance. But an English-speaking person born in Montreal, a Canadian citizen, cannot go to the Department of Manpower and Immigration and take the same course.

I have argued that if the government is going to provide courses to immigrants so they can learn the official languages of this country for purposes of employment, we should do the same thing for our native born Canadian citizens. Perhaps the minister in replying can cover this point. I should hope that as a result of these amendments or the regulations to be passed in relation thereto, language retraining programs will be included as a course one can obtain under the adult occupational training program. If this were allowed I think we would solve many of our employment problems in areas where bilingual capability is needed.

This is the only point I wish to raise in respect of the bill, and to me it is extremely important. My constituency is in Montreal. Seventy-five per cent of the population is English-speaking, yet they live in a city where 80 per cent of the population is French-speaking. The 75 per cent English-speaking figure includes immigrants from many parts of the world. We have many British people, Italians, Greeks, Germans, and so on. Once they become citizens and require employment, they must have the capability of working in both languages.

One of the objections raised by the government is that evening language courses are given by the school commission of Montreal and the people to whom I have referred can take them. The courses under the school commission are not as good as those provided by the Department of Manpower and Immigration. They are not nearly as intensive, and they are conducted in the evening. There is no retraining or training allowance attached to them. I argue that if the government carries out retraining programs and pays training allowances in order that people can finish high school, learn a trade and so on, the govern-

May 5, 1972

ment should do the same in respect of language training when such training is directly related to ability to work in the cities where these people live. I hope I have made my point, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Muir (Cape Breton-The Sydneys):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to say a few words on this bill introduced by the minister. In his opening remarks the minister said, and 1 think I quote him accurately, that by no stretch of the imagination could this bill be regarded as a major overhaul of the legislation. I agree with him in that regard. He also said there had been consultations with the provinces regarding the bill. I wonder whether during these consultations the minister considered the fact that when the time period is reduced from three years to one year there will be a tremendous need for additional space.

The time period should always have been one year and should never have been changed by this government. When the time stipulation was increased to three years in the labour force, senior members of the Salvation Army and other groups condemned this action by the government. In my own area the participation rate in trades training schools is very high and I doubt that more people can be handled under the program. I hope this situation will be improved by the construction of a new school.

I am pleased to see the minister in his position as Minister of Manpower. I know he will be a pleasant change from his stone-faced and stone-hearted predecessor who never came down from his ivory tower, never knew how to smile and, I assume, never knew what it was to be unemployed. He had no compassion whatsoever for the unemployed or those who required assistance. This is typical of many members on the government benches; they do not seem to realize these problems. I cannot say that about the present minister, who has always been most co-operative and willing to work with all members of the House. I speak from experience. I have found him to be that way and I look forward to his bringing in further changes in the future. I think I have said enough nice things about the minister for the moment and now it is time to criticize him a little.

Like the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate-I should say the hon. member for Gander-Twillingate (Mr. Lundrigan) because the former hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate now occupies a well-padded position which I hope he continues to occupy. As I was about to say, like the hon. member for Gander-Twillingate I commend the previous deputy minister for doing such a good job. I congratulate the new deputy minister and hope he will weigh his statements and not make them off the top of his head. I have in mind, particularly, statements in reference to problems of unemployment insurance and benefits.

I realize this subject is not related to the bill before us, but I hope the new deputy minister will not continue to blame all the difficulties on the applicants rather than the drafters of certain measures. I hope he will not speak as wildly in future as he has in the past, without knowing the facts. Those of us who have been members for some time are aware that 10 or 12 people would call each day complaining about not receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The fact was that they had not received benefits for weeks and sometimes months.

Adult Occupational Training Act

Bill C-195 is a pathetic attempt to improve the operations of the Manpower training program. If does right a few wrongs and accomplishes a few housekeeping chores, but it leaves the bulk of the program as ineffective as it is now. As I understand it, there are five basic changes proposed in Bill C-195. First, the bill proposes to remove the current restrictions which require people to serve three years in the labour force or to be supporting dependants in order to receive an allowance. In future, people who have been out of school a total of 12 months, not necessarily uninterrupted, will be eligible to receive an allowance. Second, the bill provides that provincial training costs to be paid by the federal government will be specified in advance through a contract. Currently, the federal government merely picks up the tab in arrears.

Third, the bill would allow the federal government to enter into a contract for a training course with a group or association of employers rather than merely one employer. Fourth, the bill proposes to do away with the restrictions against on-the-job training, as the Economic Council of Canada, the Progressive Conservative party and many other critics have long been advocating. Finally, the bill would allow the payment of less than the specified amounts for allowances to persons without dependants.

Really, the only two important changes are those concerning the removal of restrictions on allowances and on in-industry training programs. These changes are long overdue. For the rest, the bill is a great disappointment. These changes are not sufficient to improve the program substantially. Low income, poorly educated Canadians, particularly in rural areas and in the outlying districts of Canada, will be no better off when this bill is passed than they are now. Many reputable groups have complained that the manpower training program has important limitations which restrict the role of the program in reducing poverty. The report of the Special Senate Committee on poverty emphasized the inadequacy of the program's effect on poverty. I quote from that report at page 150:

The federal manpower programs, like other national economic development programs, have . . . only limited relevance to the poverty question. They are not and cannot be evaluated in terms of the direct contribution they make to poverty reduction or elimination.

Similarly, the report of the federal task force on agriculture in 1969 complained as follows:

The role (of manpower training programs) in reducing the numbers of farm poor ... appears limited. The best hope is that manpower programs will provide good non-farm alternatives to younger operators, to the sons of marginal farmers and to other rural youth who are ill equipped to become modern farmers. ... But it is unrealistic to look for any great impact in the ranks of the middle-aged who make up a high percentage of the farm poverty sector today.

Even to reach younger operators poses problems. For example most training courses require at least grade 10 standing.

In contrast to these realistic appraisals of the impact of the manpower training program on poverty, we have the self-congratulatory pose adopted by the former minister of manpower-I emphasize that this is the former minister and not the present minister-who said in his report on the 1970 operations of the Canada Manpower training program that it-

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act -is one of the major federal programs directed toward the alleviation of poverty by helping the poor develop their skills and thus improve their income and employment prospects. Its impact is directly centred on the poor.

However, in typical Liberal fashion the minister fails to quote figures to support his flowing rhetoric, for this same report does not in any way demonstrate how the program is achieving such a laudable aim. Although the then minister pointed out that 60 per cent of all trainees and 94 per cent of female family-head trainees in 1970 were living at or below the poverty line when put on a course, there is no reference to the proportion removed from poverty as a result of the training they received from the course.

There are some serious hindrances in the Adult Occupational Training Act which cripple any anti-poverty initiative the manpower training program might otherwise have. First of all, the underlying principles of the manpower training programs are not oriented toward disadvantaged groups. The Canadian government's strategy in the field of manpower policy is primarily a growth strategy-this was stated by the Economic Council of Canada in its eighth annual review-with the objectives of equity and stabilization clearly being secondary. This strong emphasis on growth and efficiency provides a sharp contrast with the manpower strategy of other countries, notably the United States.

In the United States, training programs are much more heavily oriented to serving disadvantaged groups. Most programs which draw on federal funds in the United States require that all or a large majority of trainees come from the disadvantaged population, meaning that they are poor and have one or more serious handicaps in finding and keeping satisfactory jobs.

Another criticism concerning the principles underlying the operations of the manpower training program has been voiced by the Special Senate Committee on Poverty. Their report charges that the federal manpower program is oriented toward providing a service to employers and not toward meeting the needs of the individual worker. Such orientation conflicts to some extent with the purposes of the Adult Occupational Training Act, as stated on March 3, 1967, by the then minister of manpower and immigration who said, as recorded at page 13738 of Hansard of March 3,1967:

We want to provide a second chance to the people who need it most. These are the men and women who missed the chance to acquire a skill during their youth or whose skill has been made obsolete by technological change.

The Special Senate Committee on Poverty charges that "what was intended as a 'people-oriented' program has become an 'economy-oriented' program". In addition to this problem arising from the principles of the manpower training program there is a second problem that hinders the effectiveness of the program in fighting poverty. This problem is that the regulations governing the application of the act provide that a potential applicant for a place in an occupational training program must have "a specific vocational goal".

This regulation is particularly discriminatory when applied to poor people in Canada. Persons without a basic education are not usually aware of the variety of occupational opportunities available to those with job skills. Why

was this stipulation not removed from the Adult Occupational Training Act through Bill C-195, if the Minister of Manpower is truly interested in helping the disadvantaged, and I think he is?

There is a third way in which the Adult Occupational Training Act is at fault. The act provides that no occupational training course may exceed 52 weeks duration of full-time introduction. The result of this provision is that no person requiring more than one year's academic upgrading is eligible for occupational training under the act. Because almost all vocational skill programs in Canada today require a grade 10 education as a prerequisite-here I refer to trades such as welding, carpentry, the electrical trades and plumbing-and because most academic upgrading courses can raise a student's functioning equivalent grade level by about three grades in 52 weeks, very few persons with an educational attainment below grade 7 can gain entry into "basic training for skills development" occupational training courses. Some of these persons do gain entrance to manpower programs but usually this happens in error or because there is a sympathetic manpower counsellor. In fact, in the 1968-69 training courses only 13.2 per cent of all the trainees had had six years or less schooling when they entered the course.

This 52-week limitation on programs is all the more important when we consider the direct correlation between a low level of schooling and a high degree of unemployment. In May, 1971, persons with less than a grade 8 education had an unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent compared to only 5.1 per cent for persons with a post-secondary education.

In the Atlantic region, persons with less than a grade 8 education had a 10.4 per cent unemployment rate in May, 1971, while those with a post-secondary education had a rate of only 6.2 per cent. Consider Cape Breton Island, where the educational level of a portion of the population is comparatively low and the unemployment rate comparatively high; in fact, figures of 20 per cent to 25 per cent have been given by non-partisan groups.

Only within recent days have we received a report from an association called the Cape Breton Alliance for Development which is comprised of the clergy, labour, unions, boards of trade and people in other fields with no political affiliation. This group conducted a survey on the island as a result of a grant under the Local Initiatives Program and came up with the figure of 29.31 per cent unemployment on Cape Breton Island. This is a tragedy, Mr. Speaker. There are those within the government who may say that these people do not know what they are talking about, but I think they did their job very sincerely. They suggested measures for reducing unemployment.

I placed a motion before the House under Standing Order 43 in order to discuss this matter, but it was not accepted by the government. I was sorry that the government House leader, who also represents in this House a portion of Cape Breton, did not rise to assist me in getting his colleagues to allow the motion to come before the House so that the contents of the report could be sent to the committee for consideration.

May 5, 1972

The removal from the Adult Occupational Training Act of the 52-week limitation on training is an essential step toward helping the low income, poorly educated unemployed toward meaningful training and employment. The Progressive Conservative party has pledged that it will abolish this time limit on these programs. In addition to these three faults there is a fourth problem with the manpower training program that has become more crucial since the new Income Tax Act made training allowances taxable. This problem concerns unemployment insurance as it relates to the manpower training program.

Currently, a person employed in insurable employment who is being trained under an occupational training course will not be eligible for unemployment insurance while in receipt of a training allowance, but will retain his benefit and contribution rights. The qualifying period will be extended to include any period during which he is being trained under an occupational training program and is in receipt of a training allowance. Similarly, his benefit period, which normally runs for a maximum of 52 weeks from the week of the claim, will be extended to a maximum of 156 weeks.

With these stipulations I do not quibble. However, I would argue that trainees should have unemployment insurance premiums deducted from their allowances for the entire duration of their courses. I discussed this matter with the minister and he was very sympathetic to my point of view. I hope he will be giving more consideration to the problem. In that way, Mr. Speaker, these people would build up credits and could qualify for unemployment insurance benefits if they were unable to secure employment upon completion of their courses. When they complete their courses, particularly in the schools of Cape Breton Island, under the present administration they have no hope of finding a job, given the figures I quoted a few moments ago. If they had some benefits to fall back on they would be in better shape, particularly if they found it necessary to move away from the island. I hope this will not be the case, because we get a little tired or exporting our brains to Upper Canada. I see the minister smiling.

The case to be made for such a step is very straightforward. The federal government, by removing the three-year labour restriction in the act has recognized the hardships now imposed by the act on young people with little work experience who are unable to secure jobs. It took them a long time to recognize that, Mr. Speaker. For ages we have been telling them that there should never have been a three-year period, it should have been only one year. When young men and women come out of school feeling that they have to kill time around the streets for three years before they can get training, it is very discouraging. They become depressed and disillusioned. They cannot find the employment they seek and neither can they get training because, until this bill was introduced, they had to be three years on the labour market. Thank goodness that provision is to be changed.

These young people are unable to accumulate enough unemployment insurance credits before they take a training course to qualify for UIC benefits after the course if they are still unsuccessful in their job seeking. I thought the minister might have taken care of that problem in this bill. His refusal to incorporate such a change in Bill C-195

Adult Occupational Training Act is puzzling. On April 20, 1972, he promised to consider the matter and reply to my question the following day. I am sorry the minister has such a short memory that he had forgotten his promise when he introduced the bill six days later, on April 26.

If trainees are to pay income tax on their allowances, they should be able to make unemployment insurance contributions and collect benefits if they need them at the conclusion of the training. This is already being done in the case of students at the Coast Guard College at Point Edward. If unemployment insurance is to be truly universal as the government apparently intended, it should also apply to manpower trainees. It would also be fair, I maintain, for the federal government to be consistent with arrangements in private business and industry and to pay half the cost of unemployment insurance premiums in its capacity as the temporary employer of the trainees. These are not the only ways in which the manpower training program could be improved if it is to function adequately to aid the hard core unemployed and the poor, but these four faults of the Adult Occupational Training Act could easily have been rectified in Bill C-195.

There are a number of other points I should like to draw to the attention of the minister. One is the question of hairdressing courses. I have dealt with this matter at the provincial or regional level and have been informed that there has been a cutback in training people in hairdressing, particularly on Cape Breton Island, because it is felt there will be too many hairdressers. This may be so, but not everyone trained there will stay; they may go to Ontario, Quebec or other parts of Canada. However, if they had this skill it would stand them in good stead, for when they move along voluntarily or even if they are forced to move because of the inadequate economic policies of this government, such training should provide them with employment. I hope the minister will look into the problem and ascertain if there is any reason for a cutback in this regard.

Schools in Sydney and the surrounding area were told that no more applicants for hairdressing courses would be accepted. At the same time, the school in Halifax enrolled 15 students. It seems unusual to suggest that people in Halifax have more hair on their heads than the people of Cape Breton and need to look after it better. I do not know what the answer is, and I hope the minister will look into the matter.

I wish to raise another important point. Young lads interested in becoming trained morticians have come to me seeking help. Not everyone wants to be a mortician, but the job has to be done. Regrettably, in my province-I do not know if it happens in other provinces-people who are in business as morticians employ young men to do all the heavy work, lifting and on-the-job training, so to speak, for a small fee. When these young men want more money-and, after all, most of them are on call 24 hours a day-they are politely told by the proprietor of the establishment, "We cannot pay you any more. We can soon get other young men to take your place."

Usually these young men want more money so they can enrol in the appropriate school and obtain a licence as

May 5, 1972

Adult Occupational Training Act embalmers. I hope the minister and his officials will consider helping young lads like these. This field of training ought to be included in the bill. There would not be a heavy drain on the treasury because I am sure not too many young men have entered this profession. Few members of the House, so far as I am aware, are members of the profession. However, it is an honourable profession and we should prepare young people to enter it. Actually, they would come in handy in burying this government after the next election which is no doubt to take place in a few months.

I agree with the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Mr. Allmand) who suggested that provision for language training should be included in the bill. I think that is an excellent idea for the simple reason that I supported the official languages bill. It has great merit. But I also agree with the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton (Mr. Blair) and others who have said that the official languages program is moving too quickly. Hon. members of other parties have suggested that the program is being force-fed to the public service and as a result B and B-bilingualism and biculturalism-has for those people become another sort of B and B-loss of bread and butter. Some public servants cannot continue filling jobs which require the use of both languages.

In Cape Breton, particularly, I understand that there are to be four or five vacancies in the public service. An eligibility list was drawn up and came into effect in December. On June 15 next that list is to be eliminated. Those who have been tested in connection with public service vacancies and who have passed their examinations are no longer to be eligible. We know that these lists are valid for one year and, as I said, the current list is to be eliminated on June 15. The competition in that case required employees to be unilingual and speak English only. I understand that public servants to fill those vacancies are to be selected from the previous list which required public servants to be bilingual. I think 23 applicants previously qualified for these jobs. Today I asked the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Drury) what I, as the member representing the area, am to say to the people who will be discriminated against and who will not get the jobs even though they were previously considered eligible.

I am pleased to note that widows are covered by the bill. Often, in the area I come from and in the area in which the President of the Privy Council (Mr. MacEachen) resides, men become disabled and die, sometimes after long illness contracted in the coal mines, in the steel plant or in the fishing industry. Perhaps the man catches tuberculosis; sometimes he contracts silicosis. The compensation board in Halifax does not recognize silicosis as an illness coming under its jurisdiction. Often, because the man concerned cannot obtain compensation from the board, the wife or widow as the case may be must go out and work. There is great hardship in these cases. I am glad the minister has broadened the scope of the bill and made changes encompassing widows. He is to be commended for that.

I could mention a few other points but will relinquish the floor to other hon. members who wish to put their thoughts on record and persuade the minister to make

changes. In discussing the bill, the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Mackasey) is reported to have termed the total package as a series of efforts to improve what is already perhaps the world's finest manpower program. I do not agree, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure many other hon. members do not agree with that statement. None the less, I commend the minister for what he is doing, and in the short time during which he will remain minister I look forward to changes which may be introduced in legislation of this type. The minister is a man with whom one can discuss problems. He will give you a really good hearing and act, if action can be taken. It is unfortunate that other members of the cabinet have not learned a lesson from the Minister of Manpower and Immigration.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

There you are, Bryce; there's a compliment for you.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
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NDP

Roderick J. (Rod) Thomson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Rod Thomson (Battleford-Kindersley):

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Mackasey) hopes to finish this afternoon the discussion on this stage of the bill. Although we will not delay it, I do not think debate on this stage will be finished by four o'clock.

May I mention briefly one or two items of interest to Canadian workers. These may affect future training in certain fields. I draw to the minister's attention the fact that earlier this week, at an oil seminar, it was suggested that if an oil pipeline is constructed down the Mackenzie valley, 6,000 workmen will be required to build it. Many of those workers will need special skills. Since much of this pipeline is to be built far from our cities in the south, it is hoped that some of the work can be done by people indigenous to the northern area. These people will need to be trained. Perhaps they can benefit from on the job training. I call this matter to the minister's attention because we ought to look ahead to employing such people.

Such a pipeline, if built, would be a big project in Canada. It would be too bad if through lack of trained manpower in Canada workers from another country were employed on the building of the pipeline. I suggest to the minister that it might be wise if he were to begin considering this problem. Even if the Mackenzie valley pipeline is not built, obviously other pipelines will be built in our north country. Special skills will be required. Workmen will be living and working in extreme cold. They will need special skills if they are to work under such conditions. I suggest to the minister that we ought to look ahead and anticipate what will be required in this respect.

While considering the Mackenzie valley pipeline, let us remember that if the pipeline is built, about one million tons of steel pipe will be needed. Someone must make the pipe. We hope that Canadian factories will make a good proportion of it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I do not know whether the hon. member feels that what he is saying is related to the principle of the bill before us. Personally, I have some doubt.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
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NDP

Roderick J. (Rod) Thomson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Thomson:

May I carry on for just a minute, Mr. Speaker? We shall require a considerable amount of training for work in the mills which manufacture pipe. This is

May 5, 1972

the point I wish to make. I also draw to the attention of the minister that building a pipeline as extensive as this will require expansion of the industry in Canada. It will also require expansion of training in Canada. This is the reason I raise the matter. I merely mentioned the one million tons of steel pipe required to emphasize the size of the project and the size of the labour force required in the steel industry, which is of special interest to hon. members. It would be unfortunate if we had to import the pipe because we did not have enough productive capacity or skilled labour to deal with this or similar projects. This is my point, and I leave it at that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink
NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Orlikow (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that I welcome some of the changes proposed in this bill to amend the Adult Occupational Training Act. The former minister of manpower who introduced this bill will remember the debate at that time, in which I participated. We took very strong exception to the provision the bill proposes to amend, namely, that a person had to be in the labour force for three years before qualifying for manpower training under the provisions of the act.

We pointed out that that provision would keep out of the manpower training program precisely the people who need the training most. I refer to relatively young people who have finished school but do not have the qualifications necessary to begin work. Although they do not have the training necessary, they are told they cannot receive the benefits of the program until they have been away from school and in the labour force for three years.

I do not intend to quote from Hansard, but I remember pointing out to the then minister that a person 18 or 19 years of age who had finished high school, was living at home and for whom it would be relatively simple and quite economical to provide training in our institutions was being told he had to wait for three years, by which time he would in all likelihood be married and meeting his living expenses while undergoing training would be a great hardship. I remember the arguments with which this point was met and the explanation as to why it should not be done. Therefore, we welcome the amendments proposed in this bill.

This is one of the few opportunities which we have in parliament to deal with the very real difficulties which we face in the whole field of employment and manpower training. To a large extent it is pointless and, indeed, cruel to be conducting such an elaborate and expensive manpower training program while at the same time accepting the fact, although the government does not admit it, that we shall continue to have large-scale unemployment in this country.

The minister is pointing out that we have only a few minutes left in this debate. I do not know why that is so. In any event, I hope the minister will take the opportunity, if not today then on a future occasion, to explain to the people of this country what earthly sense there is in spending several hundred million dollars on manpower training each year, when for the past two years we have had 6 per cent or more unemployment per month, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Adult Occupational Training Act

As the leader of our party pointed out yesterday, projections made by the University of Toronto Institute for the Quantitative Analysis of Social and Economic Policy released a few days ago indicate that for the balance of 1972 and into 1973 we will be faced with the problem of having more than 6 per cent of the labour force unemployed. What sense is there in spending several hundred million dollars and keeping 100,000 or 200,000 people in training programs when there are over 600,000 people unemployed at the present time? I know there are political advantages to the government; it can say there are only 630,000 people unemployed today rather than having to admit that between 100,000 and 200,000 people in training programs will be added to the number of unemployed.

What jobs will these people be able to get when they have finished the training program? I wonder whether the minister and his department have conducted any surveys as to the number of people who have completed manpower training programs and have been unable to find jobs in the fields in which they were trained. Also, have any surveys been conducted to determine the number of people who have taken manpower training programs, not just once but two or three times? Attending manpower training courses becomes a way of life for some people rather than a method of getting better training in order to find a job. As long as we do not have a policy of full employment, manpower training to a large extent is a sham and a delusion. That is the first point to which we should address ourselves. Second, we need to ask ourselves-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ADULT OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE ALLOWANCES, AUTHORIZATION OF CONTRACTS WITH EMPLOYERS
Permalink

May 5, 1972