Government of Canada marks World Youth Skills Day with major investments in skills and innovation projects

News release

July 13, 2022              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada 

Young people and students have a pivotal role to play in Canada’s economic recovery and future growth. In the run-up to World Youth Skills Day on July 15, the Government of Canada is highlighting the importance of equipping young people with the skills they need and remains committed to helping them gain relevant experience for an evolving job market.

Today, Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, on behalf of Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced significant investments to help provide youth and post-secondary students with innovative skills training and learning opportunities over this summer and in upcoming years.

In the spirit of World Youth Skills Day and this year’s theme, “Transforming Youth Skills for the Future,” the Minister highlighted investments that are helping to provide innovative skills training and learning opportunities to tens of thousands of youth and students.

MP Zahid made the announcement at the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, where she highlighted $1.7 million in funding for their project called From Neet to EET 2.0. Funded through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program, this project will help Black youth join the workforce by offering skills training, job placements and career coaching with a focus on digital technology. More than 165 job placements for youth will be created through this program.

MP Zahid was also joined by representatives from Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, a long-standing Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiative organization that is paving the way by providing innovative work opportunities.

The investments highlighted today include:

·        Nearly $150 million through the Student Work Placement Program’s I-WIL Initiative, which will help to create more than 55,000 valuable and relevant short-term, technology-assisted work experience opportunities for post-secondary students across Canada.  

·        Over $11.6 million through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy for innovative job training programs that will help support and serve up to 1,000 youth. These opportunities are allowing young people to gain experience and skills for in-demand jobs in the fields of virtual reality and information technology.

Today’s announcement builds on the Government’s ongoing actions to help young Canadians and students adapt to the demands of an evolving workforce and move forward from the impacts of the pandemic.


“Skills development early on in a young person’s life can go a long way. To build the foundation for a successful career, we need to actively ensure that young Canadians and students have the relevant skills and experience in areas that they are passionate about. The investments that we announced today leading up to World Youth Skills Day will help tens of thousands of young Canadians and students set their career goals, leading to lasting positive change for communities from coast to coast to coast.”

– Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth 

“To bolster Canada’s economic recovery, we must ensure that the next generation of workers have access to the tools, opportunities and relevant skills they need to build successful careers. With investments such as these, the Government of Canada is demonstrating how it is helping young people and students across the country gain the relevant skills they need for the future.”

– Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre 

“CEE is creating a talent pool of young Black professionals that will positively impact the Canadian economy.” 

- Agapi Gessesse, Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals

 “Since its creation, the iHub team has done a remarkable job. Beyond the services provided to nearly 15,000 students, we were struck by the countless inspiring stories that came our way about how these investments have broken down barriers and increased access to work-integrated learning opportunities for students. As a leader in work-integrated learning in Canada, CEWIL is honoured to pursue this important work and to expand and support work-integrated learning possibilities for students.”

– Charlene Marion, Director, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada 

“The pandemic and the evolving labour market have continued to call upon us all to think outside the box in providing work-integrated learning in ways that students gain experience they need to be successful in employment, while fulfilling academic requirements for graduation. Inspiring innovation in work-integrated learning creates wider access to quality work-integrated learning and responds to changing needs of students, post-secondary institutions and industry. CEWIL is dedicated to advancing quality work-integrated learning, and this partnership ensures we can continue to build on this momentum and expand Canada’s capacity for exceptional work-integrated learning.”

– Dr. Matthew Rempel, President, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada

Quick facts

  • On July 15, 2022, Canada will celebrate World Youth Skills Day, a day to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. This year’s theme, “Transforming Youth Skills for the Future,” was chosen to bring attention to the ways in which young people are able to quickly adapt to the demands of an ever-changing world.

  • Budget 2021 funded approximately 500,000 new job and training opportunities for workers over the coming years—including a historic investment of over $5.7 billion in the next five years to create 215,000 new opportunities for youth. Altogether, the Government of Canada’s response to the pandemic represents one of the largest youth support packages in the world.

  • Youth (15 to 24) were hard hit by pandemic-related job losses, and their unemployment rate rose significantly, reaching a record high of 28.8% in May 2020. In June 2022, the youth employment rate (58.5%) was on par (+0.4 percentage points) with its pre-pandemic rate in February 2020, while the unemployment rate edged down to 9.2%, dipping below (-1.4 percentage points) the pre-pandemic rate and reaching a historical low since data was first collected in 1976. In June 2022, conditions continued to be favourable for students in the summer job market. Just over half (53.2%) of returning students aged 15 to 24 (those intending to return to school in September) were employed, higher than before the pandemic in June 2019 (51.2%).

  • The Government of Canada continues to lead on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the United Nations to help build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities that leave no one behind. This announcement supports Canada’s commitment to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. It also supports Canada’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable economic growth as well as full and productive employment, which falls under Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

  • The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy also delivers the Government of Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program, which provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment opportunities for youth. The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals successfully received funding through CSJ 2022 application period to create more than 15 quality CSJ placements in areas such as program administration, social media, community service and educational administrator. 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Johise Namwira
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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