TORONTO (CUP)The federal government is closing physical job centres that help students find seasonal summer employment, shifting its services online to save $6.5 million a year.
The offices, called Service Canada Centres for Youth, were open temporarily from May to Aug. to offer job-finding advice and career-building tips to youth aged 1524.
“The number of students visiting these sites has significantly decreased over the years, making them less effective and relevant for today’s youth,” says Alyson Queen, spokesperson for Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley. “Young Canadians have told us that they want to access more government services online, so, as a result, we are expanding our website with more resources to help them find employment.”
While Finley announced on Jan. 27 that services were moving to the government’s youth employment site, there was no mention in that announcement that the centres would be closing.
Diverse reaction has followed the announcement.
“It doesn’t surprise me, because this government has shown its willingness to cut its expenses on the backs of the most vulnerable,” says Liberal MP for Papineau, Justin Trudeau, the party’s critic for youth and post-secondary education. “Young people, unfortunately, are easy targets in that sense.”
The centres provided career advice such as rsum writing and interview techniques, and were stationed country-wide.
“There might be a good reason to move important aspects of these job centres online, but the other side of it is you probably need, more than ever, good forms of training, coaching, and development of skills ultimately to get around the labour market,” McMaster University political science professor Peter Graefe says. “All that is lost when we move things online.”
The shift online comes at a time when unemployment among Canadian youth is 14.5 percent, accord ing to Statistics Canadaalmost double the rate of unemployment in all Canadians.
“We need to be ensuring that youth have access to jobs and that youth have access to services to find jobs,” says NDP post-secondary education critic and MP for Scarborough-Rouge River, Rathika Sitsabaiesan. “We should be encouraging our youth to find better employment, we should be providing that support, but we can’t.”
Trudeau says that the issue has been brought up briefly in the House of Commons. “It came up at one point in question period and [the Conservatives’] answers have been about streamlining, offering the same quality of services, making better use of taxpayers’ dollars,” Trudeau says. “But this is not making better use of taxpayers’ dollars, this is removing investments in young people.”
The federal Conservatives, however, are reiterating the fact that the summer job-finding services will still continue, being integrated into already existing Service Canada offices.
“What we want to be clear about is students will continue to have access to in-person serviceat our Service Canada offices,” Queen says. “There is no longer the need for these seasonal temporary offices.”
Also repeated by the federal government is the statement that more young people are going online. But according to Graefe, excluding those who cannot navigate the online job market could be problematic, and that while those who know how to move from the online job market to getting a job will do well, others who might not have access or experience with looking for jobs online could be left behind.
“There [are] problems that haven’t been thought of,” Graefe says, adding that if youth use other mainstream online job sites to find work, support for the traditional centres may not be enough for them to stay open.
“It’s a government that’s looking to cut as much as possible, in places that they think people aren’t going to feel it, and let’s face ityouth aren’t going to come out for these employment centres,” Graefe says.
Reservist Attack False, Says RCMP
by Sherry Wota – The Navigator
It was originally reported that while walking home near the University Village Mall on 5th St. around 10:40 p.m., 23-year-old reservist Pte. Chad Shore was attacked by another man estimated to also be in his early twenties.
Shore has since admitted to fabricating the incident, leaving the community of Nanaimo breathing a sigh of relief while wondering why a young man would lie about something this serious.
Shore had said that on his way home that night, he was questioned by a stranger about being in the military before, without provocation, suddenly lunging at Shore with a knife. When Shore realized he was bleeding, he went to the 5th St. Subway Restaurant for help. He was given six stitches at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
“Since my original statement on this case, it has come to light that the allegations made by the reservist were not true,” says Superintendent Norm McPhail, the officer in charge of the Nanaimo detachment, in a press release issued on Mar. 13. “This incident did not happen, and there is no longer any need for community concern.”
McPhail says no charges are pending against Shore, since investigators determined there was no criminal intent when Shore made the false claims. Maj. Lena Angell, public affairs officer with Land Force Western Area based in Edmonton, says Shore is now undergoing medical evaluation.
“Pte. Shore’s health and well-being are the army’s focus, and ensuring that he has access to and receives the medical care that he requires,” Maj. Angell says. Shore has been instructed by the military not to comment on the situation, and spokespeople for the army in Edmonton say that the Canadian Armed Forces are confirming details about the case before commenting publicly.