After warnings of under-spending, Liberals eye boosts to job-training programs

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OTTAWA — Senior government officials have been warned that Canada was dangerously behind last year on spending to help workers improve their skills to stay employed.

A January 2018 presentation to a group of deputy ministers noted government spending on active labour-market programs is about half the average of spending in a group of comparator countries.

The committee of top-level public servants was told Canada would be less able to adapt to workforce shifts without a boost in spending.

The Canadian Press obtained the documents under the federal access-to-information law.

In a year-end interview, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos talked about the need to use publicly funded job-training programs as a way to get more people into the labour force to help reduce poverty and keep the economy growing.

He says the federal government has a role to play in helping cash-strapped provinces pay for training programs, and ensure better information sharing between jurisdictions.

The Canadian Press