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Feds supports changes for students in new federal budget

March 22nd, 2016

The Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo is supportive of the new changes for youth employment and financial aid outlined in the first federal budget. The budget was released on March 22, 2016.

“This is very beneficial for students, and it is great to see this government make a $73 million investment over the next four years into co-operative education and internships,” said Stephane Hamade, vice-president, education for Feds. “Students at the University of Waterloo, especially, know how valuable co-op is. It provides you with the opportunity to develop skills in a professional environment. Advocating for this has been a priority for over a year.”

Students and recent graduates have cited opportunities in the labour-market as a concern. According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for the 15- to 24-year-old group was 13 percent in January 2016, while the unemployment rate was nearly half that amount for the rest of the population. The cost of post-secondary education is also rising, and students often need more funding than what is available to them from loans.

In response to concerns from students at the University of Waterloo, Feds created its 2016 pre-budget submissions with these recommendations:

1.     Funding to enhance career skills training and job placement activities for all students.

2.     Implement the commitment to invest $40 million to fund co-op placement for STEM and Business students.

3.     Invest additional funds to incentivize SMEs to hire non-STEM and Business students.                  

4.     Increasing the weekly CLSP amount limits from $210 to $250 and indexing it to CPI to take into account of increasing costs of attaining a degree.

The new federal budget will provide a loan repayment threshold of $25,000 under a Repayment Assistance Plan. The government also pledged to increase Canada Student Grants for low-income students to $3,000 a year for those in full-time studies and $1,800 for those in part-time studies to provide more non-repayable grant assistance.

An additional $73 million a year will help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, engineering, technology, math and business, as recommended by Feds.

"We are delighted to see our advocacy efforts come to fruition,” said Hamade. “Feds will continue to advocate to expand co-op to the social sciences, humanities,and arts. The student union looks forward to the benefits this will have for students in Waterloo region and across Canada."

About the Federation of Students

Since 1967, the Federation of Students (Feds) has been the voice of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. Feds undertakes initiatives both on and off campus to serve, empower and represent students. Feds operates seven commercial services, nine student-run services, oversees over 200 student clubs and societies and Orientation Week. For more information, please visit