News Release Article from  Employment and Social Development Canada

Canada continues its renewed engagement in the Americas - Minister Blackburn announces a new Labour Program

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WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES, Friday, November 2, 2007- The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec today announced funding to help labour ministries in the countries of the Americas effectively implement their labour laws and respect core labour standards. Programming will focus primarily on countries in the Andes, Central America and the Caribbean.
"Canada is supporting democracy and economic development throughout the Americas," said Minister Blackburn. "This funding will enable our partner countries to strengthen and modernize their labour administration, enhance occupational health and safety standards, and facilitate a better dialogue among government, business and labour," added Minister Blackburn.
This initiative is being funded under the International Program for Professional Labour Administration (IPPLA), a two-year, $8.5 million project jointly funded by the Labour Program and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It will help countries to act on the commitments in trade-related labour agreements, and to deliver on obligations resulting from the Summit of the Americas and the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour.
As part of the IPPLA, the Organization of American States (OAS) will receive $1 million for activities such as workshops, seminars, conferences, studies and policy papers, as well as facilitation of bilateral collaboration between labour ministries throughout the hemisphere.
Most countries in the Americas are actively working to meet internationally recognized labour standards. The IPPLA will support their efforts to meet their obligations under the International Labour Organization and any labour agreements that Canada has signed or may sign with them in the future.
During his visit to Washington, Minister Blackburn also met with the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert R. Ramdin, and the Ambassador to the OAS, Graeme C. Clark, as well as the Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America, Michael Wilson.
"The Government of Canada is acting on its Throne Speech commitment to strengthen Canada's place in the world," Minister Blackburn said. "We are working with our partners in the hemisphere to promote the fundamental value of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," added Minister Blackburn.
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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.
For further information (media only):
Michael Winterburn
Office of Minister Blackburn
819-997-6938
Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
BACKGROUNDER
International Program for Professional
Labour Administration
The International Program for Professional Labour Administration (IPPLA) is part of the Inter-American Program of the Canadian International Development Agency, which contributes to the achievement of greater equity in the Americas by helping to fulfil commitments made at the Summit of the Americas.
It is a two-year, $8.5 million project managed by the Labour Program of Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). The IPPLA seeks to strengthen labour administration in countries (especially smaller economies) of the Andean, Central American and Caribbean sub regions of the Americas.
The IPPLA will primarily help countries to:
strengthen and modernize their labour administration and adhere to international labour standards;
enhance national occupational health and safety standards to promote safer and healthier workplaces; and,
facilitate social dialogue between the government, employers and unions.
Partner organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the Organization of American States, regional non-governmental organizations and local labour experts will likely be involved in designing, managing and delivering activities and components of the project in order to respond to local priority needs.
Project activities that are part of the IPPLA may include workshops, seminars, conferences, collaboration on policy or legislative development, study tours, studies and research exchanges, as well as social dialogue between the social partners themselves and with governmental authorities.
In the spirit of a multi-stakeholder approach, the IPPLA project will encourage the participation of governments as well as of representatives of organized labour and employers' groups.
HRSDC's Labour Program represents the views of Canada abroad on matters such as working conditions, workplace health and safety, industrial relations and labour standards, and participates in the negotiation of international labour agreements. Much of this work is designed to improve living standards, working conditions and workers' rights both in Canada and abroad.
This project supports the Government of Canada's commitment to re-engaging in the hemisphere. Our engagement will focus on increasing prosperity and improving security throughout the hemisphere, as well as promoting Canada's fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
For more information, please visit the following Web site: Labour.gc.ca.
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