Hounourable Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Carla Qualtrough sits with invited guests and students following her announcement at Sprott Shaw College in Penticton. Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class, is kickstarting a training benefit for working Canadians. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

Okanagan stop for Qualtrough includes student funding

Minister of Public Service outlined the new program at Penticton’s Sprott Shaw College

Students and working Canadians will recieve more financial aid thanks to the Investing in Canadians initiative part of the 2019 federal budget.

Honourable Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility Carla Qualtrough visited Sprott Shaw College’s Penticton campus to highlight a new federal program that will assist students in attaining future training further into their career.

“We know that the nature of work is evolving. That means people may change work many times over the course of their working lives, and may require new careers to keep their jobs in the changing economy,” said Qualtrough. “For working Canadians, this present a new challenge – how to get the training they need to keep existing jobs that prepare for new ones.”

Kayla Hanak, a student in the health care assistant program at Penticton’s Sprott Shaw campus, said she’s excited about this new program as she recognizes she may need to receive further training once she graduates in October.

READ ALSO: South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

“This is definitely a priority for me because I will definitely use (this type of program) in the future,” said Hanak. “I’ll be fresh out of school and I’ll have a good handle on skills that I need. But let’s say 10 years from now, things are rapidly changing, I may need to get new training.”

Qualtrough said Budget 2019 introduces a new tool called the Canada training benefit, which “will provide working Canadians with a non-taxable training credit of $250 per year, up to $5,000 over their career.”

“It also includes a training support benefit operated through employment insurance. This means that workers can take the time they need to learn new skills, knowing they’ve got help to cover living expenses and meet their family’s needs,” said Qualtrough. “Taken together, this now means working Canadians can now get four weeks of training every four years, and get up to $1,000 to help pay for the training and cost to cover lost income.

Qualtrough said the government also intends to move forward on leave provisions so that “workers can take time away for training and know they’ll have a job to come back to at the end.” Budget 2019 also promises to create up to 84,000 new student work placements per year by 2023 to 2024.

“So this year, employees will accumulate the $250 this year if they’re contributing to EI. Cashing that in, for lack of a better way of putting it, can start next year,” said Qualtrough. “So next year if you want to take a week off and use $250 towards training, that’s captured next year and it just kind of rolls out of over the next four years, until you hit the four weeks.

READ ALSO: 2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

“So four years from now you could use $1,000, you can use $250 next year and over your lifetime you can use up to $5,000. So if you imagine a 20-year period, every four years you can take $1,000 towards training.”

Qualtrough noted that this benefit does not necessarily just help young students and workers, as those already well into their careers can take advantage of the credit to stay up to date with training.

“Work is changing, we have a situation where workers will need to be skilled differently and on an ongoing basis if we’re going to stay as competitive as we are today. We also know the kind of work we do now, that job may not look the same in 10 years,” said Qualtrough. “So for someone who is in their mid-50s who wants to stay in the workforce for the next 10 or 15 years, by choice or by necessity, they’ll be able to access a different kind of training opportunity … it’s really important for people who want to stay on the cutting edge.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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