Summer youth jobs program re-branded

In September, the Harper government cut $55.4 million from the Summer Work Experience Program. Your letters of support to restore this funding continue to pour into my office. The Liberals’ Summer Career Placement Program was applauded by both student and community organizations. The letters I’ve received support this statement by giving examples of the broad range of employment experiences that has been provided. Many of those who were employed under this initiative have gone on to become employers providing summer work experiences for other students. In an effort to save face, the Harper government has just announced the re-branding of the program, which now will be called the Canada Summer Jobs Program. The CSJ program provides $86 million in wage subsidies—that’s $11 million less than the Liberal-created program that provided 50,000 jobs for students across the country in 2006. Not only is the funding reduced, but the program also has changed. Canada Summer Jobs provides wage subsidies to help employers of not-for-profit, public sector, and smaller private sector organizations (those with under 50 employees) create career-related summer jobs for students. Priority will be given to proposals which employ students living in communities with high youth unemployment rates, small urban, rural, or remote areas, and/or high crime areas. Not-for-profit employers are eligible for up to 100 percent of the minimum hourly wage; whereas, public-sector and small private-sector employers are eligible for up to 50 percent of the minimum hourly wage. Employers can get an application online at servicecanada.gc.ca or by calling the Youth Info Line at 1-800-935-5555, or by visiting their local Service Canada Centre in person. The deadline for applications is March 30. I trust that eligible employers will consider the benefit of providing students with meaningful and career-related work experience. Although the Harper government has let students down by cutting the funding available, we must not do the same.

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