You're absolutely right. The problem with austerity budgeting and balanced budgeting is that cuts have to happen. The youth employment strategy budget was cut by $20 million under one of my colleagues, Pierre Poilievre, and 65,000 fewer youth were assisted by youth employment strategies during the Conservatives' tenure. That's a significant drop.
I'm glad you raised that point, because I think it's important that we understand that when we invest in Canadians, we get the best out of Canadians and we get the best out of our economy. The Prime Minister is famous for saying that confident countries invest in themselves, and that's exactly what the youth employment strategy should be doing. It should be investing in the promise of Canadians and investing in the promise of our country.
Let me just tell you about Pathways. I want to get to Pathways, because you're very right that Pathways is an incredible program and we do support Pathways, even though the program is not under federal jurisdiction. It's not really a federal program. However, Pathways is a wraparound program. I know a lot about it because in my previous role as a public health planner, I was really inspired by Pathways and I wanted to see if we could bring it to Thunder Bay. Pathways helps young people from incredibly disadvantaged situations see the potential of post-secondary education.
One of the challenges of living in poverty is that oftentimes you don't ever see anyone around you who has made it out of poverty. Pathways to Education, through a combination of tutoring, training, connections to post-secondary institutions, mentorship, and financial support, creates an actual pathway to post-secondary education. I think their graduation rate is somewhere in the range of 86%.