As spring semesters wrap up on campuses across the country, the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs program is once again ramping up, preparing to create about 70,000 jobs for students across the country this summer – including about 200 right here in Thunder Bay.
As Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Labour, I’m proud to be a part of a government that recognizes the value of this program. That's exactly why I have overseen new investments in the program that have allowed us to double the number of jobs per year for our students compared to the previous government.
Summer jobs matter. They matter because for many young Canadians, a summer job represents that very first chance to work full time and earn money. These early jobs offer an opportunity to learn what it means to be part of a team, to have responsibilities and make money of your very own. These are influential experiences. Over the course of a summer, students can define their interests, hone their skills and discover new work environments that shape their career paths.
That’s what’s so great about Canada Summer Jobs 2018 in particular. With more than 3,000 brand-new employers on board, including small businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and public sector institutions, our students can count on plenty of fresh new experiences this year.
There’s an organization in Hamilton, Ontario that I’ve had the chance to get to know during my time as Minister of Employment. It’s called RYGIEL Supports for Community Living; they provide support to people who have a developmental disability and other handicapping conditions. RYGIEL is a longtime Canada Summer Jobs employer run by a woman named Donna Marcaccio. Donna’s organization has given many Hamilton-area students valuable work experience over the years – and one of RYGIEL’s first Canada Summer Jobs students was Donna herself. After spending one summer working there, Donna went on to work full-time for the organization, eventually becoming its Executive Director, a role she continues to hold today.
That’s the power of Canada Summer Jobs.
And that’s why I’ll always be a fierce defender of this program. I’ve read some criticism in recent months about our government’s decision to no longer fund jobs where students are asked to do work that undermines people’s individual rights. Before we brought in this rule, some funding was going to groups like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, which paid students to distribute graphic images of aborted fetuses. Some funding was also provided to organizations that prohibited LGBTQ2 youth from either working for or attending the summer camps they offered.
The decision to ensure that government money should not be provided to organizations that undermine the rights of Canadians is one that Prime Minister Trudeau and I will continue to defend. Canadian students deserve to have high-quality summer job experiences, in high-quality workplaces. Employers like Roots to Harvest and the Thunder Bay Boys and Girls Club are among the many employers that will receive funding in Thunder Bay this summer. They will be contributing to skills development and experience for young people in very important ways and I thank them for their efforts.
A strong economy depends on Canada’s young people having the skills, knowledge and experience they need to succeed as they start their careers. I’m proud that more than 40,000 employers have applied to hire a student through Canada Summer Jobs, and help make that happen.
Hon. Patty Hajdu,
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour