Derek Howard – Midland News
The return to normal also means a return to non-inflated summer job numbers, according to the federal government.
A pandemic-boosted Canada Summer Jobs program which was given a temporary increase over recent years will be returning back to pre-COVID amounts. The program provides wage subsidies for employers of not-for-profit, public sector, and private sector organizations with 50 or less full-time employees, by creating summer work for ages 15 to 30.
Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers told MidlandToday that although riding and regional numbers hadn’t been made available as of yet, “it is now back down to close to where it was pre-COVID” and suggested that the number could be up to half of what it was last year.
“We try to give preference and priority to organizations that are in the not-for-profit space or in charities, as well as small business,” said Chambers. “Think of summer camps and other seasonal workers that are in the not-for-profit space who might do program delivery, whether they’re for camps or for some of the not-for-profits in the region.
“Whereas last year an employer may have been approved for every position they’ve applied for, this year they may be approved for some, but not all of the positions.”
Chambers noted that allocation for the Canada Summer Jobs program would be available even if employers couldn’t find someone to hire, and would instead be reallocated to support hiring where needed.
One complication Chambers had found with the program was in the limited timeframe of its summer months.
“People’s lives and work habits are significantly changed post-COVID while the program is fairly restrictive in terms of the time that it’s available,” said Chambers. “But the way that people study or work now, especially if you’re under 30 – maybe your work term is between January or March, or between September and November.
“There isn’t a lot of flexibility in the program to match the changing realities of the way people are working. So that is one thing that I think we could improve.”
As an advocate for employers, Chambers shared that he had sent a letter to relevant government departments with a recommendation for change, suggesting that employers be given greater flexibility in choosing when the right time would be to match with a qualified individual of the program.
The departmental plan of Employment and Social Development Canada stated that approximately $400 million over two years starting in 2023-2024 would be allocated to 70,000 annual summer job placements through the program.
Added Chambers: “I believe that there’s an effort to make sure that they’re trying to continue to help as many employers as they helped in previous years; it just may not be to the same degree as has happened in previous years.”