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Rusnak Around the Riding: Back to school

This month students from across Thunder-Bay Rainy River are heading back to school.

This month students from across Thunder-Bay Rainy River are heading back to school. Whether you’re starting Junior Kindergarten or Grade 12, I wish all of you an enjoyable and successful year!

Supporting educators and post-secondary institutions, and making Canada’s world class education system even better, is a priority for this government. We’re providing teachers and early childhood educators with a tax rebate for school supplies like books, pens and pencils, and notepads. The Educator School Supply Tax Credit allows teachers to claim a 15 per cent refundable tax credit on up to $1,000 worth of school supplies each year.

We’ve also invested in 300 universities and colleges across Canada, including Thunder Bay-Rainy River’s Confederation College, to help build new classrooms, research labs, learning centres, and libraries. Once complete, Confederation College’s TEC Hub will feature 45,000 square feet of research, incubation and technology transfer services. This will support our region’s growing advanced manufacturing, technology and resource sectors. The TEC Hub will contain the latest and most advanced equipment such as virtual reality technology and production-grade 3D printers, as well as fully equipped classrooms and laboratories that are designed to cater to the consistently evolving educational and training needs of Canadian and international employers.

We’re helping kids stay connected and equipped with the skills they’ll need for the well-paying jobs of the future. CanCode is giving more than 1 million teachers and students the opportunity to learn digital skills like coding. Connect to Innovate is connecting students in 900 rural and remote communities across Canada to high-speed internet.

Our government is making the transition out of university easier by reducing the burden of student debt. No student has to repay their Canada Student Loans until they are earning $25,000 a year (or more if they have dependents). The Union Training and Innovation Program helps the next generation of apprentices and tradespeople get on-the-job training. With the new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, women will receive up to $8,000 over the course of their training in Red Seal Trades.

Skills Boost, a program that supports adult-learners, is making it easier than ever before for adults to go back to school and acquire new skills. Low- and middle-income part-time adult learners can get up to $1,800 in non-repayable grants per year and up to $10,000 in loans. We made changes to the EI system so that people who find themselves out of work can go back to school without losing their benefits.

When it comes to education, cutting taxes means families have more money to spend or save. We raised taxes on the wealthiest 1 per cent so we could cut taxes for 9 9 million middle class Canadians. The Middle Class Tax Cut is saving eligible single Canadians an average of $330 per year, and couples $540 per year. We’re also increasing student grants with the goal of making post-secondary education more accessible to all Canadians. Canada Student Grants has been increased by 50 - now up to $3,000 a year.

Here’s wishing everyone returning to school this September a year of growth and learning. Happy back to school!