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Going back to school is now more affordable thanks to Skills Boost

by pmnationtalk on September 13, 2018185 Views

Government of Canada meeting the unique needs of adult learners looking to upgrade skills

September 13, 2018    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Employment and Social Development Canada

Innovation is changing how we live and work, bringing with it new challenges and new opportunities for working Canadians. When more Canadians can afford to go back to school to upgrade their skills or even pursue new careers, our middle class becomes stronger and more resilient.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan today to highlight Skills Boost which is a plan that gives adult learners the support they need for a fair chance at success in the workforce.

The three-year, $275.7-million Skills Boost pilot project will put going back to school well within reach for more Canadians per year, most notably through expanded access to a new $1600-per-year Canada Student Grant and new flexibilities for Employment Insurance. To date, more than 28,000 adult learners have received the top-up grant funding, for a total of $22 million.

This program also supports Canadians who find themselves out of work and want to go back to school. Today, if an unemployed worker is receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, they may lose their eligibility for those benefits if they return to school or undertake training. As of this fall, an unemployed person will be able to go back to school to get the training they need to find a new job—without fear of losing the EI benefits they needs to pay rent and buy groceries.


“As an adult learner myself, who went back to school as a single mom of two children, I know that adult learners can face challenges to pursuing post-secondary education—not only because of the cost of education itself but also because of the financial pressures and time constraints of supporting our families. Our government has Canadians covered—whether they are going to college or university for the first time, returning to school or upgrading their skills – programs like Skills Boost will ensure they have a fair chance at success.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts

  • The pilot project top-up grant funding will be prorated based on the length of the study period. For example, those registered for an eight-month school year will receive $1,600, while those registered for a 12-month school year will receive $2,400. This funding will be provided on top of any other grants the student qualifies for.
  • Using a working or newly unemployed Canadian’s current income rather than the previous year’s earnings means they could become eligible for income-tested Canada Student Grants, including up to $3,000 for the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students as well as the top-up funding.
  • To receive Canada Student Grants, students must apply to their province or territory of residence to receive financial assistance for the 2018–19 school year.
  • The top-up funding is available to full-time students pursuing an undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma of at least two years in duration at a designated post-secondary institution who have been out of high school for at least 10 years.

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Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada


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