Budget 2019: making life more affordable for Canadians

News release

Moving forward on implementing national pharmacare and helping Canadians find and keep good jobs

March 28, 2019 – Kingston, Ontario

Nearly four years ago, Canadians chose a plan to invest in the middle class and offer real help to people working hard to join it. Since then, hard-working Canadians have proven what we have known for a long time: a strong economy starts with a strong middle class.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, was in Kingston, Ontario, to highlight investments the Government is making through Budget 2019: Investing in the Middle Class. The Budget details how the Government is making sure all Canadians benefit from Canada’s economic growth. That includes helping more Canadians find an affordable home, prepare for well-paying jobs, retire with confidence and get prescription drugs when they need them.

Speaking to nursing and health care students at St. Lawrence College, Minister Bains discussed how the Government is helping Canadians access and afford the prescription drugs they need. He also highlighted how the Government is helping Canadians find and keep good jobs in a rapidly changing job market and an increasingly competitive global economy.

Through Budget 2019, the Government of Canada proposes to:

  • help lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians by taking steps toward a national pharmacare plan, starting with creating a Canadian Drug Agency that could lower Canadians’ drug costs by as much as $3 billion per year. The Government is also looking at developing a national formulary for prescription drugs and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases;
  • make post-secondary education more affordable by lowering interest rates on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans and making the six-month grace period interest-free after a student loan borrower leaves school;
  • provide more on-the-job learning to young Canadians by creating up to 84,000 new student work placements per year by 2023–24, a significant step toward making sure every student who wants to gain relevant, real-world experience can find a work placement; and
  • help workers gain new skills through the creation of the Canada Training Benefit, which will give workers money to help pay for training, provide four weeks of income support during training every four years, and introduce measures for job protection.


“Budget 2019 is the next step in our government’s plan to strengthen Canada’s economy and keep it growing and make life more affordable for Canadians. By implementing a national pharmacare program, we are making sure Canadians don’t have to choose between food and the medicine they need. Our investments will also ensure Canadians have the education, skills and experience they need to find and keep the good jobs of the future.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Government makes significant investments in skills development—close to $7.5 billion annually. Almost $3 billion of this programming is delivered in partnership with the provinces, territories and Indigenous groups, and it targets students and unemployed Canadians.

  • In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare to lead a national dialogue on how best to implement national pharmacare in a manner that is affordable for Canadians and their employers.

  • The Council has engaged thousands of Canadians from across the country through stakeholder roundtables, targeted engagement sessions and community town halls. Groups consulted include patients and caregivers, health care providers, representatives of Indigenous organizations, government officials, industry, labour, employers, and academics.

  • The Advisory Council provided preliminary recommendations to the Government of Canada in its interim report, released on March 6, 2019.

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Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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