Budget 2019 includes benefits for worker training and skills development
March 20, 2019 – The federal government released its annual budget yesterday, which includes a potential benefit to help workers train and upgrade their skills.
The Canada Training Benefit was one of the announcements made by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in the Liberal government’s budget, which would include an investment of more than $1.7 billion over five years – starting in 2019-20, after the federal election this fall – and $586.5 million per year ongoing.
The three-pronged program would include a non-taxable training credit, income support during training and job protection for workers absent from their jobs because of training.
The Canada Training Credit is the broadest part of the benefit, applying to eligible workers between the ages of 25 and 64 who are earning at least $10,000 per year to a maximum of $150,000. Each year, the worker would accumulate a credit balance at a rate of $250 per year, up to a lifetime limit of $5,000. The credit could then be used to cover half the costs of a course or training program.
For example, a worker could accumulate their training credit balance for four years to have $1,000 to claim against training or tuition fees of $2,000 or more from colleges, universities and eligible institutions.
A new benefit for employment insurance (EI) training support, expected to launch in late 2020, would provide workers with up to four weeks of income support at 55 per cent of average weekly earnings while they are on training leave and not receiving their regular paycheque.
Workers would need to accumulate 600 hours of insurable employment in a qualifying period to be eligible, and would have four years to use the EI benefit.
Part of the EI benefit would also include a rebate for small businesses that are employing the workers on training leave.
Morneau also announced leave provisions to protect workers while they are away from their jobs for training.
The government says it plans to consult with provincial and territorial governments on finalizing the training benefit plan.
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