Comox Valley Record

Funding announced to retrain 'older workers' in Comox Valley

The Canadian and B.C. governments are combining to help unemployed older workers in the Comox Valley.

Up to 60 unemployed older workers will receive help to improve their skills and re-enter the workforce through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW).

Together, the governments of Canada and B.C. are investing over $515,000 in the Creative Employment Access Society’s Vintage Advantage project to improve participants’ employability and get them back to work.

Participants will be able to tailor the training to their needs, opting for work experience with a local employer, individualized skills development and job search assistance, or self-employment. After graduating from the program, participating older workers will continue to have access to job coaching and ongoing support.

The announcement was made by John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Vancouver Island North MP and Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour for British Columbia.

“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Duncan. “Through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, we are helping unemployed older workers in British Columbia develop new skills so they can make the transition to new jobs.”

“By working with the federal government on programs like the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, we are leveraging an important resource in our economy: older workers,” said Bell. “Using labour market programs like the TIOW and those provided under the Canada–B.C. Labour Market Agreement helps British Columbia capitalize on the human resources we already have in this province so we get the right people the right skills to fill the over one million jobs we expect in B.C. by 2020.”

“This TIOW funding will enable us to resume offering employment services tailored to the needs of older workers in the Comox Valley,” said Bruce Brautigan, executive director of the Creative Employment Access Society in the Comox Valley. “Our Vintage Advantage project has been highly successful in helping older workers find suitable jobs or launch their own business and we are very pleased that it will be continuing.”

To date, the TIOW has targeted more than 25 000 unemployed older workers across Canada, including more than 4,000 in B.C. The initiative provides retraining for new careers and supports the Government of Canada’s broader strategy to create an educated, skilled and flexible workforce.

The federal-provincial/territorial cost-shared initiative provides people with employment assistance services, such as resumé writing and counseling, and employability improvement activities, such as skills upgrading and work experience.

The TIOW assists unemployed older workers, aged 55 to 64 years, who live in a city or town with a population of 250,000 or fewer that is experiencing high unemployment, significant downsizing or closures.

The Government of Canada launched the TIOW in fall 2006 and has since contributed $270 million in funding and extended the initiative until March 31, 2014.

The TIOW launched with a commitment of $70 million for programming to March 31, 2009. Budget 2008 invested another $90 million to extend the initiative for three years, to March 2012.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2009 provided an additional $60 million over that same period. In 2011, the TIOW was extended to March 31, 2014 with a further $50 million, and EAP 2012 reiterated this commitment.

— Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

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