The federal government will spend $1 billion to build a new national sex education centre, as part of a strategy to attract more young Canadians into the workforce.
The centre, to be built at the University of Toronto, will provide education about safe sex, healthy relationships, relationships between adults and children, the government announced Thursday.
The plan also includes funding for a $100-million, five-year public-private partnership to provide an “alternative to sexual health care” and to train more people on the importance of healthy sexual relationships.
The plan is part of the $20-billion federal stimulus package, which the Conservatives promised to deliver in the spring but have yet to deliver.
The Liberals are promising to increase funding for the centre, and it is not clear how long it will take to get it up and running.
“We have made it clear that our focus is on supporting young Canadians to find and sustain meaningful work and to get ahead, and we have made sure that this centre will help build this support,” Education Minister Mitzie Hunter told reporters Thursday.
Hunter did not specify how much money would be invested in the new centre.
Newly elected Conservative MP Rob Anders said the money will go towards building the centre on campus, as well as in other parts of the city.
The $100 million would also help build a $50-million centre in Scarborough, to provide training for local health-care workers and provide health-safety information.
A spokesman for the Liberal government, Brad Duguid, said the centre will have a “significant impact on the health and well-being of young people in the province.”
“This is an important step forward for our country,” he said.
NCSEy is a government-funded organisation that helps people identify sexual health issues and support them in making healthy decisions about sex.
The federal Liberals have also announced that a new, $50 million gender identity clinic will open next year at the Toronto-based University of Ottawa, where the Canadian Institute for Health Information is based.
This week, a Canadian Institute of Health Information report showed that the rate of sexually transmitted infections among young people has increased by more than 20 per cent in the last three years, driven by an increase in unprotected sex among younger people.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Association of Sexual Health Counsellors reported that one in five sexually transmitted cases among young Canadians was caused by the HPV vaccine, which is used to prevent cervical cancer.
More than two-thirds of sexually active young people have received the HPV-16 vaccine, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With files from the Associated Press