Some Help For Students In Federal Budget

federal budget

Elements of the 2019 federal (Liberal) budget, introduced in the House of Commons on March 19, that may be of interest to postsecondary students:

From the Ministry of Finance

The Government of Canada proposes to:  

• Help workers gain new skills with the creation of the new Canada Training Benefit, that will give workers money to help pay for training, provide income support during training, and, with the cooperation of the provinces and territories, offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to keep their skills relevant and in-demand.

• Prepare young Canadians for good jobs by helping make education more affordable through lowered interest rates on Canada Student Loans, making the six-month grace period interest-free after a student loan borrower leaves school, and creating up to 84,000 new student work placements per year by 2023-24.

• Give all Canadians access to high-speed internet so all Canadian homes and businesses have access to 50 Mbps high-speed internet no matter where they live — including people and businesses in rural, remote and northern communities.

More details at

From Colleges and Institutes Canada

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is pleased to see that the federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau includes significant new investments in skills training to help Canadians keep their skills current as the needs of the workplace evolve.   

“We are very pleased to see that the government recognizes the importance of investing in the skills needs of tomorrow,” said CICan President and CEO Denise Amyot. “This budget will help foster a culture of lifelong learning, supporting Canadians as they prepare for the future of work. Initiatives such as the Canada Training Benefit, the expansion of work-integrated learning opportunities, a new outbound student mobility program, support for Indigenous learners, and other important measures will help all Canadians acquire the skills they need to enter the workplace with confidence, and update their skills to be more resilient in the face of disruption. Colleges and institutes were created to respond to the needs of employers and learners, and are eager to work with all stakeholders to deliver for Canadians.” 

Colleges and institutes from across the country have been calling on the federal government to develop a national skills and lifelong–learning strategy and are pleased that a significant step was taken with the creation of the Canada Training Credit and the Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit. These programs will make continuing education and reskilling more accessible to adult learners facing uncertainty in their workplace. As the main providers of skills training with strong industry connections, colleges and institutes are ready to support Canadians on this journey. 

Colleges and institutes are also very pleased to see the government will invest $798.2 million over five years in work-integrated learning by expanding the Student Work Placement Program, investing in additional placement opportunities, and partnering with the Business/Higher Education Roundtable to support up to 84,000 new work placements per year by 2023-24 for postsecondary students across Canada. 

The budget includes an important investment of $147.9 million over five years to develop a new International Education Strategy, which includes a ground-breaking commitment to an outbound student mobility program. Preparing Canadians with the intercultural skills to compete in a global marketplace is imperative to their personal career growth and Canada’s economic success. Added investments to promote the merits of Canadian education will help strengthen the country’s position as a top-tier study destination.  

Additionally, a promise to improve access to broadband connectivity across the country, and especially in isolated communities will boost economic development at the local level. Access to the internet and cutting–edge digital technology is essential, particularly for the rural and remote communities our members serve, to prepare students for the realities of today’s marketplace.   

CICan is also pleased to see the federal government’s continued commitment to increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners. The renewal of the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for First Nations students and new targeted investments for Inuit– and Métis–led strategies, as well as additional funding for Indspire, will provide much needed support. As the main providers of postsecondary education among Indigenous communities, colleges and institutes have a critical role to play and look forward to engaging with all stakeholders. 

Though this budget continues to support innovation, it was lacking in new measures for applied research at colleges and institutes. CICan will continue to press for additional research support to provide the innovation skills that today’s learners need, including up-to-date learning facilities and a stable enabling environment for applied research. 

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190 billion to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.