Human Resources, Labour and Employment
December 28, 2006

Government Advances Social Policy Agenda in 2006

The Williams government made significant progress this year in advancing its social policy and program commitments to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Within its mandate, the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (HRLE) has taken the lead on a series of measures to help its clients achieve greater self-reliance and play an active role in their communities, while fostering measures to promote a healthy labour market in the province and contribute to its economic development.

�Government is aggressively moving forward to implement it strategic goals, including decreasing the number of youth on income support, increasing access to labour market information and supports and fully implementing a new service delivery model to more effectively deliver programs and services to our clients,� said the Honourable Paul Shelley, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. �Included in this is a commitment to, over the next ten years, implement a series of measures outlined in the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and to alleviate, reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty in our province.�

The Poverty Reduction Strategy, only the second of its kind in the country, demonstrates that partnership and consensus between government and the community is critical in providing a range of supports to help people overcome barriers and improve their quality of life. The initiative is a long-term effort to move Newfoundland and Labrador forward from the province with the most poverty to one with the least in the country. In meeting the commitment, $64 million annually is earmarked to realize and support a shared vision for the province in which poverty is eliminated. In addition to new investments, significant progress is being made to reorganize the way in which the department provides services to the public.

In 2006, the department successfully implemented a new service delivery model for income support in the Avalon, Central and Western regions of the province. In 2007, with the Labrador region coming on stream, the department will achieve province-wide implementation of the model. The new delivery structure offers greater privacy and ease of access to people who need assistance. The new approach places a greater emphasis on helping clients make a successful transition from income support to work. It supports the department�s mission to provide enhanced supports and services to better assist people, particularly youth, gain entry and maintain attachment to the labour market and reduce their dependency on income support.

2006 also saw the successful launch of the new Labour Market Development and Client Services division within the department. The division provides timely and accurate labour market information and services to assist employers, workers, new and returning job seekers and students make informed labour market choices. The division co-manages the federal-provincial Labour Market Development Agreement, coordinates partnerships between government and stakeholder groups to better identify and respond to labour market issues and develops and distributes labour market information.

The Labour Market Symposium held in October is an example of how the department meets its labour market development mandate. The symposium brought together the business community, labour, community-based organizations, economic development agencies, municipalities and other interested stakeholders with an interest in labour market development to discuss the latest trends and research, foster new partnerships and increase collaboration. Similar progress is being made in the area of new immigration.

Over the last year, major strides were made in moving forward on an immigration strategy for the province. Following a series of province-wide consultations, the department released �What We Heard: Report of Consultations on a Provincial Immigration Strategy.� In September, the department hosted a successful immigration symposium. The symposium brought together stakeholders from throughout the province and helped raise the profile of immigration as an important element in overall economic development of the province. Government is working towards finalizing the development of the strategy.

�This is a province on the move, a province with tremendous potential and, with emerging opportunities for economic growth, it requires an active and engaged human resource development agenda,� said Minister Shelley. �The Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment has made significant progress in 2006 across a number of key policy areas, including poverty reduction, client service delivery, labour market development and immigration.�

On December 12, 2006 the HRLE Strategic Plan for the upcoming two years was tabled in the House of Assembly. It builds on the success and progress made in 2006. It reflects a vision, mission and set of goals to guide the actions of the department in meeting its mandate to support a progressive and focused human resource development agenda for the province. A copy of the HRLE Strategic Plan can be found at: //

�I am firmly committed to helping our people maximize their skills and abilities and enable them to contribute to our collective goal of a prosperous and bright future for ourselves and our children,� said Minister Shelley.


Media contact:
Ed Moriarity
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-4062, 728-9623

2006 12 28                                     1:00 p.m.

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