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Chapter 4:
Creating Good Middle Class Jobs

In the face of a pandemic that has changed all of our lives, workers in Canada have shown remarkable resilience. Whether adapting to work from home, restructuring entire businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment, or heading to their frontline job in the middle of a lockdown, the determination and ingenuity of Canada’s workforce has kept our economy moving during an unprecedented and challenging two years.

At the start of the pandemic, the federal government introduced significant economic support to allow our workers and businesses to make ends meet.

Those investments worked. Canada’s economy has recovered 112 per cent of the jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic. Our unemployment rate in February 2022 was at 5.5 per cent, which is lower than prior to the pandemic. Job creation is remarkably strong, and even our hardest-hit sectors are starting to get back up and running.

But with our unemployment rate hitting near-record lows, some businesses are still struggling to find workers. This is a problem in Canada and around the world. A strong and prosperous economy requires a diverse, talented, and constantly growing workforce. And yet too many Canadians—women with young children, new graduates, newcomers, Black and racialized Canadians, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities among them—are facing barriers to finding meaningful and well-paid work.

In Budget 2022, the government is putting in place important measures that will help address those issues and meet the needs of our workers, our businesses, and the Canadian economy so that it can keep growing stronger for years to come.

Key Ongoing Actions

The federal government has made historic investments to help workers succeed and ensure that Canadian businesses have access to a diverse, skilled workforce. These include:

4.1 Delivering on Child Care

Supporting Early Learning and Child Care View the impact assessment

In Budget 2021, the federal government made an historic and transformative investment of $30 billion over five years. Combined with previous investments announced since 2015, $9.2 billion ongoing will be invested in child care, including Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, starting in 2025-26.

Child care is not just a social policy—it is an economic policy, too. Affordable, high-quality child care will grow our economy, allow more women to enter the workforce, and help give every Canadian child the best start in life.

In less than a year, the federal government reached agreements with all 13 provinces and territories. This means, by the end of 2022, that Canadian families will have seen their child care fees reduced by an average of 50 per cent. By 2025-26, it will mean an average child care fee of $10-a-day for all regulated child care spaces across Canada. Most provinces and territories are also moving ahead with faster than anticipated initiatives to support access to affordable high-quality child care spaces (Figure 4.1).

Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories have already cut child care fees in half. In Ontario, fees will be reduced by an initial 25 per cent retroactive to April 1, 2022. Yukon has already put in place a $10-a-day target for child care spaces as of April 1, 2021, five years ahead of schedule. Prince Edward Island is targeting $10-a-day spaces by the end of 2024.

Figure 4.1
Fee Reductions for Child Care Spaces Across Canada
Figure 4.1: Fee Reductions for Child Care Spaces Across Canada

Note:Employment and Social Development Canada estimates. Savings estimates are relative to 2019 levels, are based on out-of-pocket parent fees, and do not include amounts that would be recovered through provincial/territorial tax credits or the federal child care expense deduction at tax time, or changes to provincial/territorial or federal benefits as a result of lower child care expenses. Actual savings for families will vary based on factors such as actual fees paid prior to reductions. The estimate for Ontario is based on the Province of Ontario’s current modelling for an average $10/day out-of-pocket parent fee.

Text version

already acheived $10/day on average
reductions earlier than December 2022
on track for reductions by December 2022
$ Estimated average gross annual savings per child with $10-a-day child care compared to 2019 child care fees
YT $7,300
NT $7,300
NU $7,300
BC $9,390
AB $8,610
SK $5,220
MB $2,610
ON Over $9,000
NL $7,560 /
PE $4,170
NS $6,780
NB $5,220

As the federal government worked with provinces and territories on the completion and implementation of agreements, many raised that infrastructure funding was a challenge for non-profit and public providers where real estate costs were too high or building materials too expensive.

This funding will enable provinces and territories to make additional child care investments, including the building of new facilities.

As noted in Budget 2021, Quebec has been a pioneer in early learning and child care in Canada, and this new funding will be part of an asymmetrical agreement with the province of Quebec that will allow for Quebec to further enhance its child care system.
Early Learning and Child Care Investments to Make Life More Affordable
Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements

Province/Territory and Date Agreement Announced
Amount of Federal Investment
(5 Year Allocation, $ millions)1
Estimated Average Savings per Child
with 50% Average
Fee Reduction
(gross, annual)2
Estimated Average
Savings per
Child at $10/day
(gross, annual)2
Child Care
Spaces to be Created
Estimated Early Childhood Educator Jobs to be Created3
July 8, 2021
$3,212 $6,000
(by end of 2022)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
40,0004 8,000 to 10,000
July 13, 2021
$605 $4,690
(by end of 2022)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
9,500 1,900 to 2,375
July 23, 2021
$42 Yukon committed
to a $10/day average fee prior to Budget 2021
110 22 to 28
July 27, 2021
$118 $3,390
(by end of 2022)
(by end of 2024)
452 90 to 113
July 28, 2021
$306 $5,090
(by end of 2022)
(as early as January 2023)
5,895 1,179 to 1,474
August 5, 2021
$5,964 Not applicable Not applicable 37,000 7,400 to 9,250
August 9, 2021
$1,201 $2,610
(by end of 2022)
(by end of FY 2022-23)
23,000 4,600 to 5,750
August 13, 2021
$1,099 $3,910 (retroactive
to July 2021)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
28,000 5,600 to 7,000
November 15, 2021
$3,797 $5,610
(January 2022)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
42,500 8,500 to 10,625
December 13, 2021
$492 $3,910
(by end of 2022)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
3,400 680 to 850
December 15, 2021
$51 $4,950
(by end of 2022)
(by end of FY 2025-26)
300 60 to 75
January 24, 2022
$66 $4,950
(by end of 2022)
(by end of March 2024)
238 48 to 60
March 28, 2022
$10,235 $6,000
(by end of 2022)
over $9,0006
(by end of FY 2025-26)
86,0007 14,000 to 15,0006

1 National Canada-wide early learning and childhood allocations are calculated based on projected 0-12 child population and include base funding of $2 million per province/territory per year.
2 Employment and Social Development Canada estimates and are illustrative only. Savings estimates are relative to 2019 levels unless updated data is provided by provinces and territories. Estimates are based on out-of-pocket parent fees and do not include amounts that would be recovered through provincial/territorial tax credits or the federal child care expense deduction at tax time, or changes to provincial/territorial or federal benefits as a result of lower child care expenses. Actual savings for families will vary based on factors such as actual fees paid prior to reductions.
3 Employment and Social Development Canada estimates. Range of estimated early childhood educator jobs created is based on the national average range of early childhood educators expected to be required per new child care space. Provincial and territorial estimates may differ due to regulatory variation.
4 B.C. committed to creating 30,000 new spaces within five years, and 40,000 new spaces within seven years.
5 The Government of Canada has entered into an asymmetrical agreement with the province of Quebec that will allow for further improvements to its early learning and child care system, where parents with a subsidized, reduced contribution space already pay a single fee of less than $10/day.
6 Based on the province of Ontario’s current modelling for an average $10/day out-of-pocket parent fee.
7 The province of Ontario committed to create 86,000 spaces from 2019 levels by end of 2026 which is approximately 71,000 new spaces from current levels.

4.2 Immigration for Our Economy

Immigration is vital to our economy, our communities, and to our national identity as a country that is diverse and welcoming of everyone. Indeed, multiculturalism is one of Canada’s great success stories and an example to the world.

Throughout the pandemic, many newcomers have been on the front lines, working in key sectors like health care, transportation, the service sector, and manufacturing. Without them, Canada’s economy would not have overcome the challenges of the last two years.

In the decades to come, our economy will continue to rely on the talents of people from all over the world, just as we have in decades past. Our future economic growth will be bolstered by immigration. And Canada will remain a leader in welcoming newcomers fleeing violence and persecution.

In Budget 2022, the federal government is proposing investments to enhance our capacity to meet the immigration demands of our growing economy; to create opportunities for all newcomers; and to maintain Canada’s world-class immigration system.

Canada’s Ambitious Immigration Plan

Canada welcomed more than 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021—more than any year in Canadian history.

To meet the demands of our growing economy, the federal government’s 2022-24 Immigration Levels Plan—tabled in February 2022—sets an even higher annual target of 451,000 permanent residents by 2024—the majority of whom will be skilled workers, which will help to address persistent labour shortages.

This higher target—along with the government’s 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update investments to resolve delays and backlogs in processing and new investments proposed in this Budget—will help make our immigration system more responsive to Canada’s economic needs and humanitarian commitments.

The Immigration Levels Plan helps reunite family members with their loved ones, and allows us to continue to be home to the talents of those already in Canada by granting permanent status to temporary residents—including essential workers and international students.

The Immigration Levels Plan also includes firm global humanitarian commitments, including a plan to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees in the coming years. On March 30, 2022, Canada marked an important milestone by welcoming the 10,000th Afghan refugee since August 2021. In addition, the government has introduced new immigration streams for Ukrainians, set out in Chapter 5.

As announced in Budget 2021, the government also intends to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to improve Canada’s ability to select applicants that match its changing and diverse economic and labour force needs. These people will be from among the growing pool of candidates seeking to become permanent residents through the Express Entry System.

Efficiently Welcoming Visitors, Students, and Workers to Canada

Every year, Canada welcomes millions of tourists, international students, and temporary foreign workers. Together, they inject billions of dollars into our economy; bring new ideas and energy to our schools and businesses; create lasting commercial and social ties; and fill openings in our workforce.

As the world recovers from the pandemic and travel restrictions are lifted, Canada can expect to see a growing number of temporary residence applications, visitor visas, and study permits.

Securing the Integrity of Canada’s Asylum System View the impact assessment

Canada is a welcoming destination for those seeking refuge and each year takes in tens of thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution.

Around the world, the number of displaced people and families tragically continues to rise. In the months and years to come, many will seek to come to Canada.

Canada’s asylum system—the border officers, immigration officials, and members of the Immigration and Refugee Board who process, investigate, and adjudicate asylum claims—has recently benefited from enhanced temporary funding. As the COVID-19 situation in Canada continues to improve and border restrictions ease, the federal government is committed to ensuring that Canada’s asylum system has the long-term resources it needs.

Supporting Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers View the impact assessment

Each year, thousands fearing persecution seek refuge in Canada. After their arrival, asylum seekers have the right to a fair hearing to determine their legal status.

For those who cannot afford legal support, immigration and refugee legal aid can provide eligible asylum claimants with legal information, advice, and representation. These services, delivered in partnership with provinces, make the asylum system more efficient and help asylum seekers receive fair outcomes.  

Improving Support Services for Immigrants and Visitors to Canada

As global demand to visit, study, and work in Canada increases—in addition to a growing number of permanent residents moving to Canada—so too must the government’s ability to provide accessible, timely, and responsive services.

Improving the Citizenship Program

Becoming a citizen allows new Canadians to fully participate in Canadian society, including through the ability to vote, to run for public office, and to travel under a Canadian passport.

To modernize the process of obtaining Canadian citizenship, the federal government recently launched new online services, which include the ability to submit applications electronically. However, current legislation limits the government’s ability to modernize the citizenship application process through digitization, meaning processing takes longer and online tools are limited.

The 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update also provided funding in 2022-23 for citizenship processing, as part of an $85 million investment to reduce processing times and pandemic-related application backlogs.

4.3 A Workforce for the 21st Century Economy

Structural shifts in the global economy—including an increase in automation and a global transition to lower-emission industries and technologies—will require some workers in sectors across Canada to develop new skills and adjust the way they work.

“3.1 million Canadian jobs will change in some way over the next decade due to the climate transition”

RBC Economics (2022)

The transition to a new career can be a difficult and stressful time—workers have bills to pay, families to take care of, and established roots in their communities. As our economy changes, Canada’s jobs and skills plan must be tailored to the needs of those workers and help them to meet the needs of growing businesses and sectors.

In recent years, the federal government has made significant investments to connect workers to jobs—including mid-career workers, young people, and underrepresented workers—with nearly 500,000 opportunities for skills development and in-demand jobs in Budget 2021.

Budget 2022 proposes to build on past investments, to work with provincial and territorial partners on improving how skills training is provided, to launch intensive engagement with labour groups on how Canada can better support skilled workers as they navigate a changing economy, and support union-led apprenticeship training for those who are underrepresented in the trades. 

Modernizing Labour Market Transfer Agreements

Every year, the federal government provides more than $3 billion in funding to provinces and territories to provide training and employment support through the Labour Market Transfer Agreements. These investments help more than one million Canadians every year prepare for their next job through programs ranging from skills training and wage subsidies, to career counselling and job search assistance.

The federal government is taking steps to renew this partnership with provinces and territories in order to be more responsive to the needs of workers, businesses, and the economy.

Over the coming year, the government also intends to intensify work with provinces and territories to modernize these agreements, reflecting the changing needs and challenges of both the current and future Canadian labour market. This will include working together to support mid-career workers in transitioning to new sectors and help local economies adapt and prosper.

Bringing Workers to the Decision-Making Table

Canada’s long-term economic success depends on matching workers with the right skills to employers in growing sectors. For some workers, having the right skills could mean a small change, like learning a new method. For others, it might mean deeper training towards a career in a new field, such as the skilled trades or clean technologies.

The future of work should be led by workers—and unions need to be at the forefront of our planning for the jobs of tomorrow.

The results will be used to inform future actions and investments to help workers make the transition to the jobs and sectors that need them.

Doubling the Union Training and Innovation Program View the impact assessment

The skilled trades are vital to the future of the Canadian economy and offer workers rewarding careers in fields ranging from carpentry to electricians and boilermakers. The federal government wants to provide more women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and racialized Canadians with the chance to have good-quality jobs in high-paying skilled trades, and unions play a critical role in training skilled trades workers.

Since 2017, the Union Training and Innovation Program has supported union-based apprenticeship training in the Red Seal trades, including through investments in training, equipment, and materials, as well as in support for innovative approaches to address barriers facing apprentices.

Sustainable Jobs

Workers will always be at the heart of the government’s plan to build a strong economy and a bright future for Canadians. As the world moves to a net-zero emissions future, we must ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed and that no region gets left behind. Already, the federal government has made progress towards building a just transition for workers through sustainable jobs and have undertaken public consultations on legislation that will support workers and communities in the shift to a low-carbon future. This work continues.

In March, in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy, the government committed to skills training, including through a new Futures Fund for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Along with the government’s commitment to a new Clean Jobs Training Centre, this will help workers have the tools to succeed. The federal government will also continue to work with its partners, including labour unions, to design programs that take into account current barriers and underrepresentation, so that there is a level playing field for everyone.

Canada’s long-term success depends on workers. From engineers, scientists, farmers, construction workers, tradespeople, resource workers, energy workers, researchers, and more, everyone will have a role to play in the economy of tomorrow.

4.4 Connecting Workers to Good Jobs

With record lows in unemployment as Canada emerges from the pandemic, employers across the country—especially in rural Canada—are finding it difficult to hire the workers they need.

Budget 2022 proposes to grow our workforce by addressing barriers faced by mothers, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, persons with disabilities, young Canadians, and other people who are underrepresented in Canada’s workforce. This will include improving labour mobility and foreign credential recognition, and creating opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The government also intends to engage with experts on the role that a Career Extension Tax Credit could play in boosting the labour force participation of seniors who want to continue to work later in life.

Labour Mobility Deduction for Tradespeople

Canada is growing, and that means more homes, roads, and important infrastructure projects need to be built. Skilled trades workers are essential to Canada’s success and we need them to be able to get to the job site—no matter where it is.

Workers in the construction trades often travel to take on temporary jobs—frequently in rural and remote communities—but their associated expenses do not always qualify for existing tax relief.

Improving labour mobility for workers in the construction trades can help to address labour shortages and ensure that important projects, like housing, can be completed across the country.

Supporting Foreign Credential Recognition in the Health Sector View the impact assessment

The pandemic has only worsened the labour shortages in our health care sector. Internationally-trained health care professionals can help fill these gaps and ensure that Canadians receive the quality health care they deserve.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program helps skilled newcomers secure meaningful, well-paying jobs by funding provinces, territories, and organizations to improve foreign credential recognition processes and by providing direct support to skilled newcomers. This support includes mentoring, job placements, and financial assistance for exams and classes.

An Employment Strategy for Persons With Disabilities View the impact assessment

Persons with disabilities should be fully included in Canada’s economic recovery. However, despite being ready and willing to work, their employment rates are much lower than those of Canadians without disabilities—59 per cent versus 80 per cent, according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability. The federal government is steadfast in its commitment to an inclusive recovery—and we cannot leave persons with disabilities behind.

This measure will also form an important part of the government’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which will aim to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities, and build on more than $1.1 billion in funding that the federal government has committed to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities since 2015. 

Improving the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program allows foreign nationals to work in Canada on a temporary basis in order to fill jobs that Canadians are unavailable or unwilling to take. The workers that come to Canada through the TFW program contribute to the labour in a range of sectors, including agriculture and fish and other food processing.

As employers across the country face difficulties in finding workers, the TFW program is experiencing a growing demand. However, additional steps need to be taken to ensure the health, safety, and quality of life of those who come to work in Canada—the importance of which has been reinforced by the unacceptable experience of some temporary foreign workers during the pandemic.

Budget 2022 proposes a number of measures to increase protections for workers, to reduce administrative burdens for trusted repeat employers, and to ensure employers can quickly bring in workers to fill short-term labour market gaps. These include:

Completing the Employment Equity Act Review

Through the Employment Equity Act, the government promotes and improves equality and diversity in federally regulated workplaces. Since the introduction of the Employment Equity Act, continued progress has been made to address inequalities but some workers are still facing barriers to employment and promotion and many federal workplaces fail to reflect the full diversity of Canada’s population. That is why, on July 14, 2021, the government launched an arm’s length Task Force to review the Act and advise on how to modernize the federal employment equity framework.

4.5 Towards A Better Employment Insurance System

Over the last two years, millions of Canadians’ livelihoods have been interrupted by lockdowns, illness, or the need to care for loved ones. At the start of the pandemic, the government responded by introducing emergency income support that ensured workers and their families could continue to make ends meet, even as the pandemic prevented them from working.

As Canada’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic and emergency programs wind down, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion is consulting with Canadians on what needs to be done to build an Employment Insurance (EI) system that better meets the current and future needs of workers and employers. This includes simpler and fairer rules for workers, new ways to support experienced workers transitioning to a new career, and coverage for self-employed and gig workers. 

The government will release its long-term plan for the future of EI after the consultations conclude.

Extending Temporary Support for Seasonal Workers

In certain regions of the country, seasonal industries—including fishing and tourism in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia—are the lifeblood of local economies. The Employment Insurance (EI) system is critical to ensuring that the workers these industries count on have the support they need between work seasons. 

In 2018, to address gaps in EI support between seasons, the government introduced a pilot project in 13 regions of the country to provide up to five additional weeks—for a maximum of 45 weeks—for eligible seasonal workers. The temporary support was extended in Budget 2021 to ensure continued support during the pandemic. 

Chapter 4
Creating Good Middle Class Jobs
millions of dollars
4.1. Delivering on Child Care  0  0  75  150  200  200  625
Supporting Early Learning and Child Care  0  0  75  150  200  200  625
4.2. Immigration for Our Economy  0  564  913  921  782  813  3,993
Canada’s Ambitious Immigration Plan1  0  398  484  473  345  357  2,058
Efficiently Welcoming Visitors, Students, and Workers to Canada  0  75  86  86  86  86  421
Less: Funds Previously Provisioned in the Fiscal Framework
 0  -35  0  0  0  0  -35
Securing the Integrity of Canada’s Asylum System  0  57  312  305  312  332  1,318
Supporting Legal Aid for
Asylum Seekers
 0  44  0  0  0  0  44
Improving Support Services for Immigrants and Visitors to Canada  0  25  31  56  37  37  187
4.3. A Workforce for the 21st Century Economy  0  12  25  25  25  0  87
Bringing Workers to the Decision-Making Table  0  3  0  0  0  0  3
Doubling the Union Training and Innovation Program  0  9  25  25  25  0  84
4.4. Connecting
Workers to Good Jobs
 25  194  245  256  212  217  1,149
Labour Mobility Deduction for Tradespeople  25  110  110  115  115  120  595
Administrative Costs 0 1 1 1 1 1 6
Supporting Foreign Credential Recognition in the Health Sector  0  5  20  30  30  30  115
An Employment Strategy for Persons with Disabilities  0  39  65  65  65  65  299
Less: Year-Over- Year Reallocation of Funding
 0  -26  0  0  0  0  -26
Improving the Temporary Foreign Worker Program  0  63  49  45  1  1  159
Completing the Employment Equity Act Review  0  2  0  0  0  0  2
4.5. Towards a Better Employment Insurance System  0  3  56  51  0  0  110
Extending Temporary Support for Seasonal Workers  0  3  56  51  0  0  110
Additional Investments – Creating Good Middle Class Jobs  0  8  0  0  0  0  8
COVID-19 Benefit
 0  8  0  0  0  0  8
Budget 2022 proposes to amend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit Act to provide the Canada Revenue Agency with authority to establish and collect debts, on a weekly basis, for situations where a worker has accessed more than one benefit at once. Proposed funding would support related administration.
Chapter 4 - Net Fiscal Impact  25  781  1,314  1,403  1,219  1,230  5,972

Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.
1 The 2022‒2024 Immigration Levels Plan was announced on February 14th, 2022.

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