McNeil says the changes announced earlier this month in the federal budget will harm provincial literacy programs and won't work for businesses in the province.
The proposed grant initially offered $15,000 for each eligible worker to be divided equally among Ottawa, the provinces and employers.
But Ottawa has faced intense criticism that the program would siphon federal cash from existing provincially run programs for youth, aboriginals and disabled workers.
The federal government has since said it will cover the provincial share and deliver the program on its own if it can't reach a deal with the provinces by April 1.
That has caused fresh indignation in Quebec, where the Harper government has been accused of encroaching on provincial turf.
McNeil says the changes make no sense, adding that Nova Scotia can't afford to pick up the fiscal slack if Ottawa reduces its support for certain programs.
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