PM Trudeau announces investments to help Canadian students and workers find and keep good jobs
A few minutes ago, I had the chance to meet with CEGEP students. They told me how important ongoing training is. The challenges they face along the way, education and above all finding a career are not always easy. They spoke of a doing somewhat of a zigzag. They spoke of a bunch of different tries. They spoke of starting a career and then deciding … they decide to go back to work …to school. We know how important the need is for people to find themselves, to find various ways, to take training to find the job that is going to take them further. And we are here to help them.
I shared with them the measures that we announced in our last budget. We decided to emphasize skills training because it is really essential if we want to ensure long-term economic growth. Creating jobs is just part of the equation. We also have to make it so that workers have the right skills to seize the opportunities offered to them. The problem is that the labour market changes quickly. Technological advances, the changing realities of the world’s economy, all of this means that people must update their skills more often and even acquire new ones.
But what we hear often is that it is easier said than done. Going back to school for training takes time and money. In some cases people have to quit their jobs and go without a pay cheque for the duration of their program. That makes everyday life more difficult and the future even more uncertain. But people really don’t have a choice; the options are limited.
Well, our government decided to change things and support workers who want to hone their skills. First, we implemented the Canada Workers Benefit, which will allow more people to acquire new skills throughout their careers. Each year, workers will receive a $250-tax credit to cover training costs, up to a $5,000 limit. That means that every four years you will have $1,000 from the federal government to pay for your training. You… will also be entitled to Employment Insurance benefits for a four-week period, every four years; the time you take off work to go back to school.
I’ll give you a concrete example. Let’s say that you have worked as a welder for 20 years. You have more expertise than the majority of your co-workers; you know how things work; you know everyone, but a number of times, you have been turned down for a promotion because your skills are not up to date. You have already thought about going back to school, but with kids to raise and a mortgage to pay, it’s simply impossible to take time off work. Well, the Canada Workers Benefit changes all that. You would have considerable financial assistance to cover your training costs, and you would be able to count on Employment Insurance to help you make ends meet while you study.
Our objective is to support workers at every stage in their career and ensure that they can make use of the necessary support to succeed. To help our young people get started on the right foot in their careers, we decided to lower the interest rates on loans granted to students and apprentices. And for students just finishing school, they will be able to benefit from a six-month grace period after graduating before interest starts accumulating on their loans. As a result, they will be able to focus on finding a good job rather than worrying about their loans and bursaries.
It is estimated that nearly one million Canadian students can save on average up to $2,000 in the duration of a loan because of these changes. We are also setting the groundwork so that every Canadian student wanting work experience, be it an internship or a co-op program, can do it within ten years. Employers often see this type of experience as an important asset. So, this will help more young people find a good job.
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. The campaign will work to change the perception around careers in the skilled trades and promote their merits. After all, these are good well-paying jobs; jobs that keep our economy running and our communities thriving.
All these measures are aimed at the same objective: to help workers adapt to the changing realities of the labour market and to succeed in the economy of today and tomorrow. And through our plan, I am sure that this objective is within reach. I know that one of the greatest riches that we have in society, in this world, is our young people. That’s you. It’s your ability to innovate, work hard and build a better society in the years to come. And we will continue to invest in you.