New investments to help Canadians secure good jobs
Hello everyone, it’s great to be back here in Thunder Bay, but before I start on anything else, I want as to all give a huge whooping round of applause for our graduating students. Congratulations guys.
This is a milestone achievement and I’m pleased to have a chance to be with you on this special day. I want to thank Elder Gene and thank everyone for welcoming us onto Fort William First Nation traditional territory, I also want to thank Terry Varga and Ted Pepin for a warm welcome, and a few other colleagues who are here today. We’ve got Minister Hajdu, MPs Don Rusnak and Bob Nault, and it’s great to see you all; it’s great to thank you in person in front of everyone for the amazing work you all do to fight for your communities in Ottawa.
Now it’s no secret that the nature of work is changing. People in this room know that better than most. Technology has transformed not only how we work, but also what we need to learn. These big shifts have created a lot of uncertainty, and pressure for Canadians young and old. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students tell me that they can’t get a job because they don’t have work experience, and they can’t get work experience because they don’t have a job. More experienced workers, who worried that they didn’t have the right skills to get a good well-paying job in the new economy. What became increasingly clear to us is that Canadians often felt like they lacked the resources or opportunities to take their careers to the next level. These are challenges you may have wrestled with, when you were thinking about signing up for more training.
So, our government decided to take action by making historic investments in skills training. First, we boosted the Canada Student Loans and Grants Program, to help low- and middle-income students and families afford the costs of post-secondary education. And to help those who have already joined the labour market upgrade their skills, we implemented the first wave of changes to employment insurance in 2017. Unemployed workers who want to take training or upgrade their skills can now return to school without losing their employment insurance benefits. That makes a huge difference to parents who are counting on these benefits to support their families. These are the types of initiatives that make a real difference in people’s lives and help families plan for their future, and their children’s future.
That said, there’s much more to be done. So, with Budget 2019, we’re renewing our focus on skills training and launching more initiatives to get Canadians the help they need to succeed.
To make skills training more accessible, we’re launching the new Canada Training Benefit, which includes two key components. The first is the Canada Training Credit. Each year, workers earning between $10,000 and $150,000 will receive a $250 tax credit to upgrade their skills which they can accumulate over time. That means that for four weeks every four years, Canadians will have $1,000 to help cover training fees. The Construction Craft Worker program is a great example of the kind of training program we want to see more Canadians enroll in.
The second component is the EI Training Support Benefit. Workers will receive EI benefits for up to four weeks while they take time off work to upgrade their skills. At the same time, we’re also laying the groundwork to ensure that every young Canadian who wants a work integrating learning opportunity can get one within ten years.
And to make repaying loans for post-secondary education more affordable, we’re lowering the interest rate for Canada student loans and apprentice loans and introducing a six-month interest-free grace period for recent graduates. These changes should help students transition to the labour market more easily and save up to $2,000 over the lifetime of their loan.
We’re also developing a new strategy to support apprentices and those employed in the skilled trades and launching a national campaign to encourage young people to choose a career in the trades. Taken together, these measures will help people get the right training and support they need to succeed in the job market.
Right now, middle-class Canadians who are already having a hard time making ends meet are struggling to put money aside for training. Well, we want to take some of that pressure off and help them advance their career on their own terms. Canadians have the right skills to take on the jobs of tomorrow, so that’s crucial that we keep them that way so we can keep our economy strong and growing, and the middle class thriving. And that’s why our government will continue to invest in Canadians and in their future.