The Saanich News asked the candidates in Saanich-Gulf Islands the question: Canada’s youth unemployment rate is at 13 per cent, what would your party do to help more young Canadians find work?
Robert Boyd – Conservative
All Canadians should be able to fully participate in the Canadian economy. Our government has developed specific initiatives to help young Canadians make a successful transition into the labour market such as:
Increasing funding for the Youth Employment Strategy, investing over $330 million annually in youth programming to provide skills development and work experience for youth at risk, summer students and recent post-graduate students;
Supporting 5,000 more paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates and confirming support for Pathways to Education Canada, a not-for-profit organization that works with youth to increase rates of high school completion;
Investing up to $14 million in Futurpreneur Canada, from 2015-2017, to support young entrepreneurs; and
Funding about 1,000 internships in 2014-2015 through the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Program in innovative small and medium-sized companies.
Alicia Cormier – NDP
Young Canadians have more talent than ever. But after 10 years of neglect by Stephen Harper, this generation is facing double-digit unemployment. They earn less and carry more debt than their parents did. Liberal and Conservative governments have backed away from investments that help young people get started in life, like education, housing and childcare. Instead, Stephen Harper has spent billions on corporate handouts – handouts Justin Trudeau says he’ll continue.
The NDP will: restore the federal minimum wage and raise it to $15 an hour; create quality jobs in small business and green industries; give interns the same protections as other workers and make life more affordable by investing in childcare, housing and transit.
In partnership with small business, industry, NGOs and government, the NDP will help 40,000 young Canadians get jobs, paid internship or co-op placements; create apprenticeship spaces through federal infrastructure projects, in federally regulated airports or port authorities, and with Crown corporations, while establishing firm apprenticeship ratios; partner with municipalities and Indigenous governments to hire apprentices for infrastructure projects; and protect the safety of young workers and crack down on the use of unpaid internships. The initiatives are fully-costed and will appear in the NDP’s balanced platform.
Tim Kane – Liberal
Young people have 182,000 fewer jobs today than before the recession, placing a heavy burden on them and their parents. Conservatives refuse to recognize the problem, and have cut 20,000 positions from Canada Summer Jobs. A Liberal government will help young Canadians gain the skills and work experience they need by investing $1.3 billion over three years to:
Create 40,000 youth jobs each year through a new, annual investment of $300 million in a renewed Youth Employment Strategy;
Create 5,000 new green jobs for youth, as part of the renewed Youth Employment Strategy, at Parks Canada and with environmental organizations;
Invest $40 million annually to help employers create new co-op placements for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business students;
Restore a modernized Youth Service Program, providing $25 million per year to help young Canadians gain valuable work and life experience while travelling the country, participating in community building projects; and
Waive EI premiums for 12 months for any employers who gives someone between the age of 18-24 a full-time job.
Elizabeth May — Green Party
Youth in Canada are getting a raw deal. The youth unemployment rate is more than double the average national rate, at 13 per cent. When youth are able to find a job, it is often precarious and even unpaid.
The Green Party will ban unpaid internships. We will also make significant investments to end the high levels of unemployment among Canada’s youth. Green MPs will boost access to apprenticeship and training programs, and invest $5 billion to develop a Youth Community and Employment Service Corps. This program will provide paid employment for 40,000 youth every year for four years, for a total of 160-000 youth positions.
At the successful completion of each year-long program, we will award a $4,000 tuition credit to each participant, to apply to further education and training.