Minister highlights new economic measures to help students
Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equity and Youth, Marci Ien, and the Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, Kody Blois, along with Acadia’s President, Dr. Peter Ricketts, and Students’ Union President, Sadie McAlear, met with students at Acadia University on November 9 to discuss the impacts of the recent 2022 Fall Economic Statement.
“Youth are the future,” said Minister Ien as she outlined new measures in the Economic Statement designed to make life more affordable, including permanently eliminating interest on federal student and apprentice loans for current and future graduates.
“I’m sure you’ve all heard a lot of talk about the cost of living going up and inflation taking its toll on your families, but I’m here today to say that we can’t forget about our young people and our students across this country and right here in Nova Scotia,” said Ien.
She explained that half of all post-secondary students in Canada rely on student loans to help them afford the cost of tuition and essentials during their studies. An average student loan borrower will save $410 per year when their loan becomes interest-free.
“This is a major step forward and a permanent change we’re making to make sure that no one is dragged down by debt payments coming out of college or university. Those savings, at that key juncture in students’ lives, can make a world of difference,” she said.
Ien noted that the Government is also moving forward with a plan to make housing more affordable, including helping people save to buy a home and cracking down on house flipping. And it lays out an ambitious plan to strengthen the industry and build a thriving net-zero economy with opportunities and jobs.
Other supports include doubling the GST Credit for 11 million eligible Canadians and enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit to support 4.2 million people.
“When we look at our strong job numbers, our growing economy, and that there are 513,000 more Canadians working today than before COVID first hit, I can say with confidence that there is no better country in the world placed than Canada to weather the global slowdown,” said Ien.
The new measures were welcomed by Sadie McAlear, President of Acadia’s Students’ Union.
“I am so pleased to see wins in student advocacy. This will significantly affect students’ mental health and financial well-being over the long term,” said McAlear, who cited the relief felt by a friend who was coping with the repayment of student loans.
She also applauded a recent Government change that allows international students to work beyond a previous 20-hour-a-week cap.
Ien reassured the students at the announcement that the Government will continue to help Canadians through the projected economic slowdown.
“We can do that because while we are compassionate, we are also fiscally responsible. And yes, we can do both – because we’ve already seen this strategy succeed,” she said.
See the full news release from Employment and Social Development Canada