About this Audit

Workforce development consists of activities and efforts to help meet the employment needs of employers and those looking for work. These activities include adult skills training, job placement, and developing partnerships with industry designed to help unemployed individuals gain employment and lower-skilled workers improve their skill levels. In Alberta, the Department of Labour is responsible for the delivery of programs that support the development of Alberta’s workforce.

Between 2006 and 2016, Alberta’s workforce development efforts were to be coordinated under the Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Strategy (BETW). The government designed the strategy to bring together government ministries and external industry and stakeholder groups to achieve a common objective of improving Alberta’s labour force capacity.

The purpose of a long-term strategy such as BETW is to allow the government to work towards more sustainable results—to focus on the things it identifies as most important to the future sustainability of Alberta’s labour force, not necessarily the most urgent right now.

The BETW strategy recognized that the immediate need (in 2006) to attract workers from across Canada and internationally (more workers) needed to be balanced with the longer-term need to provide Albertans with the skills and training they would need in a more knowledge-based economy. The longer-term results were to provide under-represented groups within Alberta with the skills, training and opportunities they needed to succeed (better-trained people), and to support increased innovation and productivity within Alberta workplaces (innovative work environments).

After 2012, monitoring and reporting on progress for BETW stopped. The department, acting as the strategy’s central ministry, worked on updating the strategy. When the strategy ended in 2016, it was not renewed and a new strategy that used a formal multi-ministry collaborative approach was not developed. Instead, the department moved forward with a plan more directly focused on areas specifically within the department’s mandate.

The department’s program expenditures for workforce strategies between 2013–2016 were $223 million.

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