Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Province of British Columbia on a Strong Resource Economy

Context

The Government of Canada and the Government of the Province of British Columbia are committed to work together in the spirit of partnership on labour market matters of national significance.

The resources industry is a significant economic catalyst in rural and remote regions that is becoming increasingly important to British Columbia’s economy and strategically important to Canada’s economic future. Moreover, responsible resource development plays an important role in the economic and social well-being of hundreds of Aboriginal communities across Canada, including British Columbia.

Many potential resource projects are located in, near or pass directly through Aboriginal communities and First Nations territories. Ensuring that Aboriginal people can participate in and benefit from emerging opportunities in the natural resources sector is critical to the success of many of the natural resource projects.

Both orders of government are committed to working collaboratively with the resources industry employers and unions, communities — including First Nations communities, the education and training sector and other domestic and international partners — to develop the workforce the resources industry will need in the years to and beyond. This includes providing supports to address many of the barriers to labour market participation faced by Aboriginal people, and encouraging greater participation and investments by employers in skills training.

Canada, including British Columbia, has a unique and time-limited opportunity to expand its energy export industry that will generate billions of dollars of investment, create thousands of jobs and strengthen Canada’s global reputation as an energy leader. The increased global demand for new and expanded energy sources, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), has created a highly competitive global environment, requiring Canada and British Columbia to move quickly and responsibly to ensure Canada’s energy industry is export-ready. Canada’s other resource industries such as mining and forestry continue to expand and provide strong economic opportunities as well.

This strategic partnership will help give communities and investors confidence to proceed with energy development projects, including those related to LNG. The new Canada-British Columbia Jobs Fund is among several innovative measures at the heart of the Canada-British Columbia resources industry workforce strategy as we agree to work cooperatively to build a strong and adaptable workforce to meet the needs of the resources industry in British Columbia.

Overarching Objectives

Through this new strategic partnership, Canada and British Columbia will build on a successful foundation of cooperation on labour market development to ensure that British Columbians and other Canadians are first in line for jobs in British Columbia’s fast growing resources industry. This includes Aboriginal people.

This new partnership approach to workforce development will require a coordinated effort, and the creative use of tools within each government’s respective areas of responsibility, with a view to:

  1. gathering the best possible workforce information to better track and project job needs;
  2. harnessing the existing capacity of the education and training sector and the employer community to increase the number of skilled trade workers and professionals for the resources industry;
  3. increasing training and job opportunities for Aboriginal people and groups under-represented in the labour market;
  4. ensuring training investments are more responsive to employers’ needs; and,
  5. reducing barriers to labour mobility and foreign credential recognition for workers who choose to move for jobs in the resources industry.

Areas of collaboration

  1. Gather the Best Possible Workforce Information to Better Track and Project Job Needs

    Collect, analyze and share the best possible community, regional, provincial and national workforce data, including administrative data from each jurisdiction, to improve the tracking of current job needs and enhance job projections.

    This will include working with industry to build on work already underway and, as needed, initiating new work to understand industry’s current and future workforce needs and the extent to which skills training initiatives are meeting industry’s needs for skilled workers.

    Information will also be used to inform student career decisions and support job matching between employers and job seekers in the industry.

  2. Harness Existing Capacity of the Education and Training Sector and the Employer Community to Increase the Number of Skilled Trade Workers and Professionals for the Resources Industry

    This will include activities that focus on significantly increasing students’ awareness of and enrolment in studies for careers in the resources industry; working multi-laterally with other provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training; leveraging skills training investments under the new Canada-British Columbia Job Fund; and reorientation of the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement towards labour market demand.

    This will also include working with employers, regulators and other stakeholders to enhance qualification pathways in the skilled trades, as well as facilitating employer-education partnerships for better employment pathways for students and encouraging greater employer investment and participation in skills training.

  3. Increase Training and Job Opportunities for Aboriginal People and Groups Under-represented in the Labour Market

    Work in partnership with employers, employment service providers and Aboriginal communities to increase the participation of under-represented groups, notably Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and also women in resource sector opportunities.

    This will include targeted training-to-employment initiatives for opportunities in the resources industry with significant involvement of employers, employment services providers and other key stakeholders. This could also include a re-oriented Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities to increase job opportunities by better addressing employers' needs.

    This will also include bridging programs and supports, linked directly to jobs in and around Aboriginal communities; culturally relevant programs to address life skills and employment readiness; and, working with employers to ensure culturally relevant supports are available for Aboriginal employees in the workplace. Existing best practices will be modelled and scaled, where possible.

  4. Ensure Training Investments Are More Responsive to Employers’ Needs

    Forge stronger ties between the resources industry employers and British Columbia’s education and training sector, and increase the role of employers in workforce development.

    This will include working directly with employers to increase sponsorship of apprentices in the skilled trades, with a particular focus on up-skilling existing workers to ensure the current workforce acquires skills for emerging jobs in the resource sector.

  5. Reduce Barriers to Labour Mobility and Foreign Credential Recognition for Workers Who Choose to Move for Jobs in the Resources Industry

    Work in collaboration with other provinces and territories, through the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, to reduce barriers to mobility of skilled workers, particularly those in the resource industry.

    This will include continued efforts to harmonize apprenticeship training and trades qualification requirements across jurisdictions and accelerated efforts to improve credential recognition for foreign-trained workers in the resources industry.

    Canadians and permanent residents should always have the first chance at available jobs. However, in cases where employers can clearly demonstrate that domestic workers are unavailable, employers may seek to hire temporary foreign workers but will need to have a plan in place to transition to a domestic workforce.

Implementation

This MOU is not a contract and does not create legal or financial obligations binding on Canada and British Columbia.

Governments will resolve differences in relation to this MOU, including any question regarding its interpretation or application, through consultation and consensus.