Eliminating Barriers to Retraining

Executive Summary

With Canada’s fragile economic recovery ongoing the need for individuals to quickly gain
access to knowledge and skills is essential. In this context, government needs to take
immediate action to eliminate barriers to retraining while ensuring all Canadians have an
equal opportunity to find stable and meaningful employment. The federal government should
take an active approach to improve financial assistance in a targeted way that helps those who
need it most.

Canada’s students recognize the value of a financial aid system that effectively addresses the
needs of all who want to get an education and improve their skills. A highly educated
population opens opportunities for individuals to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s
labour force on a path to financial independence. CASA believes that nobody should have to
put their savings, assets, or retirement on the line if they need help to get the skills employers
are looking for.

Read the full submission here

It is expected that there will only be two people of working age for every senior in Canada by
2056. (Statistics Canada) This means that every individual will have to be more productive in
the years to come to continue the economic growth that affords Canadians a high quality of
life. Further, it is expected that the growth of the knowledge economy will mean that 70% of
new jobs will require a post-secondary education. (Canadian Council on Learning) It is clear
that, for the most sustainable economic recovery, getting people back to work will mean
getting people back to school. CASA is calling on the federal government to make this a reality
and to eliminate barriers to retraining in the 2014 federal budget.

The federal government must remove employment penalties for working students. Budget
2014 should invest to completely exempt in-study income from the assessment criteria of the
Canada Student Loans Program

The federal government should encourage good financial planning and prioritize retraining by
amending the Canada Student Loans Program assessment of borrower assets to increase
allowable limits to RRSP contributions and exempt $10 000 in personally held financial assets.

The federal government ensure the Canada Student Loans Program meets the needs of
students by increasing the weekly loan limit amounts from $210 to $245 per week.