Canada’s reservists make extraordinary sacrifices to keep our country safe. But potential long absences and added costs mean some employers will not hire them. These brave Canadians should not be disadvantaged.
Our government, working with Canada Company, will help remove barriers to hiring reservists.
We will also take action to modernize Canada’s Employment Insurance program. We will make it much easier for Canadians who are out of work to identify new opportunities, and for employers to find the workers they need. For EI recipients in areas of sporadic employment, we will initiate modest changes to the program to better focus our support for Canadians who are eager to work. We will also provide new incentives and opportunities for members of First Nations living on reserve, to participate fully in our economy and to gain greater self-sufficiency.
Our government will also take action to build a new legislated framework, in response to the National Panel on First Nation education. As initial steps, we will make new investments to build and renovate schools on reserves. We will increase support for early literacy programming. We will work with First Nations to build partnerships with provinces and other stakeholders to unlock the potential of Canada’s First Nations children. We will also invest in a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nations communities.
In addition, our government will reform Canada’s immigration system, to make it faster and more efficient.
We will ensure it is designed above all to strengthen Canada’s economy. As a result we will be better able to fill gaps in our labour force. We will attract more of the entrepreneurs we need, to create good jobs and long-term economic growth.
Making effective investments to support world-leading research, innovation, and entrepreneurship
As part of our plan for jobs and growth, our government has made very substantial investments in science and technology. Such investments are necessary to help sustain a modern, competitive economy. They encourage innovation–new ideas, which lead to new products and services, and ultimately to new, highly skilled, well-paying jobs. The key is to leverage private sector investment in research and development. In spite of our efforts so far, Canada is not keeping up with other advanced economies on this crucial front.
In response to the Jenkins Report on innovation, we will provide substantial new funding to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access venture capital. We will extend our efforts to promote small business innovation, through government procurement contracts. We will provide new investments to support innovation and market development in the forestry sector.
We will double our investments through the Industrial Research Assistance Program. We will provide new support for partnerships between businesses and universities. We will make new investments in advanced research infrastructure on our college and university campuses. We will streamline and improve the tax incentive program for business innovation, and reinvest the savings in direct support.
We will also review the government’s science and technology organizations, to make them more effective in translating ideas from the lab to the marketplace.
The result will be to position Canada to succeed in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. We will be able to build more globally competitive companies. Those companies will create more well-paying jobs and a greater quality of life for all Canadians.
Streamlining the review process for major economic projects
As the 21st century unfolds, it is increasingly clear that Canada’s energy and natural resources are massive assets to our country in the global economy. The oil and gas, mining, and forestry sectors directly employ more than three-quarters of a million Canadians. They are driving economic growth across the country.
They are creating good jobs not only directly but also indirectly, in manufacturing, clerical work, skilled trades, and financial services.
Canada’s resource industries offer huge potential to create even more jobs and growth, now and over the next generation. This potential exists in every region of the country–natural gas in British Columbia, oil and minerals on the Prairies, the Ring of Fire in Ontario, Plan Nord in Quebec, hydro power in Atlantic Canada, and mining in Canada’s North.
Recently it has become clear that we must develop new export markets for Canada’s energy and natural resources, to reduce our dependence on markets in the United States. The booming economies of the Asia- Pacific region are a huge and increasing source of demand, but Canada is not the only country to which they can turn. If we fail to act now, this historic window of opportunity will close.