Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivers a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa February 6, 2013.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA - A key focus of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's next budget will be jobs, particularly for aboriginals, young people and other groups having trouble finding work.
In a speech here Wednesday, Flaherty said that while many Canadians can't find work, many employers can't find skilled employees to fill vacancies.
"We need to connect Canadians with available jobs through skills training and education. We need to encourage economic immigrants to Canada and we need to encourage increased participation in the workforce by some parts of our workforce that are under-represented including aboriginal youth, persons with a various abilities and disabilities and of course, seniors - because many seniors want to continue working in the workforce," Flaherty said.
Flaherty's lunchtime speech came seven years to the day after he was sworn in as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first and only finance minister.
Responding to speculation that he may extend a multibillion-dollar program that helped cities pay for new infrastructure, Flaherty would only say no decision had been made.
Flaherty said one factor limiting the government's wiggle room for new spending is falling revenue Ottawa receives from Western Canada's oilpatch.
"It is obviously a concern, not only in Alberta, but in our government," Flaherty said. "It affects our budgeting because it affects commodities prices, obviously ... which affects federal revenues."
"No decision has been made in terms of a future infrastructure plan," Flaherty said.