Listen to the full radio interview here:
The federal budget proposes to make the following changes to the Youth Employment Strategy:
- $40 million towards supporting up to 3,000 internships in “high-demand fields” such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- $15 million “reallocated” annually towards supporting 1,000 internships in small and medium-sized enterprises
While some attention on youth unemployment is positive, these proposals simply are not enough. There are 400,000 Canadians in their 20s who are unemployed and this funding would help less than 1%. Furthermore, the budget does not include stronger protections for interns under the Canada Labour Code or a strategy to adequately track internships through Statistics Canada.
The budget also proposes the “Canada Apprentice Loan” that would support apprentices in skilled trades with $100,000 in interest-free loans for technical training. This announcement is unusual since young workers are having problems finding employers willing to train them as apprentices rather than facing difficulties repaying the cost of training.
Finally, this budget will have a disproportionately positive impact on young males over young females. Both the Youth Employment Strategy changes and Canada Apprentice Loan would support young people in male-dominated fields (i.e. engineering, math, skilled trades) and does very little to support young people in training to enter female-dominated fields (i.e. nutrition, nursing, social work). These female-dominated fields would equally benefit from internship funding and loan support.