BOLD: Better Outcomes in Layoffs and Downsizing

Canadian manufacturing workers are particularly vulnerable to labour market disruption, such as automation, and could face uncertain futures. 

A birds eye image of two construction workers.

Together with partners including the United Steelworkers of Canada, the Canadian Skills Training & Employment Coalition’s two-year BOLD (Better Outcomes in Layoffs and Downsizing) project retrained and upskilled workers using shorter-term training leading to industry-recognized credentials in addition to traditional adjustment services.

When major layoffs occur, governments provide significant funding, including through the Employment Insurance program, to provide adjustment services such as training to reskill or upskill, job search support, and career planning. As such, policymakers should take a keen interest in programs that can reduce the time to re-employment or minimize depressed earnings.

The BOLD project served 107 displaced manufacturing and steel workers in the Greater Toronto Area. Due to the COVID pandemic, provision of the training mostly moved online but 38% of participants did the training in person. The program had a 94% retention and 85% completion rate.

The Coalition said delivering short courses that led to certifications may explain the project’s high retention and completion rates.

Frontline staff are key to the success of these types of program with better individual intake assessments further ensuring a good match between the worker’s needs and the training provided. Frontline staff are important in connecting the client to supports outside and also brokering that support from outside the program to ensure participant retention.

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