OTTAWA (CUP) 8212; Employment growth 8212; including more support for youth seeking jobs 8212; was one of the top priorities in the Conservative government’s 2010 budget released on March 4.
Titled “Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth,” the more-than-400 page document offered $19 billion in stimulus funding to complete the Tories’ economic action plan, which is set to end in March 2011. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty explained the winding down of stimulus spending will help cut the current fiscal year’s $53.8 billion deficit nearly in half by 2012.
“We will have savings of about $17.6 billion over five years,” the minister told reporters prior to his speech in the House of Commons. “That aids us to be very close to balance in 2014-15.”
In order to incur smaller deficits without raising taxes, however, cuts in government spending had to be made.
“This is a tough budget. . . . Some very difficult decisions have been made,” Flaherty said. “Most of the answers to requests for funding were “No.'”
Despite the announcement of limited spending, Canadian students will be able to benefit from some employment- and education-related funding. A one-year increase of $30 million for youth internships is set to take effect this year, along with another $30 million for programs aimed at helping young immigrants, aboriginal Canadians, and single parents gain work experience.
In terms of colleges and universities, $20 million has been earmarked for increasing accessibility to post-secondary education over the next several years and a total of $64 million will be funneled into Canada’s research-granting councils between now and 2012.
Further support was mentioned in a vague “new approach” the government plans to take in terms of post-secondary education funding for aboriginal students, which will apparently be “co-ordinated with other federal student support programs.”
Few changes to income tax breaks were announced, though students in research-only programs and receiving post-doctoral fellowships will no longer be eligible for the Scholarship Exemption and Education Tax Credit.
*Look for full coverage on the 2010 federal budget on Friday, March 5.*