Women's Access to Training

In addition, the new skills loans and grants will be based on household income and not just individual income. There is also an expectation that assets will be liquidated before El-based support will be provided. The system is moving towards having banks administer these skills loans, which would mean that anyone with no credit history or one of bad debt or a recent bankruptcy wouldn't be eligible for these loans. Women make up the majority of those who will be disadvantaged under this system.

Ursule then summarized some of the trends found in the survey and focus group results:

imageThere is no consistency across the country, but the challenges are almost universal. There continues to be disdain for those who find themselves unemployed - the blaming of the victim - that the unemployed are out there abusing the system. (This is built on false research and assumptions, as there continues to be only a small number who abuse the system. True abuse has never exceeded 2%-4%, according to statistics.) People in the focus groups expressed a sense of continuously being pushed to reduce job expectations.

imageThere is little support provided across the country for child care, while there is no sense of any form of entitlement of public support in times of difficulty.

imageEverything is an experiment, all "pilot projects," reflecting a "flavour of the month" mentality.

imageToo often, only the best students (those who are most likely to get jobs at the end of the program) are accepted into programs. This "creaming" makes programs look good to the public, including those individuals looking to spend their EI training dollars, but those most in need are being left out of the training system.

imageTraining programs now seldom last more than 12 weeks.

image Most programs are delivered to groups, where there is no individual attention to those who need extra support for their learning.

imageMany individuals find themselves caught in catch-22 situations where they are wrong whichever direction they choose.

CCLOW volunteers Needed for the WFF workplace Campaign

Workshops this spring in Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax and Toronto will train WFF volunteers to approach workplaces, sign agreements and facilitate campaigns. They will also provide an opportunity for individual members of WFF member organizations to get together to network and strategize. Each member of WFF is required to find at least five volunteers to become involved in workplace access in their communities.

If you are interested in participating in this challenging new initiative, please contact Betty Butterworth at bbutter@interlog.com

Funding from Status of Women Canada will support the workshops as well as research on potential workplaces; ongoing organizational development; and the development of a volunteer training manual.

In summary, the federal government has not made equity a reality and it no longer recognizes and sees itself as having a responsibility to correct the historical disadvantage of certain groups in the labour market. They have eliminated past policies to this effect and they have not imposed on the provinces any requirement to identify or target any of the equity groups. The provinces are in a difficult position as they only really received half of the money that was previously spent on training and employment programs and services - half the money and all the people.

Ursule's research report will be issued in the spring of 1999 by a number of the member organizations from labour and equity of the Canadian Labour Force Development Board. The CLFDB will cease to exist as of December 31, 1999 and Ursule is working hard to ensure that this work will continue through other mechanisms. For a copy of this report, please contact Ursule at 613-526-7427 or by e-mail at ucritoph@clc-ctc.ca in late April.



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