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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
December 7, 2009

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment:

Ministerial Statement - Labour Market Development Agreement Will Strengthen Provincial Workforce

I rise today in this Honourable House to provide an update on the transfer of responsibility of the Labour Market Development Agreement programs and services from the Federal Government to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, on November 2, 2009, the province officially assumed control for the design and delivery of EI-funded Employment Benefits and Support Measures that were formerly delivered by Service Canada. This was done as per the Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement, or LMDA, which was signed by the Williams Government in 2008.

This transfer has been a significant milestone in our continued efforts to develop high quality, responsive programs to better meet the employment needs of individuals throughout the province and to support local labour market and economic development priorities. At $2 billion, the LMDA represents the single largest investment in labour market programs throughout the country. Newfoundland and Labrador�s portion of this funding is $133 million per year.

Mr. Speaker, assuming responsibility for these programs was indeed a major undertaking from an administrative perspective. For example, as of November 2, over 75 former federal employees not only transferred to the provincial Public Service, they also physically relocated to our offices throughout the province on day one - a first in the implementation of devolved agreements across the country. Despite the magnitude of this undertaking, I am very pleased to report that we have achieved our goal of a seamless transfer of services.

Now that this milestone is behind us, we have already started looking ahead to the opportunities we have before us to shape a more responsive and integrated labour market service delivery system. In the short-term, we will not be making significant changes to the current suite of programs and services. However, we will be working to streamline processes where we can. Our eye now has turned to the longer-term. Together with business, labour, education and non-profit organizations, we are working to ensure we have the programs and services we need to build a strong provincial workforce, meet upcoming demands of our major projects and to help us capitalize on emerging opportunities.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the seamless transition of these important employment programs and services. I look forward to what our government will achieve through the addition of new resources and staff to our current complement of HRLE programs and employees.

2009 12 07                                                       1:50 p.m.

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