While the provincial party leaders squabble over the budget, here's what's at stake for Ontario's younger residents.
While a lot of the chatter about the draft budget released by the Liberals today will be on reducing auto insurance rates by 15 per cent or Andrea Horwath’s desire to have “conversations with Ontarians,” there are also some proposals that will impact young Torontonians. Two, in particular, are worth noting:
A youth jobs strategy
One of the highlights of the Liberal budget, this part of the budget promises to, “promote employment opportunities, entrepreneurship, and innovation for youth in Ontario.”
At $295 million over two years, the investment is significant. Among the programs the jobs strategy would fund initiatives regarding entrepreneurship and innovation, but the most significant one—$195 million of the total—is an employment fund. This would promote youth employment through wage subsidies, provide advances on capital investment (such as helping recipients purchase tools and equipment they might need for work), and fund job and skills training. Other aspects of the jobs strategy include seed capital for start-ups, mentorship to connect youth to established business leaders, and high school jobs outreach.
Summer help for struggling students
A much smaller note in the budget, this is a proposed $12.6 million expansion to existing summer learning programs. The program aims to give academic support in the summer months to students in low-income communities to combat the “learning loss” phenomenon—the loss of academic skills students can experience when they aren’t in school and don’t have extra-curricular activities that help them maintain skills like reading and arithmetic.