Corbett, Chisholm call on Province for emergency meeting to help protect adult learning organizations

February 4, 2014

NDP Labour critic Frank Corbett says with adult learning organizations facing a crisis, the Liberal government needs to hold an emergency meeting to develop an interim strategy in case proposed changes to the Canada-Nova Scotia Labour Market Agreement occur. He also says results of provincial consultations with adult learning organizations held in late summer of 2013 need to be released immediately.

“The NDP was strongly against these changes from the get go and I’m glad Nova Scotia has joined other provinces to protect the current agreement,” said Corbett. “But groups that provide adult learning services to Nova Scotians are under a great deal of stress given that their survival depends on this funding. I’m asking Minister Regan to provide some leadership to ensure these groups can keep their doors open.”

In a January 29, 2014 letter Regan told stakeholders the province isn’t able to “guarantee any continuation of funding for the component of services or programs funded under the LMA beyond the end of 2014.” Regan offered no back-up plan or interim measures to protect the organizations affected if federal –provincial negotiations fell apart.

Corbett says while he is fully aware of the difficult situation the Harper government has created for the province, groups that provide adult learning services and their clients need certainty. According to the Department of Labour the proposed changes to the LMA would have an $8 million impact on programs that affect up to 10,000 people.

“Valuable adult education programs are facing federal funding cuts in less than two months,” added Corbett. “We can’t sit back and wait and see what the Harper government will do, we need a plan. Programming here under the current agreement is working and needs to be protected.”

Dartmouth – Cole Harbour NDP MP Robert Chisholm has seen first-hand the benefits these programs provide to Nova Scotians who are trying to improve their prospects for employment.

“In Nova Scotia alone, there are hundreds of organizations like the Dartmouth Learning Network who are helping people improve their skills, and their lives,” said Chisholm. “It would be grossly irresponsible to let their doors close while the provincial and federal governments argue over cost sharing.”