Social Partnerships for Training: Canada's Experiment with Labour Force Development Boards


319 pages
ISBN 0-88911-755-1
DDC 331.12'042'0971




Edited by Andrew Sharpe and Rodney Haddow
Reviewed by Robert W. Sexty

Robert W. Sexty is a professor of commerce and business administration
at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the author of Canadian
Business: Issues and Stakeholders.


On the issue of labour training in Canada, some argue that governments
should play the main role, others propose that business should assume
responsibility, and still others suggest that individuals should be
responsible for their own training. This book reviews an offshoot of
labour market policy known as labour force development boards (LFDBs).
In the early 1990s, a federal government initiative proposed that a
national board be established along with boards in each province and
territory, as well as 60 to 75 local ones. Their establishment was
motivated by the belief that greater private-sector input into labour
market policy could contribute to improved labour performance.

The editors have contributed six of the book’s 11 chapters, including
the two introductory chapters and the conclusion. The evolution of LFDBs
is discussed along with the corporatist model of policymaking, which is
characterized by some form of cooperation between governments, labour
organizations, and business enterprises. The authors point out that
while LFDBs have been successful in other countries (notably in Europe),
they have met with limited acceptance in Canada. Obstacles include the
antagonism between labour and business, and the practice of basing
policy on a pluralist rather than corporatist model.

Social Partnerships for Training provides a good record of the 10-year
experiment with LFDBs. The book will be of interest to political science
and industrial relations academics, labour organizations, and social
action interest groups.


“Social Partnerships for Training: Canada's Experiment with Labour Force Development Boards,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,