Supporting the Next Generation of Middle Class Workers

News release

Modernized Strategy Will Serve Young Canadians Facing Barriers to Employment

June 6, 2019              Ottawa, Ontario              
Employment and Social Development Canada

Canada’s continued prosperity depends on young Canadians launching meaningful careers. By helping them gain the skills and experience they need for a fair chance at success, we are investing in our greatest asset—our people.

The Government of Canada is committed to helping young Canadians get the jobs they need to succeed now and into the future.  Since November 2015 Canadians have created almost 100,000 new jobs for young Canadians.  The Government has made significant investments in Budget 2016 in the Canada Summer Jobs program and continued these investments through the following investments.

Today the Honourable Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families Children and Social Development announced the new Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) that builds on this success.  The modernized YESS, will provide more flexible employment services and enhanced supports for all young Canadians. It will help youth develop the skills and gain the experience they need to successfully transition into the labour market and ensure that no one is left behind.

While at the Youth Now Farm, Minister Duclos also reiterated the Call for Proposals for Employment and Social Development funding under the YESS from organizations that help young people overcome barriers to employment. The Call will be open until July 26, 2019.


“The new Youth Employment and Skills Strategy builds on the success of the Youth Employment Strategy to support the next generation of the middle class. The new Strategy will make it easier for young people to transition from the classroom to the workforce, including those facing barriers. It is part of our plan to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at success.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“Young Canadians are talented, ambitious and hard-working, but getting a strong start in the workforce can be challenging for many. The modernized YESS ensures that we are better able to support youth facing barriers to employment and grow the middle class.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"The Youth Now Farm shares the Government of Canada's commitment to youth and is dedicated to giving them opportunities to develop skills, engage and find support on their path to employment. Not only do projects like these support Canada's young people, but they help build our communities too."
–Mark Arnold, Executive Director, Youth Now Farm

Quick facts

  • The Youth Now Farm offers fresh, local produce underscored by a direct, genuine human connection between youth and customers. It exists for the sole mission of doing social good for underprivileged youth.

  • The YESS has been modernized to respond to recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Youth Employment to deliver a wider range of programs to help youth overcome barriers to employment and gain the skills, abilities and work experience needed to get a strong start in their careers. The modernized strategy will aim to offer more flexible services, broadened eligibility, and enhanced supports for youth facing barriers to employment tailored to address each individual’s challenges.

  • Under the YESS, ESDC will launch a Call for Proposals for funding for 2020-2021 from organizations that help young people overcome barriers to employment. The Call will be open from June 3 to July 26, 2019. Projects can be either national or regional in scope and may start as early as April 1, 2020.

    • National: Project activities must take place in three or more provinces or territories.
    • Regional: Project activities can be provincial, territorial, or local in scope, but are limited to one province or territory.
  • Organizations are strongly encouraged to open an account on the secure Government Grants and Contributions Online Service portal, a one-time process that will allow them to apply for this and other funding opportunities across Employment and Social Development Canada.

  • The previous streams of YES, Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience have been integrated together to create a more holistic approach to funding and service delivery. The Canada Summer Jobs program has expanded eligibility to all youth aged 15-30—no longer restricting the program to just students.

  • To help youth people gain the skills and work they need to find and maintain good employment, Budget 2019 proposes to build on previous investments to invest an additional $49.5 million over five years to launch a modernized Youth Employment Strategy. Through Budget 2018, the government is providing an additional $448.5 million over five years starting in 2018–19, to modernize the strategy, as well as to continue providing more Canada Summer Jobs in summer 2019.

Associated links


Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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