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The Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) used to be the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Every worker needs to know about the EDSC. It is a highly-skilled workers’ best government resource.

With the HRSDC rebranded to ESDC, what does it offer? Canadians will find plenty of programs and guidance under the ESDC in terms of employment, financial aid, and education.

What Was The HRSDC?

In December 2003, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) was separated into two different departments:

  • The HRSDC and;
  • The Social Development Canada (SDC).

The purpose of the HRSDC was to handle the workforce-related portion of the previous HRDC. 

The department played an important role in opening up opportunities for workers to develop and refine their skills as well as take advantage of employment openings. By February 2006, the two departments merged again under the HRSDC and then later rebranded as the ESDC.

This change was made in response to the implementation of Bill C-4, the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act. This Bill amended the Canada Labour Code to provide personal income tax relief by increasing the income amount that Canadians can earn before being placed in a higher tax bracket.

What Is Employment And Social Development Canada (ESDC)?

The ESDC is a federal government department that encourages and supports highly skilled workers. It’s involved in creating, overseeing, and delivering social services and programs to Canadians. Their goal is to improve their standard of living. The main mission of the ESDC is to help Canadians live quality lives by building a strong support system and inclusive workforce in Canada. 

Why Is ESDC Important?

The ESDC provides a wealth of information to Canadians and newcomers in terms of employment, benefits, and the process of having one’s foreign credentials verified. It also facilitates certain types of financial aid to qualifying Canadians. 

Here are some of the topics, the ESDC covers to help Canadians: 


Every job requires a certain level of training and skill set. The EDSC provides information on obtaining training, education, and the specific skills needed to find work. 

Higher-paying jobs, in particular, typically demand a high level of skills, training, and education. If you’re looking for a well-paying career, the EDSC can help you access the training and education needed to land the job you want. The EDSC also provides tools and information on: 

  • Careers based on educational level and program.
  • How to have your foreign credentials accredited and integrate into Canada as a newcomer.
  • How to become an apprentice.
  • Finding the training required for a certain job.

Information is also provided on saving and budgeting for education and training programs. There are also various financial programs you can look at to help cover the cost of necessary training for specific job types. 

Employment Insurance

It’s critical that you understand the types of programs and benefits you may be entitled to in the event of job loss or disability. Even if you’re unable to work or lose your job, you still have bills to pay. Some Canadians may choose to apply for a personal loan to help cover their bills while they’re off work to ensure they don’t fall behind. 

But Employment Insurance (EI) benefits may be available if you qualify and provide temporary income support while you look for a job, or heal from an illness or injury.

Newcomer Workplace Laws

As a newcomer to Canada, you may not be aware of your rights as an employee. More specifically, you may have specific training from back home along with a license or certificate to work in a particular field.

If the job you want requires a license or certificate, your foreign license or certificate needs recognition in Canada. You’ll need to undergo a foreign credential recognition process.

The process verifies whether or not the education or training you obtained in your home country meets the standards in Canada. The authority for this process is most often the provincial and territorial governments. Which then delegates this authority to regulatory authorities within various jurisdictions.

Do you know what a Canada FPT deposit is?

What Type Of Programs Does The Employment And Social Development Canada Manage?

There are several programs that the ESDC oversees, including the following:

Finding A Job

The ESDC offers assistance in finding job opportunities in various industries. It also provides information on obtaining necessary work permits, immigrating to live and work in Canada, and moving across the country for work.

Public Pensions

You’ll find a host of information about various public pension plans, including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and disability benefits. You also have access to a retirement income calculator to help you plan your income for retirement.

Funding Programs

The ESDC provides funding programs in the form of government grants and contributions meant to help support employment, education, training, and social development.

Specialized Benefits

Certain groups, including Indigenous peoples, military, veterans, people with a disability, retirees, Canadians living abroad, and victims, may be eligible for special benefits and programs.


The ESDC provides information on financial support to cover the cost of education and training.  Including student financial assistance for college and university, continuing education, apprenticeship, co-op, and internships. You can also find information about how to save, create a budget, explore student aid and career options, and find help specifically for new immigrants.

Family Benefits

Get information on various benefits to help cover the costs of raising a family, including maternity and parental leave, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), Employment Insurance (EI), survivor’s pension, child disability benefit, and caregiving benefits and leave.

Housing Benefits

The ESDC provides a wealth of information about buying a home, getting financial assistance to update your home, claiming the GST/HST housing rebate, and making your home more energy-efficient.

Workplace Standards

The ESDC offers information about federal and provincial labour laws, health and safety standards, and workplace standards. 

Final Thoughts On The Employment And Social Development Canada

The ESDC focuses on helping Canadians improve their quality of life. The program offers various educational and financial programs and benefits, including EI, CPP, OAS, federal loans, student loans, and many others.

The department promotes a skilled workforce and an inclusive labour market. The department also assists eligible Canadians in accessing a variety of government-backed financial assistance programs required under various circumstances. 

The Employment And Social Development Canada FAQs

How do I contact the ESDC?

The ESDC is partnered with Service Canada and passport offices as a point of access for all the government services and benefits available through the ESDC. You can visit a Service Canada or passport office, or visit the ESDC contact page online to find specific information about various programs under the ESDC.  

What kind of jobs are regulated in Canada?

About 20% of Canada’s best jobs require a license or certificate. In Canada, you need accreditation if you want a job as an accountant, architect, nurse, or teacher. The ESDC offers a Foreign Credential Recognition in Canada Tool to help newcomers like yourself understand various job requirements and other pertinent information.

What kind of programs does the ESDC offer?

The ESDC provides and manages essential services such as Old Age Security payments, CPP payments, EI payments and other services that are important to support a skilled workforce. 
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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