Our local federal candidates and their take on youth unemployment
[gallery link="file" ids="4722,4721,4720"] You’ve watched the debates, heard the promises, seen the ads, and your mailbox has been overflowing with campaign literature.While each political party releases campaign promises aiming to appeal to Canada’s 35 million and counting population, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus of the issues that impact students.This time around, some of the candidates running in the federal election include three youthful York University students amongst others who understand the importance of dealing with securing good jobs for graduates and more.If the old tale holds true, many students attend post-secondary school in hopes of getting a well-paying job in their field of interest upon graduation. But with the unemployment rate at around 13 per cent and the underemployment rate at 27 per cent, many students have to reconsider their options of how to get relevant work experience without falling victim to unpaid internships.“The Conservative government will continue to focus on creating good, well-paying jobs for Canadians on top of creating an additional 1.3 million new, well-paying jobs by 2020 in all sectors,” says Kerry Vandenberg, Conservative party candidate and York student.“I am personally committed to expanding the green energy sector into hydroelectric development as the most reliably proven and consistent of all the green technologies,” he adds.Keith Jarrett, Green Party candidate and political science student at York says, “The long-term economic and social implications of a growing group of economically disconnected and socially alienated youth is very serious and very costly.”“Our party will boost access to apprentice programs in key trades, supporting those with skills to train youth through financial support,” says Jarrett.The Green Party also plans to develop a Youth Community and Environment Service Corps. It will provide federal minimum wage employment for 40,000 youth aged 18 to 25 every year for four years for a total of 160,000 youth positions, he says.Each year in Canada, there is an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 unpaid interns working in hopes of gaining work experience and being hired in their field.The Green Party will introduce legislation to ban unpaid internships in federally regulated industries and work with the provinces to cease the practice altogether, he says.For many young people just getting out of school, they face a catch-22. They cannot get hired in new jobs because they lack experience. But unless they get that first job, they’ll never have experience, adds Jarrett.“The NDP will implement a plan in partnership with the private sector and non-profits to help 40,000 young Canadians get jobs, co-op placements, and paid internships,” says Darnel Harris, NDP candidate and York student.“We will put an end to the abuse of unpaid internships in federal jurisdiction workplaces and reinstate the federal minimum wage by progressively raising it to $15 per hour,” he adds.“The Liberals will invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business programs,” says Judy Sgro, the Liberal candidate seeking re-election in Humber River-Black Creek.“To encourage companies to hire young Canadians for permanent positions, we will also offer a 12-month break on Employment Insurance premiums.”The Liberal government will create 40,000 good youth jobs, including 5,000 youth green jobs, each year for the next three years by investing $300 million more in the renewed Youth Employment Strategy, says Sgro.“We will also end the rule that discriminates against new workers and those re-entering the workforce by requiring them to accumulate 910 hours of work to qualify for employment insurance benefits, including training support,” she says.
Tatiana Prisiajny, Features Editor at Excalibur This article was originally published for Excalibur, York University's Community Newspaper