Feds worry technology will force ‘vulnerable’ groups out of labour force

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OTTAWA — Internal government documents show federal officials have quietly probed ways to boost job numbers for Indigenous Peoples, newcomers and Canadians with disabilities to prevent a spike in economic hardship.

A presentation to top civil servants last year, marked “secret,” says the government wanted to find a way to dispel stereotypes that act as employment barriers.

Increasing the employment rate in each “vulnerable” workers’ group by just one per cent could expand Canada’s economy by a percentage point, officials estimated in the documents.

Also, new technologies are forcing companies to look for highly skilled workers, and many of the workers in these groups are considered low-skilled.

Officials worried the labour-market shift will make it even tougher for these workers to find jobs, cause those working to lose their positions, and increase reliance on federal benefits for income, which would strain Ottawa’s finances.

The Canadian Press obtained documents under the federal access-to-information law at a time when the Liberals have publicly talked about using the 2019 budget — the last before next fall’s federal election — to focus on skills training.

The Canadian Press

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