Federal government offers help to students seeking jobs

The federal government announced Wednesday that it will cover 100% of wages for post-secondary students hired under the Canada Summer Jobs Program, which helps employers hire summer workers and gives young people access to jobs and experience.

In previous years, employers were only eligible to receive a wage subsidy of up to 50% of the provincial or territorial minimum wage. The increase to the wage subsidy will be for this year only.

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The federal government will also extend the time period for job placements into the winter, since many jobs will start later than usual due to the pandemic and companies will be permitted to hire students part-time.

The temporary changes, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are expected to help create up to 70,000 jobs.

But student advocates, while grateful for the assistance, say it’s not enough. The Canadian Federation of Students said 70,000 jobs is a drop in the bucket, since more than two million students are enrolled in post-secondary education across the country, according to the most recent Statistics Canada survey.

Juliet Watts, director of campaigns and community relations for the University of Victoria Students’ Association, said the program should also be made available to recent graduates and international students.

“The eligibility requirements really need to be expanded,” Watts said Wednesday. “It’s still leaving too many students behind.”

Job placements could begin as early as May 11, and end as late as Feb. 28, 2021.

Meanwhile, the government has already announced a six-month, interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loans, and a 75% wage subsidy for businesses that will help employers keep part-time employees and workers over the coming months.

So far, $263 million has been set aside for the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2020.


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