Backgrounder: Skills Boost

Backgrounder

On January 24, 2018, the Government of Canada launched Skills Boost, a new plan to give adult learners the support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Budget 2017: Skills Boost

Budget 2017 introduced measures to provide enhanced student financial assistance and make better use of Employment Insurance flexibilities targeted to working or unemployed Canadians looking to return to school to upgrade their skills. Together these initiatives comprise Skills Boost.

Student financial assistance measures

To further enhance the supports available to Canadians the Government of Canada is investing $443 million over four years. Skills Boost includes several measures announced in Budget 2017 that will be available for the 2018–19 school year, including a $275.8 million pilot project over three years.

The Skills Boost pilot offers a possible $1,600 more in grants per school year ($200 per month) to low- and middle-income Canadians who are eligible for the Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students and who have been out of high school for at least 10 years. Under the pilot there is also flexibility to assess Canada Student Grant eligibility based on current income, rather than last year’s income, to recognize a significant change in financial circumstances.

Additional supports include:

  • Access to Canada Student Grants has expanded for full- and part-time students and students with dependent children
    • Part-time students with children can receive up to $1,920 per year in grants.
    • Eligible full-time students with children can receive up to $200 per month per child.

  • Eligibility for Canada Student Grants and Loans for part-time students from low- or middle-income families has also been expanded.
    • More part-time students can receive up to $1,800 in grants.
    • More part-time students can receive up to $10,000 in loans.

Employment Insurance measures

Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who lose their job through no fault of their own (for example, due to a shortage of work) and are available for and searching for work, but cannot find a job.

Under existing rules, EI claimants can take self-funded training and receive EI benefits when they continue to search and be available for work. They may also be referred to full-time training by designated authorities (i.e. provinces, territories or Indigenous organizations) and continue to receive EI benefits. This referred training may be self-funded or paid for by the designated authority.

The new measure allows eligible EI claimants who have lost their job after several years in the workforce to ask Service Canada for permission to continue receiving EI benefits when taking a full-time course or training program at an approved institution after August 5, 2018.


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