During the 1980s and 1990s, transition programs for women were fairly common in Canada. Established to help women enter or re-enter the labour force through skills-based training, they were designed to assist women to overcome educational, attitudinal, and structural barriers, as well as to determine and realize their job aspirations. A national evaluation of the Job Entry Program for the former Employment and Immigration Canada recorded the success of these programs. It found that the Re-entry option was particularly effective for women in the Atlantic region in terms of both employment and earnings. But what happened to these programs? In examining this question, the report explores the key changes in government policies that have had an impact on the job-training delivery landscape from the late 1980s up to the present and introduces the reader to the economic realities faced by many women in Nova Scotia today. The report goes on to examine a variety of approaches and best practices that enable low-income women to move into more stable and better-paid employment. It also looks at current policies and programs and in particular the opportunities the new CanadañNova Scotia Skills and Learning Framework offers to develop meaningful community based training programs that can address womenís needs. A series of recommendations on this question and how the Skills and Learning Framework could meet the educational and training needs of womenóincluding recommendations on infrastructure, delivery and sustainabilityócompletes the report.
Aboriginal peoples represent Canada’s fastest-growing population, yet their education and employment outcomes lag significantly behind the rest of the Canadian population. It has been forecast that over 400,000 Aboriginal youth will enter the labour market by 2016 (Brigham & Taylor, 2006). This forecast is supported by the fact that almost 20 per cent of Aboriginal people are in the 15–24 age range (Statistics Canada, 2009a). Evidence from a variety of studies summarized in this literature review indicates that Aboriginal youth face more difficulties and barriers in making a successful transition to the labour market than non-Aboriginal youth. One of the major themes throughout the literature is that Aboriginal people are at risk of social exclusion (Fleury, 2002) and that they frequently experience difficulties in their school-to-work transitions (Thiessen, 2001). Despite many gains in education and employment outcomes (Hull, 2005), Aboriginal people remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Canada (Kapsalis, 2006). The difficulties faced by Aboriginal youth also represent a significant challenge for Canadian society. Today’s economy requires higher levels of education and skills for meaningful employment, especially in current and emerging knowledge sectors. Higher levels of education are known toimprove socioeconomic well-being, including employment level and health. Increasing the number of Aboriginal people with postsecondary education would not only benefit these individuals, their families, and their communities, but would also address Canada’s labour force challenges and improve the economy. This “social and economic imperative” (ACCC, 2011, p. 5) suggests a need to strengthen existing policies and programs to better support Aboriginal youth in their transition from education to employment.
First Nations, Inuit and MÈtis populations in Canada suffer from a variety of health disparities, including higher rates of infant mortality, higher rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases, greater prevalence of tuberculosis, as well as a shorter life expectancy compared to non-Aboriginal Canadians. Public health experts, community health workers and health care providers are trying to reduce Aboriginal health disparities through research, programs and services. As part of this effort, a group of researchers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States have proposed the development of a set of core competencies for Aboriginal public health. Together, they have established a collaboration called CIPER: Competencies for Indigenous Public Health, Evaluation, and Research. The core competencies proposed by CIPHER would describe the skills, knowledge and attitudes a public health practitioner could utilize to provide culturally competent and safe health services to Aboriginal individuals and communities.