The programs and services offered by the Department affect the lives of millions of Canadians. This includes income support to Canadians through benefits that Parliament has legislated, such as Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. Through Employment Insurance, temporary income support and access to employment programs and services are provided to unemployed Canadians to help them prepare for, find and retain employment. By encouraging skills development in Canadian workplaces and by developing and disseminating information about the labour market, the Department helps Canadian businesses and workers connect. HRSDC also invests in learning by facilitating access to post-secondary education and adult learning opportunities. HRSDC’s social policies and programs help to ensure that children and families, seniors, people with disabilities, homeless people and those at risk of homelessness, and others facing barriers have the support and information they need to improve their well-being.
Through the Labour Program the Department promotes and sustains stable industrial relations and healthy, fair, productive workplaces within the federal jurisdiction. In support of these goals, the Labour program mediates labour disputes, works to keep compliance operations modern and responsive, negotiates and implements international labour standards and agreements, collaborates closely with provincial and territorial ministries of Labour, and carries out labour-related research and analysis.
Through Service Canada, the Department provides citizens with a one-stop window to government services and information in over 600 points of service across the country. Service Canada delivers a growing number of services and benefits on behalf of HRSDC and other federal departments and agencies.
The Department delivers some $87 billion in programs and services and has some 24,000 employees. Approximately 19,000 employees work under the Service Canada banner.
From HRSDC's web site, its mission is to build a stronger and more competitive Canada, to support Canadians in making choices that help them live productive and rewarding lives, and to improve Canadians’ quality of life.
HRSDC was created on February 6, 2006 by regrouping the former Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Social Development Canada. Those two departments had been formed just over two years earlier, in December 2003, by splitting Human Resources Development Canada into two separate departments which, however, had continued to share many common services and operations. The 2006 version of HRSDC has not yet been followed by enabling legislation but continues to operate under previous authorities. Those were enacted in July 2005, through Bill C-23, an Act to establish the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and Bill C-22, an Act to establish the Department of Social Development.
The Ministers responsible for the Department are: