Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille has potentially worrying news for area employers who are hoping to benefit from the Canada Summer Jobs program to hire young workers over the summer.
The Member of Parliament has learned that the federal government has considerably reduced its funding for the youth employment program, which provides wage subsidies to employers hiring youth between the ages of 15 and 30.
“In the Salaberry-Suroît riding alone, we are talking about a decrease of more than $430,000,” says DeBellefeuille in a March 22 press release. She says the funding cuts, which are equivalent to around 35 per cent compared to the amount received in 2022, come at a bad time for organizations and businesses in the region that are already facing labour shortages while recovering from the pandemic.
“These cuts are totally unacceptable. This represents 130 good jobs in our region,” she exclaims, noting local employers have applied to the program in record numbers. “The funding provided does not even come close to covering the demand,” she laments. “And we know that in some cases, organizations will simply not be able to carry out their planned activities without this funding.”
According to information obtained by the Bloc Québécois MP from the office of the Minister of Women, Gender Equality and Youth, who is responsible for the program, the cuts relate to the ending of special amounts granted to the program in the context of the pandemic. Funding amounts have returned to pre-pandemic levels, but without being indexed.
Last year, the Salaberry-Suroît riding saw an injection of $1.25 million to fund the creation of 367 jobs. In 2021, the region received $1.7 million in funding, which allowed for the creation of 328 jobs, but this was only after DeBellefeuille demanded an additional $300,000.
“The goal of the program is to provide young people with meaningful work experience, while contributing to the growth of local businesses and community organizations that are ready and willing to provide such experiences to our youth. Why would the government decide to cut funding to this program, without any prior notice, when it is so badly needed by local employers?” DeBellefeuille says.
“We are calling for increased funding for the program now,” she insists, calling the cuts “distressing.” (SR)
We rely on these positions to run summer camps for low income underserved children and youth. We got a drastic decrease- even below our pre pandemic levels of funding – our camp staff cut to 8 from normal 20! We are devastated- and the worst part is we were not told before we applied or we would have allocated positions more strategically- they also didn’t give us all of our priority positions – gave us ones outside of our camp program that were only asking for if was enough funding to give youth different experiences in things like administration and our food bank programs. We have no idea what we are going to do and camp training starts in 8 weeks!!