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Back to Work: Canada

Improving the Re-employment Prospects of Displaced Workers

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Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over their lifetime. Displaced workers may face long periods of unemployment and, even when they find new jobs, tend to be paid less than in their prior jobs. Helping them get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy. This report looks at how this challenge is being tackled in Canada. While the Canadian government uses several measures to prevent unnecessary layoffs, the focus is placed on assisting workers after they have lost their job via the Employment Insurance system and the core labour market programmes operated by the Provinces. Re-employment assistance tailored to meet the specific needs of displaced workers also plays a useful role, but needs to be reinforced so as to start the adjustment process earlier for workers receiving advance notice or a large severance payment and to reach  workers affected by small-scale displacements. Targeted programmes for older displaced workers with long-tenure who are hardest hit have yet to reach a large share of this group.

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Institutional setup of employment services in Canada

Canada is characterised by an institutional setting that combines a federal jurisdiction with 13 provincial and territorial jurisdictions. The OECD recommends promoting employment services more client-oriented than the existing system-oriented ones, improving the co-ordination between Federal and provincial governments in the implementation and delivery of employment services and considering gathering the delivery of Employment Insurance benefit and employment services in a “one-stop-shop” place. These changes would ease their way for unemployed and, among them, displaced workers to navigate the fragmented employment and skills system.

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