Budget 2017 makes lifelong learning for a changing job market more affordable

Budget 2017

Government of Canada to expand existing flexibilities within Employment Insurance to support adult learners and create a new organization for skills development

Budget 2017 is the next step in the Government’s long-term plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. Canada is home to a well-educated and highly skilled workforce, but as the demands of the workplace change, so too must the education and skills workers bring to their jobs. The changes in the economy—both here at home and around the world—present incredible opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Today in Toronto, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced Budget 2017 measures that will create opportunities for lifelong learning, so that the next job is also a better job.

Currently, unemployed workers taking self-funded training may become ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits if they are not available to accept work that becomes available. However, without EI benefits, many unemployed Canadians can’t afford to pay the bills and support their families while also pursuing the training they need to improve their skills and find new work.

Budget 2017 will help unemployed adults go back to school while remaining eligible for the EI benefits they need to support themselves and their families. This means greater security for Canadian families when they need help the most and more flexibility to find better jobs through a combination of job search and training while unemployed.

In a spirit of renewed collaboration with the provinces and territories, the Government of Canada is also working with its counterparts, as well as the private sector, educational institutions, and not-for-profits, on a new organization that will:

  • apply evidence to identify the skills sought and required by Canadian employers;
  • explore new and innovative approaches to skills development; and
  • share information and analysis to help inform future evidence-based skills investments and programming.

Details on this new organization will be determined in the coming months.

As part of Canada’s Innovation and Skills plan, Budget 2017 also proposes further measures encouraging lifelong learning by expanding eligibility for post-secondary supports and working with provinces and territories to reform Labour Market Transfer Agreements, which will ensure that more Canadians get the assistance they need to find and keep good jobs in the new economy, and build better lives for themselves and their families.


“Budget 2017 continues our plan to strengthen the middle class—the heart of Canada’s economy. In a job market that’s changing fast, lifelong learning matters. That’s why we’re helping people of all ages develop the skills they’ll need to find and keep good, well-paying jobs.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The IUPAT and Canada’s Building Trades Unions congratulate the federal government on their announcement to provide $132.4 million over the next four years, and then subsequently, an additional $37.9 million thereafter to allow Canadians to pursue self-funded training. We applaud and support the new initiatives the Government is adopting to address skills gaps and support lifelong learning.”
– Robert Bronk, Executive Director, Ontario Industrial and Finishing Skills Centre

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 will help more unemployed adults by providing $132.4 million over four years and $37.9 million per year ongoing to expand flexibilities within the Employment Insurance (EI) program so that eligible claimants can pursue self-funded training and maintain their EI status.
  • The Budget also proposes $225 million over four years and $75 million per year ongoing to create a new organization to support skills development and measurement in Canada.

Photo from: www.dreamstimes.com

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