March 20, 2019

UCalgary welcomes federal government's investment in skills and training

Budget 2019 supports work-integrated learning, international mobility, graduate student support, and Indigenous education initiatives
The Government of Canada unveiled Budget 2019 on March 19.

The Government of Canada unveiled Budget 2019 on March 19.

Flickr file photo by joiseyshowaa published under Creative Commons licence

A focus on skills and training in Budget 2019 recognizes that universities are key to helping Canadians acquire new skills and, over the long term, providing them with the best opportunity to adapt to the new labour requirements of the future. The Honourable Bill Morneau, Canada’s minister of finance, also solidified the government’s continued support of fundamental science and research.

“We thank the federal government for its commitment to improving the skills of Canadians, including Work-Integrated Learning, international experience, Indigenous education, increased graduate student support, and its continued substantial investment in fundamental science,” said Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Calgary.

The government announced approximately $800 million in funding for Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) — a commitment to strengthen student skills by exposing them to meaningful work experiences as an integral part of their educational programs. In partnership with the Business/Higher Education Roundtable, the funding will support 84,000 new placements annually by 2023-24. This meets the goal of achieving 100-per-cent attainment for WIL opportunities for interested post-secondary students.

“Work-integrated learning exemplifies how Canadian companies and universities succeed together to maximize the potential of graduates in the Canadian workforce,” McCauley said. “Students enhance their academic knowledge with the skills they learn through work-integrated learning opportunities. WIL supports academic success and strengthens employability upon graduation. Companies benefit from fostering relationships with potential new employees essential for tackling today’s challenges and finding tomorrow’s solutions.”

The government’s investment of $1.7 billion over five years in Lifelong Learning – The Canada Training Benefit will help Canadians with the cost of training fees, and a new Employment Insurance (EI) Training Support Benefit to provide income support when an individual requires time to take off work.

“Our nation succeeds when Canadians upskill or reskill and go on to work in the jobs of the future, establish innovative companies, and solve societal challenges through research — and universities, including the University of Calgary — are the location of choice for Canadians choosing to improve their skills or acquire new ones,” McCauley said.

UCalgary also welcomes the government’s commitment of $114 million to enhance graduate student scholarships and fellowships, establishing 500 new master’s-level awards and 167 doctoral awards. The government also announced its intention to develop and fund an international education strategy, with the goal of increasing inbound and outbound student mobility.

Continued investments of $327 million over five years for Indigenous student programs allow important increased opportunities and supports for education.

In addition, the government’s new and significant investment in key areas of university engaged research and science — including cancer, brain, genome, space, arctic, and cyber-security — will help the University of Calgary attract leading academic talent and educate the leaders of tomorrow. This will support discoveries that improve the quality of life for all Canadians. A $100-million investment in the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) will contribute to research, development and adoption of innovative technologies and processes in Canada’s energy sector.

“Investments in scientific research help to contribute to the overall improvement in the quality of life of all Canadians, and drive economic growth by giving Canadians the skills they need to succeed. International experience, and increased graduate student support are also part of strong fundamental research ecosystems that help to underpin all advanced knowledge economies,” McCauley said.