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Section IV - Other Items of Interest

Detailed Program Description by Strategic Outcome

A. Policies and Programs that meet the Human Capital and Social Development Needs of Canadians

Program Activity: Policy, Research and Communications

Strategic Policy

Strategic Policy focuses on addressing the social and human capital challenges of Canadians through strategic, innovative solutions. To move forward with implementing the Government's commitments in the area of human resources and social development, the Department develops foundational policy frameworks and strategies that enable the Department to identify emerging policy issues for Canadians.

Knowledge, Analysis, Audit and Evaluation

Knowledge, analysis and Evaluation provides leadership in data management, research, dissemination and exchange, monitoring and reporting, and evaluation to support strong accountability, innovative and responsive policies and programs and evidence-based decision-making by governments, public institutions, businesses, communities, families and citizens.

Public Affairs and Engagement

Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations provide strategic communications and stakeholder relations advice and support to the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Department. It also contributes to the HRSDC objective of creating opportunities and choices for Canadians to reach their full potential in society and the labour market. This is support through HRSDC programs and policies by: Developing and executing targeted communications strategies that inform Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable, about programs and policies to meet their social development and labour market needs; and, Engaging the public stakeholders on key departmental issues through discussions and consultations, which facilitates the inclusion of views of Canadians in the research, policy and program development process.

B. Enhanced Canadian Productivity and Participation Through Effective and Inclusive Labour Markets, Competitive Workplaces and Access To Learning

Program Activity: Labour Market

Employment Insurance

This program promotes individual well being, economic stability and a flexible labour market by providing temporary income support to unemployed workers who qualify under Part I of the Employment Insurance Act. Employment Insurance encompasses a wide range of benefits to address the needs of workers and the labour market, including Canadians who are sick, pregnant or caring for a newborn or adopted child, as well as those who must care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death.

Actuarial Services

The Actuarial Services provide professional actuarial services to the Employment Insurance Commission and branches of HRSDC and Service Canada. Services include: providing the Employment Insurance (EI) Commission with an annual report on the actuarial calculation of the EI break-even premium rate and maximum insurable earnings; establishing premium reductions for Provincial Plans (such as the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan) and qualified wage-loss replacement plans for sickness. Actuarial valuations are provided for the Government Annuities and Civil Service Insurance programs by determining its actuarial liabilities and its annual surplus (deficit) and by monitoring its soundness by performing mortality studies. The Chief Actuary is also accountable for providing advice on proposed changes in the EI Act and on practice of private and public insurers with similar insurance and welfare programs.

Income Benefits

Income Benefits provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians, including self-employed fishers while they look for work, participants on work-sharing agreements, as well as to Canadians who need to take a temporary absence from work for sickness, pregnancy and childbirth, caring for a newborn or adopted child, or to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member with a significant risk of death.

Labour Market Programs

This program provides services that are funded under the Consolidated Revenue Fund and Part II of the Employment Insurance Act. These enable Canadians, including unemployed adults and targeted groups, such as youth, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal Peoples, to develop their skills and encourage them to invest in themselves and become self-reliant and more adaptable to labour market changes.

Employment Benefits and Support Measures (EI)

Part II of the Employment Insurance Act authorizes the design and implementation of Employment Benefits and Support Measures to help unemployed participants prepare for, find and keep employment. Under co-management Labour Market Development Agreements in four provinces and one territory, the Employment Benefits and Support Measures are designed and managed jointly among Service Canada, HRSDC and the provinces/ territory. Pan-Canadian funding maintained under HRSDC management is used under the Employment Benefits and Support Measures to address labour market issues and priorities that are national or multiregional in scope. The pan-Canadian spending is focused on four classes of investments: enhancing investment in workplace skills; finding innovative solutions to reducing risk through improvements to the effectiveness of EI active measures; Aboriginal people; and supporting agreements with provinces, territories and Aboriginal people.

Labour Market Development Agreements Transfers

Under the authority of the Employment Insurance Act, Labour Market Development Agreements have been signed with all provinces and territories. Eight of these agreements are in the form of a transfer agreement under which six provinces and two territories have assumed responsibility for the design and delivery of provincial/territorial programs and services similar to Employment Benefits and Support Measures. For the five labour market development agreements that are co-managed (NL, PEI, NS, BC, and YK), HRSDC shares responsibility for the design of labour market development programs and services. In these provinces/territories, HRSDC (through Service Canada) continues to be responsible for the management and delivery of the employment benefits and support measures through its network of local offices.

Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy

The Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy is designed to assist Aboriginal people to prepare for, find and keep employment and builds Aboriginal capacity for human resources development. Labour market and skills development programming under the Strategy is delivered through agreements with approximately 80 Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement holders across the country. The Strategy integrates most of HRSDC's Aboriginal programming.

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnerships

Complementary to the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnerships is a nationally managed program geared toward supporting collaboration among Aboriginal groups, the private sector and provincial/territorial governments. The goal of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership program is to ensure sustainable employment for Aboriginal people in major, large-scale economic opportunities (such as diamond mining, oil and gas exploration and development and forestry initiatives) leading to long-term benefits for Aboriginal communities, families and individuals.

Youth Employment Strategy

This program ensures that Canada's youth are well prepared to participate and succeed in today's changing labour market. The Strategy is delivered in partnership with the private sector and non-governmental organizations through the collective efforts of twelve federal departments, agencies and corporations, with HRSDC in the lead role. HRSDC is responsible for approximately 76% of program funds with the remainder coming from other government departments. Under the Strategy, youth employment initiatives target youth from 15 to 30 years of age who are unemployed or underemployed. This national strategy offers a broad range of initiatives under three programs: Skills Link, Summer Work Experience and Career Focus.

Labour Market Adjustments

This program supports the objectives of an integrated labour market system and to ensure the right tools are in place to meet the needs of a flexible and expanding labour market. Labour market adjustments were initially established to help absorb labour market shocks, emerging issues, and/or crisis allowing the department to respond to urgent situations. The labour market adjustments also fund programs of short duration including the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW). TIOW is a two-year federal-provincial/territorial cost shared initiative to assist unemployed older workers in communities affected by significant downsizing or closures, or ongoing high unemployment, through programming aimed at reintegrating them into employment. The initiative is delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories which are responsible for identifying affected communities, as well as the design and delivery of projects. This interim initiative has been put in place while a feasibility study to evaluate current and potential measures to address the challenges faced by displaced older workers is undertaken.

Enabling Fund for Official Language Minority Communities

The Enabling Fund serves to enhance the development and vitality of Official language minority communities by strengthening community capacity in areas of human resources and community economic development by promoting partnerships at all levels, especially with federal partners. The Fund provides leverage and complementarity with funding under other HRSDC and federal and provincial/territorial government programs. Through two national committees (francophone and anglophone), the Fund ensures collaboration with partners for joint action, planning and development intended to enhance the communities' vitality.

Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities

This program is designed to improve the employment situation of Canadians with disabilities, by enhancing their employability, increasing the employment opportunities available to them, and building on their existing knowledge base. These agreements facilitate coordination in labour market programming targeted to people with disabilities through agreements with provinces.

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

This program is designed to assist people with disabilities who are ineligible for employment programs available through the Employment Insurance program. Funding under this program assists eligible people with disabilities to prepare for and obtain employment or self-employment as well as to develop the skills necessary to maintain that new employment. Funding is provided for the provision of employment related services and interventions tailored to meet the needs of persons with disabilities in order to facilitate their integration into employment, including financial assistance to employers to encourage them to hire persons with disabilities that they would not normally hire, supporting projects developed by sponsor organizations that will provide participants with opportunities to gain meaningful work experience, covering all or a portion of tuition costs to assist in gaining skills for employment, providing assistance to individuals in starting a new business and providing assistance to organizations to conduct employment related activities designed to assist persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain and keep employment.

Program Activity: Workplace Skills

Workplace Partnerships

Workplace Partnerships work with industry and the learning system to ensure that Canadians have the skills and knowledge required for the workplace. These partnerships enable the private sector to invest in skills development issues as well as to strengthen apprenticeships systems in Canada, including the mobility of skilled trades' workers.

Sector Councils

Sector Councils are formal, national partnerships of businesses and workers that address human resources and workplace skills development on a sectoral basis. Contribution payments under the Sector Council Program support research and project based activities proposed by Sector Councils and other national organizations (sector-like) working on skills and learning issues.

Trades and Apprenticeship

This program implements the Trades and Apprenticeship Strategy. Trades and Apprenticeship works with provinces and territories through the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship to facilitate and increase the mobility of skilled trades workers, and with public and private partners to strengthen apprenticeship systems in Canada.

Inter-provincial Standards Red Seal Program

This program facilitates the mobility of tradespeople between Canadian provinces and territories, through interprovincial standardization of training, and certification based on national occupational standards for the 49 Red Seal trades. Fully trained apprentices and certified journeypersons are able to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their Certificates of Qualification and Apprenticeship Completion by successfully completing an Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Examination.

Workplace Skills Initiative

This Program stimulates and supports partnership-based projects that test and evaluate promising, outcomes-focused approaches to skills development for employers and employed Canadians. Implicit in these projects is the development of human capital in and for the workplace. This support will be available to the spectrum of workplace partners and will cover a range of projects-from possible firm-level approaches with a focus on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to a more macro sectoral approach for others. Projects will vary in scope and scale in order to inform the Government of Canada on best possible policy interventions. The Workplace Skills Initiative promotes workplace skills development goals by supporting the generation and sharing of models of skills development and continuous learning for the employed, such as skills laddering, up-skilling, and re-skilling. It also promotes the adoption, recognition and rewarding of improved Human Resources practices, systems and sharing of best practices related to attracting, developing and retraining of employees. Funding for Workplace Skills Initiative projects will be cost-shared with partners; it is expected that partners provide cash and/or in-kind contributions at a minimum of 25% of the costs of the project. Financial assistance will be provided to eligible recipients in the form of a contribution from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Apprenticeship Incentive Grant

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant aims to promote access to apprenticeships and improve labour mobility by providing a $1,000 grant to registered apprentices in the Red Seal trades. The grant has been designed to reward advancement in the first two years of an apprenticeship program. Registered apprentices who have completed their first or second year of their apprenticeship program on or after January 1, 2007 will be eligible to apply. The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant will provide an incentive for more Canadians to pursue apprenticeships and meet the future need for skilled trades people that is crucial to the sustained growth of the economy. By focusing on the Red Seal trades, for which there are national occupational and training standards, the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant will also support inter-provincial mobility.

Foreign Workers and Immigrants

This activity helps internationally-trained individuals integrate and participate in the Canadian labour market, as well as enhances interprovincial mobility of internationally and domestically trained workers. This work is done in conjunction with provinces, territories, partners and stakeholders across Canada, including other federal departments, industry, and regulatory bodies.

Immigration Portal

This Program enhances the Going to Canada website by providing prospective immigrants, students, workers and newcomers with information, services and tools to help them make informed decisions about coming to Canada, and integrating into Canada's labour market and society.

Interprovincial Labour Mobility

This Program Co-ordinates federal activity to improve interprovincial labour mobility under the Agreement on Internal Trade, so that workers who qualify in one province/ territory can have their qualifications recognized in another.

Foreign Credential Recognition

This Program supports activities proposed by Sector Councils, industry groups, regulatory bodies, provinces/ territories, and educational bodies that work on foreign credential assessment and recognition issues.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

This Program Assists Canadian employers in meeting their human resource needs by facilitating the entry of temporary foreign workers into areas of the labour market with demonstrated occupational shortages, while still considering the employers' efforts to hire and recruit Canadians.

Skills and Labour Market Information

This Program is available to help employed and unemployed job seekers, people choosing a career, career practitioners, employment service providers, employers, education/learning institutions, and community development organizations make informed decisions related to skills, human resources, and the labour market.

National Occupational Classification

This Program is an authoritative resource on occupational information in Canada, the National Occupational Classification describes the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. The National Occupational Classification contains the Classification structure and descriptions of 520 occupational areas and includes over 30,000 occupational titles.

Labour Market Information

Through Service Canada, Labour Market Information provides information on national and regional employment trends, local employment prospects, wage rates, skills and education required by occupation, and employment and training opportunities. Service Canada also offers job posting, job search, job alert and job matching services to job seekers and employers.

Literacy and Essential Skills

This Program works through non-statutory grants and contributions to reduce non-financial barriers related to adult learning, literacy and essential skills. This is achieved by supporting the generation, transfer, and application of knowledge; by contributing to the development of innovative approaches; by strengthening capacity of the adult learning, literacy and essential skills sectors, and by promoting and increasing awareness of the importance of adult learning, literacy and essential skills.

Program Activity: Learning

Student Financial Assistance

This program promotes accessibility to post-secondary education for those with a demonstrated financial need by providing loans, Canada Access Grants, and Canada Study Grants to help lower financial barriers. The Program also offers debt management measures to borrowers to help with repayment. These include, Interest Relief, Debt Reduction in Repayment and loan forgiveness in the event of the permanent disability or death of a qualified borrower.


This Program promotes accessibility to post-secondary education for individuals with demonstrated financial need by providing repayable assistance in the form of loans to full-time and part-time students.


This program provides Canada Access Grants and Canada Study Grants to students to increase the participation of under-represented groups in post-secondary education: Canada Access Grants for Students from Low -Income Families and Students with Permanent Disabilities; and Canada Study Grants for the students with Dependants, Accommodation of Students with Permanent Disabilities, for High-Need Part-time Students, and for Females pursuing Doctoral Studies.

Repayment and Debt Management and Assistance

This program offers a number of measures to assist borrowers in managing their Canada Student Loan debt, including an extended repayment period, Interest Relief, extended Interest Relief and Debt Reduction in Repayment. The intent of these measures is to provide short and long-term assistance to borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulty in meeting their repayment obligations, due to periods of unemployment or low income.

Canada Education Savings Program

The Canada Education Savings Program includes the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond which provide grants to encourage Canadians to save for a child's post-secondary education using a Registered Education Savings Plan. The Program also administers the Alberta Centennial Education Savings Grant on behalf of the Province of Alberta and the Education Savings Community Outreach Initiative.

Canada Learning Bond

The Canada Learning Bond is a grant to help low-income families start saving for their child's education after high school. It is directed to children born after 2003 whose family is eligible to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement.

Canada Education Savings Grant

The Canada Education Savings Grant encourages Canadians to save for the post-secondary education of children by providing a matching grant on savings made for children aged 0-17. The Canada Education Savings Program pays grants on all RESP savings and provides higher grants to low- and middle-income families.

International Academic Mobility

The International Academic Mobility initiative aims to increase international academic co-operation and sustainable institutional linkages among universities, colleges, technical institutes and private businesses that result in, for example, the development of joint curricula, the recognition and portability of academic credits and the use of distance education. Through the lnternational Academic Mobility international student exchange experiences, Canadian students gain invaluable skills that contribute to competitive edge in an increasingly global marketplace, including language abilities and inter-cultural communication skills.

C.   Safe, Healthy, Fair, Stable, Cooperative, Productive Workplaces and Effective International Labour Standards

Program Activity: Labour

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

This program is responsible for providing dispute resolution and dispute prevention assistance to trade unions and employers under the jurisdiction of Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labour Code. It fosters constructive labour management relationships economy-wide. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service provides expert mediation and conciliation assistance in approximately 300 collective bargaining disputes per year. It is also responsible for the administration of Ministerial appointments to resolve rights disputes under Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code. It also carries out in-depth research on current and emerging industrial relations issues.

Mediation and Conciliation

Dispute resolution and dispute prevention assistance to employers and unions pursuant to Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labour Code and Part I of the Status of the Artist Act.

Unjust Dismissal Adjudicators

Appointment by the Minister of Labour, on the recommendation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, of quasi-judicial decision-makers to hear and decide complaints of unjust dismissal pursuant to Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code.

Wage Recovery Referees

Appointment by the Minister of Labour, on the recommendation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, of quasi-judicial decision-makers to hear and decide appeals from wage payment orders and notices of unfounded complaint pursuant to Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code.

Labour-Management Partnerships Program

This is a contribution program that encourages joint labour management initiatives in the workplace or at the sectoral level, which are designed to foster and improve labour management relationships.

National Labour Operations

This operational area is responsible for the promotion, application and enforcement of workplace conditions that are safe, healthy, fair and equitable. In order to accomplish this, there are a number of Acts and programs that support these objectives. The Compliance and Regional Operations Directorate and the Program Development and Guidance Directorate administer Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) and Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code, the Non-smokers' Health Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Federal Contractors Program for Employment Equity, the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, the Government Employees' Compensation Act, and the Merchant Seamen Compensation Act, as well as acting as the authority having jurisdiction on matters relating to the fire protection of federal real property. The Directorates work with primary stakeholders, employers and employees in the federal jurisdiction and coordinates the regulatory and enforcement activities across the country to ensure consistent application of the various statutes. From the perspective of employers, they rely on the Labour Program to administer their workplace-related laws and regulations in a fair and consistent manner in order to ensure a level playing field for their operations.

Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety is authorized and informed by Part II of the Canada Labour Code, the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and the Non-smokers' Health Act. Workplace health and safety is ensured through promotion, proactive intervention and enforcement of Part II of the Canada Labour Code and its Regulations and through work with primary stakeholders, employees and employers to create and maintain an effective health and safety culture and to ensure compliance with the Code.

Fire Protection

Fire Protection Services (FPS) operates under the authority of the Treasury Board Policy on Fire Protection, Investigation and Reporting issued pursuant to the Financial Administration Act. FPS has, as its mandate, ensuring the protection, conservation and minimization of risks to life, property, and the Government's financial position. FPS is responsible for administering and enforcing the TB policy and standards, as well as the fire protection requirements of the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada and related fire protection codes and standards. In addition, FPS delivers fire protection engineering and inspection services to First Nation reserves in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding with Northern and Indian Affairs Canada and the Treasury Board, and fire protection engineering to certain Crown corporations on a cost recovery basis.

Labour Standards

Part III of the Canada Labour Code establishes employment standards for employees and employers under federal jurisdiction, such as working hours, minimum wages, holidays, unjust dismissal and various types of leave. Part III is an important social and economic piece of legislation, which provides the legal basis for ensuring protection of basic worker rights, while creating a fair and competitive labour market for employers.

Workplace Equity

The Employment Equity Program aids four designated groups (women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples), all of whom have below average outcomes in the labour market. Under the terms of the Employment Equity Act, the Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP) requires the federal jurisdiction's employers of 100 or more workers to report annually on their performance in employing the four designated groups. This data is compared to Census data (availability) to determine if the designated groups are adequately represented among the LEEP employers. Employers with significant under representation are required to analyse their workplace practices and to propose plans to address the shortfall. They also may be subject to audit by the Canadian Human Right Commission. Employers in provincial jurisdiction, who have 100 or more employees and who have contracts to perform work for the federal government, are covered under the Federal Contractors Program for Employment Equity. These employers are obliged to certify their commitment to employment equity before they are eligible to bid on a contract with the federal government. The Racism-free Workplace Strategy, which is a component of the government-wide Action Plan Against Racism, is a specific initiative to complement and increase the effectiveness of the Employment Equity Act. It aims to remove discriminatory barriers and to advance the upward mobility of visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples in the workplace. Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code provides the mandate to the Labour Program inspectorate to ascertain compliance of federal jurisdiction employers with the requirements for pay equity. The goal is to work with employers, employees and employee representatives to eliminate gender-based wage inequities within the federally regulated sector.

Federal Workers' Compensation

The Government Employees' Compensation Act (GECA) provides Benefits to federal employees who sustain a work related injury or occupational disease. The Merchant Seamen Compensation Act provides Benefits to injured merchant seamen and their survivors. Employees under federal jurisdiction who are victims of a workplace injury or illness have a right to compensation under the federal statute. GECA is administered in partnership with provincial workers' compensation boards according to administrative agreements. The Directorates works primarily with federal departments and agencies, employees and provincial workers' compensation boards to ensure compliance with the federal statutes. They provide secretarial services to the Merchant Seamen Compensation Board, adjudicates injury compensation claims for approval by the Board, and award benefits to the workers of employers registered with the Board.

International and Intergovernmental Labour Affairs

This group manages the Labour Program's international, intergovernmental and Aboriginal labour affairs responsibilities. Specifically, International and Intergovernmental Labour Affairs oversees Canada's participation in international labour forums, such as the International Labour Organization, negotiates and implements international labour cooperation agreements and provides technical assistance to developing countries. Further, this area coordinates federal-provincial-territorial relations in the labour field. As well, it analyses and provides information on Canadian labour legislation to policy analysts, researchers and the general public. Further, it facilitates dialogue with Labour Program stakeholders and coordinates Labour Program activities in Aboriginal communities.

Workplace Policy and Information

This Directorate develops integrated long-term departmental, federal and national labour policy frameworks and implements strategic initiatives. It conducts quantitative and qualitative research and analysis on workplace and labour-related issues and their impact on Canadian social and economic development and provides strategic policy advice on such issues. It collects, analyses and disseminates information on key workplace practices to advance the strategic priorities and the mandate of the Labour Program. It represents the Program in inter-departmental and other fora to ensure linkages to the broader government agenda and policy-making environment.

Workplace Information

Collective bargaining data across Canada is tracked for groups of 100 or more employees in the federal jurisdiction and 500 or more employees in the provincial jurisdiction. Information is collected at settlement stage and wage adjustments are calculated and disseminated. The Directorate collects and codes collective agreements, which are housed in Negotech, the largest searchable electronic database of settlement reports and full text collective agreements in Canada. Historical and current statistics on work stoppages (strikes and lockouts) are collected and analyzed. An annual survey of labour organizations provides information on Canada's labour movement, union membership and labour affiliations. The Directorate publishes the electronic Workplace Bulletin highlighting wage adjustments in major collective agreements in Canada. Information is reported on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis for Canada as a whole, by public and private sectors and by jurisdiction. Non-wage provisions of collective agreements are coded and analyzed to prepare detailed reports.

Workplace Policy

The Directorate provides policy advice to senior management and to the Minister of Labour through the Identification and analyses of emerging labour and workplace issues, including workplace productivity, workplace health, workforce aging, and new employment relationships. The Directorate also develops non-legislative initiatives designed to encourage employers to adopt workplace practices that support workers and improve labour productivity. It also works with employers, unions, other workplace partners and with different levels of government when developing labour policy.

Wage Earner Protection Program

The Wage Earner Protection Program Act provides the legislative basis for the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) - a Program designed to restore wages and vacation pay owing to workers whose employers are declared bankrupt or are subject to receivership under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, up to an amount equalling four weeks' maximum insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act (currently $3,076). The legislation which establishes the Wage Earner Protection Program Act was passed and received Royal Assent on November 25, 2005. However, it requires a number of technical amendments before it can come into force in order to ensure that the Program operates efficiently. Consequently, on June 13, 2007, the Minister of Labour introduced an amending bill (Bill C-62). The amending bill passed quickly through the House and was read for the first time in the Senate on June 14th. At this time, it is not possible to indicate when the Program will begin operation, particularly because it is not known how quickly Bill C-62 will proceed through Parliament.

D.   Enhanced Income Security, Access to Opportunities and Well-being for Individuals, Families and Communities

Program Activity: Social Investment

Seniors and Pensions

This program serves as the federal focal point for policies and programs related to seniors and Canada's public pensions (Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security). Specific program activities include seniors and pension research, policy and program development and design, legislation and litigation; stakeholder/client engagement regarding seniors issues; promoting the take-up of Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits; negotiation of international social security agreements; and socio-economic research and analysis including evaluating the impact of administrative and legislative changes, micro-simulation modeling, and the provision of statistical support and trend analysis to the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security policy makers.

Old Age Security

Old Age Security Program Benefits provide basic income to Canadian citizens and residents who meet age, residence and legal status requirements. It is financed from Government of Canada general tax revenues and indexed quarterly to the Consumer Price Index. Old Age Security provides additional income-tested Benefits for low-income individuals, namely the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor.

Canada Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan is a joint federal-provincial plan that operates throughout Canada, except in Quebec which has its own comparable plan. The Canada Pension Plan provides for a variety of Benefits based on life changes. Best known for its retirement pensions, the plan also provides Benefits for surviving partners and children of contributors, people with disabilities and their children (a description of Canada Pension Plan - Disability is below), and a one-time maximum Benefit of $2,500 in the event of death.

Seniors Secretariat

Leads the development and implementation of seniors' policy agenda reflecting the growing seniors population and implications of an aging society across the federal government. Leverages the seniors' policy agenda to influence policy development in other federal departments and agencies and other levels of government. Actively encourages and strengthens partnerships across the department to ensure coherent and consistent approaches to policy development. Leads the provision of logistical support and coordination for the ongoing operations of the National Seniors Council.

Provides the Secretary of State Responsible (Seniors) with strategic policy advice, briefings and coordination in support of her lead federal role for seniors. Leads the coordination of the Forums of F/P/T Ministers and Deputy Ministers Responsible for Seniors to articulate a more integrated approach to the development of seniors' policy and programming in Canada.

International Policy and Agreements

The Old Age Security Act and the Canada Pension Plan authorize the Minister of HRSDC to conclude International Social Security Agreements. These agreements facilitate the payment of Canadian and foreign public pensions inside and outside of Canada and ensure persons who are sent to work abroad can continue their coverage under the Canadian system. They also ensure these persons will not be required to pay into the pension systems of two countries for the same work.

Disability Program

The Office for Disability Issues serves as the focal point on disability issues within the Government of Canada for key national and international partners working to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and community life. Office for Disability Issues ensures that the issues affecting people with disabilities are considered and reflected in federal policy and program development through collaboration with various external stakeholders, including Non-Governmental Organizations, the provinces and territories. It also provides leadership on program policy issues that focus on people with disabilities, such as the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the Enabling Accessibility Fund and administers programs to improve accessibility and opportunities for people with disabilities such as the Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component.

Social Development Partnerships Program Disability Component

The Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP) is a broad-based program that makes investments under several distinct funding components to support Government priorities related to children and families, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. These investments are made through national and community-based organizations.

One element of the SDPP is delivered through the Disability Issues sub-activity: SDPP Disability Component (SDPP/D) - Provides funding to eligible non-profit organizations working to advance the Government of Canada's disability agenda by promoting the full participation of Canadians with disabilities in learning, work, and community life.

The Canada Pension Plan - Disability

Canada Pension Plan Disability Program serves as the focal point for legislation development, policy direction, program design, research and analysis on issues related to Canada Pension Plan Disability and its clients. Provides national direction to Service Canada to ensure policies are applied consistently in accordance with the legislation and jurisprudence. Manages relationships with arms-length appeal bodies and provides medical expertise to support cases at the Pensions Appeals Board and the Federal Court. Provides policy and program direction on return to work and vocational rehabilitation supports for Canada Pension Plan Disability beneficiaries.


This activity includes: providing policy direction related to Review Tribunal appeals; liaison with the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals (OCRT) and Pension Appeals Board (PAB); reviewing OCRT decisions following CPPD client appeals; secretariat to the CPP/OAS Litigation Committee; providing medical expertise to support the Minister's position at hearings before the Pension Appeals Board (PAB) and the Federal Court.

Canada Pension Plan - Disability Benefits

Benefits are payable to contributors who meet the minimum contributory requirements and whose disability is "severe and prolonged," as defined in the legislation; that is, a mental or physical disability that prevents them from regularly working at any job at a substantially gainful level.

Community Development and Partnerships

This program provides a focal point for research, knowledge sharing, policy analysis and development, program delivery and special initiatives in support of the enhanced well-being of communities, children and families, seniors, and vulnerable populations across Canada. The Program also supports the efforts of the community sector to innovate, strengthen networks of collaboration, promote self-sufficiency and share best practices to contribute to community well-being, working in partnership with other Federal/Provincial/Territorial/Municipal levels of government and other stakeholders.

Social Development Partnerships Program (Communities Component)

The Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP) is a broad-based program that makes investments under several distinct funding components to support Government priorities related to children and families, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. These investments are made through national and community-based organizations.

Four elements of the SDPP are delivered through Community Development and Partnerships sub-activity:

  • Children and Families component - Works in partnership with national and community non-profit organizations by supporting their ability to innovate through the creation of more responsive programs, services or tools to better serve the diverse needs of children and their families, particularly those living in disadvantaged circumstances
  • Understanding the Early Years - Provides funding to help communities across Canada to better understand the needs and improve the wellbeing of their young children and families, by providing them with information about the development of their children, community and family factors influencing child development, local resources available to support young children and their families, and helping community organizations to work together to improve conditions for healthy child development.
  • Official Language Minority Communities - Makes investments in national francophone non-governmental organizations to create products that will promote linguistically and culturally relevant early childhood development programs and services in Official Language minority communities.
  • Voluntary Sector Strategy - Makes investments to foster social innovation, the sharing of best practices and entrepreneurship by community non-profit organizations.

New Horizons for Seniors

The New Horizons for Seniors Program supports local projects across Canada that encourage seniors to contribute their skills, experience and wisdom in support of social well-being in their communities, and promote the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities to reduce their risk of social isolation. Funding of this program also strengthens networks and associations among community members, community organizations, and governments; and enhances opportunities for building community capacity and partnerships to respond to existing or emerging social challenges.

Intercountry Adoption

The Inter-country Adoptions Services works with other federal departments, foreign governments and the provinces and territories as the lead federal department in matters related to inter-country adoptions.

Program Activity: Children and Families

Child Care

This program provides families with resources to help balance work and family responsibilities. The Plan has two parts: direct support to families through the Universal Child Care Benefit; and transfers to provinces and territories and a new investment tax credit for businesses for the creation of child care spaces.

Universal Child Care Benefit

In July 2006 families began to receive up to $1,200 per year for each child under six, taxable in the hands of the lower-income spouse. Payments are made directly to families to help support them in the choice of child care that best meets the needs of their family. The Universal Child Care Benefit is provided in addition to existing federal programs such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement and does not affect the benefits families receive under these programs or the Child Care Expense Deduction.

Child Care Spaces Initiative

Recognizing the availability of child care spaces is a challenge faced by many families, beginning in 2008-09, Budget 2007 proposes to transfer $250M per year to provinces and territories via the Canada Social Transfer, to support them in the creation of child care spaces that are responsive to the needs of parents and administered in an efficient and accountable manner. In addition, effective March 19, 2007, a 25% non-refundable investment tax credit, to a maximum of $10,000 per space created, is available to support businesses in the creation of licensed child care spaces in the workplace for the children of their employees and potentially, for children in the surrounding community.

Multilateral Framework for Early Learning and Childcare

Building on the September 2000 Early Childhood Development Agreement, federal/provincial/territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services26 reached agreement in March 2003, on a framework for improving access to regulated early learning and child care programs and services. The specific objectives are to further promote early childhood development and support the participation of parents in employment or training by improving access to affordable, quality early learning and child care programs and services.

Early Childhood Development Agreements

In September 2000, federal, provincial and territorial governments reached an agreement, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Early Childhood Development Agreement, to improve and expand the services and programs they provide for children under 6 years of age and their families. The overall goal of the initiative is to improve and expand early childhood development supports for young children (prenatal to age 6) and their parents. The specific objectives are: to promote early childhood development so that, to their fullest potential, children will be physically and emotionally healthy, safe and secure, ready to learn, responsible and socially engaged; and to help children reach their potential and to help families support their children within strong communities.

National Child Benefit

Introduced in 1998 as a supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit initiative is a key commitment in helping to ensure that children in low-income families get the best possible start in life. The National Child Benefit is a partnership among federal, provincial, and territorial governments, including a First Nations component, which provides income support, as well as Benefits and services, to low-income families with children. The National Child Benefit aims to: help prevent and reduce the depth of child poverty; promote attachment to the labour market by ensuring families are always better off as a result of working; and reduce overlap and duplication by harmonizing program objectives and Benefits and simplifying administration. Under this initiative, the Government of Canada provides income support to low-income families with children through the National Child Benefit Supplement. Human Resources and Social Development Canada is responsible for policy development and the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development represents the Government of Canada in this initiative.

Program Activity: Housing and Homelessness

Homelessness Partnering Strategy

This program was launched to find more effective and sustainable solutions to homelessness. The Strategy fosters partnerships and structures, including longer-term housing solutions, to help homeless individuals achieve greater autonomy and self-sufficiency. The federal government recognizes that housing stability is a precondition to positive socio-economic outcomes and full participation in Canadian society. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy is therefore focusing on transitional and supportive housing as important measures to move people out of homelessness. Under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, the Federal Government provides funding to other levels of government, communities, and works with other government departments to provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for some of Canada's most vulnerable citizens, including Aboriginal people, and individuals in major urban centres, rural communities, and the North.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy comprises three initiatives:

Homelessness Partnership Initiative

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative is the cornerstone program that supports community-level facilities and services that help homeless people attain housing and shelter stability appropriate to their needs - whether they are the chronic multi-barriered homeless or the shorter-term situational homeless. The Homelessness Partnership Initiative builds on the foundation of an existing community-based model and is bolstered by inviting provinces and territories, and municipalities where provinces and territories concur, to enter into partnering agreements, with a view to aligning support services with housing facilities and maximizing public investments.

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative has four target area components for funding:

  • Homelessness Partnership Initiative Designated Communities;
  • Homelessness Partnership Initiative Outreach Communities;
  • Homelessness Partnership Initiative Aboriginal Communities;
  • Homelessness Partnership Initiative Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

Homelessness Accountability Network

This Program streamlines results-reporting, strengthens program accountability, promotes national and regional partnership networks, and develops and shares knowledge and best practices. This Network builds upon two components - the Homelessness Individuals and Families Information System and National Research Program (now the Homelessness Knowledge Development Program) of the former National Homelessness Initiative by facilitating access to, and dissemination of, housing support information and tools.

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative

This Program provides surplus federal properties to communities across Canada to address their local homelessness-related needs. Government departments and agencies, which are encouraged to identify such properties, receive compensation at market value and transfer them to community organizations and other bodies for a nominal cost to help alleviate and prevent homelessness. Three federal bodies - Public Works and Government Services Canada, HRSDC and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - act as partners at the national and regional levels in implementing and managing this initiative. Additional funding for construction and renovation costs may also be available through related federal programs such as those under the Homelessness Partnership Initiative and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation programs. Under the new Homelessness Partnering Strategy, the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative is more flexible to allow land exchanges. Under certain conditions, community groups can exchange a federal property received through the program for another similar, and more suitable, property.

Office of the Auditor General (OAG) Report

Federal Loans and Grants for Post-Secondary Education - May 2007

The Auditor General found that the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) is generally well-managed and the recommendations for improvement, primarily relate to areas of monitoring and reporting. The report states that both the CSLP and Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF) are taking the necessary steps to make prospective post-secondary students and their families aware of the financial assistance available to them. The report indicates that good relationships exist between the two programs, particularly in the area of research but consultations should be further documented and used for future decision making. The Department has committed to improving monitoring and reporting, including developing a Performance Measurement Strategy in 2008 completing a summative evaluation of the CLSP using a five-year phased in approach and tabling the CSLP Annual Report in a more timely manner.

Website References

HRSDC Website

The Honourable Monte Solberg P.C., M.P.
Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
 Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Acts and Regulations Governing HRSDC and SC

HRSDC Internal Audit

HRSDC Evaluation

HRSDC Overview
List of HRSDC Programs and Services top_nav/ps.shtml

Enhanced Canadian productivity and participation through efficient and inclusive labour markets, competitive workplaces and access to learning

Labour Market

Employment Insurance Benefits

Employment Benefits and Support Measures

Labour Market Development Agreements

Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnerships

Youth Employment Strategy

Enabling fund for Official Language Minority Communities

Work Sharing

Workplace Skills

Literacy and Essential Skills

Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program

National Occupational Classification

Trades and Apprenticeship

Inter-provincial Labour Mobility

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Inter-provincial Standards Red Seal Program

Workplace Skills Strategy

Workplace Skills Initiative

Foreign Credential Recognition

Sector Council Program

Labour Market Information


Student Financial Assistance(Canada Student Loans Program)

Canada Education Savings Program (CSEP)

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

International Academic Mobility

Safe, healthy, fair, stable, cooperative and productive workplaces and effective international labour standards


Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

Labour Program

International Labour Affairs

Work-life Balance and Ageing Workforce

Collective Bargaining

Federal Workers' Compensation Service

Labour Standards lp/lo/lswe/ls/about.shtml&hs=lxn

Workplace Equity

Occupational Health and Safety

Fire Protection Services

Labour Law Analysis

Enhanced income security, access to opportunities and well-being for individuals, families and communities

Social Investment

Seniors and Pensions

Income Security Programs

Old Age Security Program (OAS)

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP)


Disability Programs
Office for Disability issues

Persons with Disabilities

The Social Development Partnerships Programs (SDPP) - Disability Component

The Canada Pension Plan - Disability
Canada Pension Plan - Disability Benefits

Social Development Partnerships Program - Communities Component

Understanding the Early Years (UEY)

Supporting Voluntary Sector

New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP)

Intercountry Adoption Services

Children and Families

Canada's Universal Child Care Plan

Federal/Provincial/Territorial Early Childhood Development Agreement

Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care

The National Child Benefit

Housing and Homelessness

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Achieve better outcomes for Canadians through service excellence

Service Canada

Questions and Public Enquiries
If you have questions about departmental programs and services, you may contact your nearest Service Canada office listed in the Government of Canada pages of the telephone book or through the HRSDC website at
To obtain HRSDC publications, please contact the Public Enquiries Centre at

  • 12001 Census: analysis series Aboriginal peoples of Canada: A demographic profile, Statistics Canada
  • 22001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey, Statistics Canada
  • 3Lynch, Kevin. 2006. "Canada's Success is no Accident, and it isn't a Given" Policy Options Vol. 27, No.4 (April-May).
  • 4The Price of Knowledge 2004: Access and Student Finance in Canada Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, 2004, page 14.
  • 5The Price of Knowledge: Access and Student Finance in Canada – 3 rd Edition. Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, 2007, page 15.
  • 6
  • 7Within the portfolio, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) focuses on homelessness and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) focuses on housing. The Program Activity Architecture will be updated at the earliest opportunity to reflect this.
  • 8Within the portfolio, HRSDC focuses on homelessness and CMHC focuses on housing. The Program Activity Architecture will be updated at the earliest opportunity to reflect this.
  • 9Total Employment Insurance Benefits equal to $14,963 million, the sum of $12,827 million in Income Benefits and $2,136 million in EBSM.
  • 10For more details refer to the Employment Insurance website at
  • 11Office of the Chief Actuary. Actuarial Report (23rd) on the Canada Pension Plan as at 31 December 2006. Ottawa: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada. 2007. p. 11
  • 12The reserve is made up of an amount equivalent to 3 months worth of Canada Pension Plan benefits and expenses.
  • 13Information about the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board can be found at
  • 14For further information on the Canada Student Loans Program, see http://
  • 15The new Canada Access Grant for Student with Permanent disabilities has replaced the Canada Study Grant for High-need Students with Permanent Disabilities.
  • 16An announcement was made on August 1, 2005 which transfers collections activities previously carried out by Social Development Canada (SDC) to Canada Revenue Agency.