The Federal government’s Budget 2024 contains a number of investments for young Canadians that take aim at affordability and generational fairness, specifically by targeting programs that serve younger Canadian’s aspirations.

The budget includes measures that will help young people including investments in housing, loan forgiveness for students graduating from specific programs that choose to work in rural and remote communities, and investments in mental health and employment supports for young people.

It also includes investments to support low-income and Indigenous learners; while these investments were smaller than students were hoping for, they are steps in the right direction during a cost-of-living crisis. Students face greater barriers to affordability and need additional support to ensure that marginalized learners who have historically been left behind can continue to access post-secondary education.   

Investments in Post-Secondary Students

Canada Student Grant: To support students directly, the full-time Canada Student Grant will be maintained at $4,200 and will cost roughly $1.1 billion. This is the second year the grant has been extended from the base of $3000. While the extension is appreciated by students who access the grant, it is a far cry from the realities and needs of students today. The British Columbia Federation of Students, along with hundreds of thousands of students across the country, have been calling for the return to the pandemic-era Canada Student Grant amount of $6000, which would better serve and support students through today’s cost of living crisis.

Post-Secondary Student Support Program(PSSSP): To support Indigenous learners across the country, the government has also set aside $242.7 million over three years to increase access to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP). Although this is a sign that the government has recognized the inequities facing First Nations students, it is a drop in the bucket when compared to the investment needed to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners attaining a post-secondary degree. For example, the Association of First Nations (AFN) has called for an immediate investment of $8.68 billion over 5 years into the PSSSP to address the backlog of students waiting to access the program.

Canada Summer Jobs: Students welcome the over $700 million that has been allocated towards youth employment programs, strategies, and supports, such as the Canada Summer Jobs program and the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. These are initiatives that assist young Canadians in developing skills and to gain the experience they need to enter into the labour market. Increasing funding to the Canada Summer Jobs programs will assist students in finding well-paying jobs. However, the program is not without administrative barriers – currently, the program is only accessible to domestic students under the age of 30 who are returning to their studies in the Fall semester, which prevents tens of thousands of students, including mature students, recent graduates, and international students, from accessing this opportunity.

Graduate Student Supports: Innovation and research in our post-secondary institutions are built off the labour of thousands of students who rarely receive proper recognition or compensation. Students are pleased to see that over the next five years, $825 million will increase the annual value of graduate student scholarships to $27,000 for master's students, $40,000 for PhD students, and $70,000 for post-doctoral fellowships. This investment will also provide an additional 1,720 graduate student scholarships and fellowships each year. To ensure research grants remain diverse and well-funded, the government will invest $1.8 billion over five years in core research funding for SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR.

Canada Student Loan Forgiveness: Following the pandemic, the Federal government, along with many provincial counterparts, has provided student loan forgiveness programs to doctors and nurses who choose to provide their service in specific rural and remote communities. With Canada seeing the largest population increase ever and thousands of workers leaving or retiring from their fields, Budget 2024 expands the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness program to critical social and healthcare professions such as dentists, dental hygienists, early childhood educators, pharmacists, midwives, teachers, social workers, personal support workers, physiotherapists, and psychologists.

Investment in Skilled Trades Apprentices: Across the country, there are thousands of skilled trades vacancies that governments and businesses of all levels and sizes are struggling to fill. To help build the hundreds of thousands of units of housing and the infrastructure to service our communities, the federal government has set aside $150 million to support skilled trades apprentices and recruitment as well as foreign credential recognition programs.

Additional Investments to Help Young Canadians

Renter Supports: To help students and tenants, Budget 2024 announced the creation of the Renters’ Bill of Rights, which would introduce a national standard lease agreement and mandate rent transparency. It also provided $15 million to legal aid organisations that support tenants facing renovictions or abuse from landlords and allowed rental payments to be considered in mortgage appraisals.

Youth Mental Health Fund: When post-secondary students are in school, they have access to counselling and other support services, but many students find themselves unable to access on-campus services due to long waitlists, or without these supports once they finish their studies. Through the new Youth Mental Health Fund, the government is investing $500 million to support mental health initiatives and programs throughout our communities that directly serve students and youth.

Other notable measures within the budget that will help students and their families are the introduction of the following:

  • National Pharmacare Plan ($1.5 billion over five years)
  • Canada Disability Benefit ($6.1 billion over six years)
  • National Food School Program (1$ billion over five years)
  • Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund ($8 billion)

Access to post-secondary education is crucial for building a strong economy. Eighty percent of job openings in British Columbia over the next decade will require post-secondary training. Governments need to invest in making education accessible and affordable for all. This will ensure that one’s socioeconomic background is not a barrier to training the doctors, nurses, education, and skilled workers of the future. Building a robust social safety net, as well as investing in young Canadians today, will help ensure our communities, economies, and all people can flourish for generations to come.

The British Columbia Federation of Students looks forward to continuing to voice students' needs to the Federal government and ensuring that work to deliver an affordable, accessible, and equitable post-secondary system for learners in BC and Canada remains a priority.

BC Federation of Students


The BC Federation of Students represents over 170,000 students from 14 institutions across BC. Together these students advocate for affordable + accessible post-secondary education.