Backgrounder - Youth Employment Strategy


The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help Canada’s newest workers get a strong start to their careers. The YES is delivered by 11 federal departments and agencies and helps young people between the ages of 15 and 30 get  the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workforce. The YES has three complementary program streams: Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience.

Skills Link helps young people facing barriers to employment—including single parents, youth with disabilities, young newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas—to develop the skills and gain the experience they need to get a job and/or go back to school.

Career Focus helps post-secondary graduates find jobs through paid internships and helps provide youth with the information and experience they need to make informed career decisions, find a job and/or pursue advanced studies.

Summer Work Experience provides wage subsidies to employers to create summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students. The Summer Work Experience program includes Canada Summer Jobs. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.

Each year, the Government invests over $330 million in the YES.To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, Budget 2017 provided an additional $395.5 million over three years, starting in 2017–18. Combined with Budget 2016 measures, these investments are: 

  • creating new green jobs for young Canadians in sectors such as agriculture and renewable energy;
  • helping more youth develop the skills they need to find work or go back to school; and
  • supporting employment opportunities in the heritage sector under the Young Canada Works program.

In Budget 2018, the Government announced an additional $448.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to the Youth Employment Strategy. This funding will support the continued increase of the number of job placements funded under the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2019-20 and provide additional resources for a modernized Youth Employment Strategy in the following years, building on the input of the Expert Panel on Youth Employment. A renewed Youth Employment Strategy will be announced over the course of the next year.

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