Navigating Government Labour Programs: Atlantic Canadian Small Businesses' Experience

Employment Support Programs (ESPs) are one of the measures implemented by provincial governments to tackle unemployment and underemployment in the labour force. As shown in the Appendix, these programs are funded by the federal government through the Labour Market Development Agreements and the Workforce Development Agreements. These programs are aimed at improving provincial labour force outcomes by enhancing individuals’ employability and connecting them with employers. Some ESPs are targeted towards employers and offer benefits such as subsidized wage costs, access to talent pools, and faster labour recruitment processes.

This report evaluates the effectiveness of the ESPs that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can partake in. It analyzes the efficacy of ESPs administered in the Atlantic provinces using results of CFIB’s 2023 Effectiveness of Provincial Employment Support Programs survey, which was shared with small businesses in the Atlantic provinces. It assesses the outcomes, perceived benefits, and experiences of Atlantic Canadian small businesses that have participated in ESPs as well as the factors that cause some SMEs to stop or abstain from using ESPs.

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