Supporting equity in access to learning opportunities for young Canadians

News release

April 13, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the everyday lives of Canadians, particularly young people who are facing unprecedented challenges, with fewer jobs, disruptions in their studies and overall uncertainty of the future.

Building a stronger Canada for generations to come depends on young people getting the right education, the right experience and the right job opportunities. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting youth-serving organizations, including those that focus on youth facing barriers to education and learning.

Today, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough, along with the President and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Teresa Marques, announced $6.3 million in funding from the Government of Canada for the Rideau Hall Foundation’s new Catapult Canada Access Innovation Fund (CCAIF).

The CCAIF is a three-year project that will fund community-based organizations to improve educational outcomes for youth through innovative approaches. Funded projects will focus on how young people learn, how they engage at school and the tools they use to learn.

For example, Northern Youth Abroad will receive funding to implement a pilot project that will connect over 20 Indigenous students from across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon to learning opportunities, as well as academic and other supports at Camosun College in British Columbia.

Funding for the CCAIF is being provided through Goal Getters, a stream of funding under the Government of Canada’s modernized Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. Through Goal Getters, the Government of Canada partners with community organizations to support youth facing barriers so they can complete high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education and/or employment.


“Through this investment in Catapult Canada’s Access Innovation Fund, up to 7,500 young Canadians will receive the support they need to complete high school or post-secondary education. Canada’s prosperity depends on our young people reaching their full potential. When we set them up for success, all Canadians benefit.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“The Rideau Hall Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the Government of Canada on Catapult Canada’s Access Innovation Fund. The ultimate goal is to support young people across the country to access learning opportunities, in whichever form they choose, in their communities.”
– President and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Teresa Marques

Quick facts

  • The CCAIF is designed to be flexible and responsive, and to quickly deliver resources to youth-serving organizations that are starting or scaling up new learning projects.

  • Under the modernized Youth Employment and Skills Strategy announced in 2019, the Government of Canada has allocated $9 million per year for five years to support Goal Getters projects as part of a suite of learning supports for youth.

  • Goal Getters is designed to partner with a broad range of national, regional and community organizations to reach youth facing barriers to education and provide them with the comprehensive, wrap-around supports they need to improve their educational outcomes, complete school and access post-secondary education.

  • The Government of Canada supports students in their academic careers through a continuum of supports. This includes the Canada Education Savings Program, the Canada Student Loans Program, and funding for both Goal Getters and the Supports for Student Learning Program which includes support to Indspire and Pathways to Education Canada. Together, these programs help Canadians to complete high school, and provide students with the financial means to pursue post-secondary education through education savings incentives, grants, and loans.

  • To support youth affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced over $9 billion to support students and new grads affected by COVID-19. The goal of these initiatives was to offer income replacement, reduce financial obligations, provide skills development and work experience. Included in this announcement was:

    • $15 million for the Supports for Student Learning Program to help youth-serving organizations adapt their programming to online service delivery and address the lack of access to technology and internet, reaching over 14,700 students; and
    • increased funding by up to $187.7 million to the YESS program to create 9,500 more work opportunities for young Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to employment. YESS projects managed by ESDC received up to $40 million for national programs that are providing flexible supports and targeted job opportunities for up to 4,700 youth aged 15 to 30, in the areas of social support services, transport, information technology, research and administration, and other placements that support community needs.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Allison MacLachlan
Director, External Relations and Public Engagement
Rideau Hall Foundation

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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