A New Deal For Young People

One of the key emerging issues is about the direction our country is headed in and what Canadian millenials and baby boomers had to say in a national poll.

Precarious Work, Low Benefits:

92% of boomers know at least one person with a workplace pension.

20% of millenials don’t know anyone with a workplace pension.

52%, Over half of millenials think their generation will work on contract – either mixed with permanent jobs, or contracts alone. Only 14% of their parents’ generation had a work life similar to the one their children expect for themselves.

Lowered Expectations

60% of millenials think the gap between the rich and poor will only grow during their lifetime.

49% of baby boomers think their children’s economic opportunities are worse today than when they were growing up.

An economy tilted towards corporations

Do people trust that corporations work hard to create good jobs? Nope. 85%

Baby boomers (85%) and millenials (79%) overwhelmingly agree that corporations put a higher priority on profits than they do in creating good Canadian jobs.

Corporations have hoarded savings from tax cuts rather than reinvesting in the economy to create good jobs. Millenials 48% agree. Boomers 60% agree.

Lower union membership makes good jobs harder to find

Harder: Millenials 59%, Boomers 55% Easier: Millenials 8%, Boomers 11%

It’s time for a new deal!

 

There is a lot of talk about high levels of youth unemployment and under-employment.  But talk is cheap, and governments and employers are still coming up short.

The federal government has shown scant interest or leadership. Despite a sharp rise in youth unemployment since the recession, the Conservatives have actually reduced spending on the Youth Employment Strategy (YES), $335.7 million in 2013-14, down from the $397.9 million it spent in 2010-11.

 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE CANADA MUST STEP UP

Youth Job Guarantee – a promise for every person under age 25 of a quality job offer, apprenticeship, or place in a training course within 4 months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The guarantee is inspired by a similar principle endorsed by the Council of the European Union in 2013.

To kick-start the Youth Job Guarantee, the Broadbent Institute is calling on Canadian businesses to invest $670 million per year to fund an initial youth employment initiative. These funds would be matched by an equal annual injection from the federal government (boosting what they currently spend on the Youth Employment Strategy to $1 billion). The large employer contribution would come in the form of job placements, while the federal government’s portion would support placements with small private sector employers as well as with public sector and not-for-profit organizations.

This modest investment, a combined total of $1.34 billion, could create 186,000 full-time co-op positions, paid internships or summer job placements that pay $15 per hour. The price tag for employers is but a tiny fraction of the $630 billion in “dead money” corporate Canada is currently sitting on. The federal contribution of $670 million would be only about a quarter of the $3 billion price tag of the Conservatives’ controversial income splitting proposal.

The contextThere are significantly more young people looking for work today than there are available jobs. As of May 2014, one in seven (13.3%) young people aged 15 to 24, or 380,600 young Canadians, are out of work. Many more are under-employed or have given up looking for work altogether.

Young workers bore much of the brunt of the 2008-09 recession, and despite talk of recovery, their employment situation today remains much worse than it was beforehand.

The unemployment rate for youth is typically about double that of so-called “core age” workers aged 25 to 54. In Canada, this ratio jumped to a much higher level of 2.4 in the post-recession recovery, and stood at 2.3 as of May

The ImpactAn initial Youth Job Guarantee initiative could have a significant impact on youth unemployment and help address some of the key challenges hampering young Canadians in the labour market. The initiative would target specific groups of youth at risk of long-term unemployment and students leaving the post-secondary educational system. At $15 per hour, a 12-week full-time paid co-op position, paid internship or summer job placement would cost employers $7,200 in terms of wages, assuming a 40 hour work week. Thus, an additional $1.34 billion per year would fund 186,000 such placements. This is more than double the current number of paid co-op placements, and three times the current number of Youth Employment Strategy participants.

Offered on an annual basis (four rounds of positions lasting for three months), the number of unemployed youth in any given month would fall by 46,500 or by about one in eight (12.2%) — enough to reduce the current youth unemployment rate from 13.3% to 11.7%. Importantly, in the long term it could also be scaled up into a more far-reaching program.

This is one of the most important issues we face – a responsibility to our young people and future generations.  With an aging demographic, our country’s future depends on it!

I am confident – together – we can create a new deal for our young people and our country.  I look forward to working for a New Deal For Young People.

Download the full report on the Broadbent Institute’s Youth Job Guarantee at www.broadbentinstitute.ca.

 

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Canada’s Tarnished International Reputation

MP Cathy McLeod was on CBC Kamloops this morning (Sept. 2, 2014) promoting a “Roundtable” meeting today, on the federal Conservatives program on “Maternal Health”, at the Kamloops offices of the Canadian Red Cross.

Canada’s commitment to address the issue of maternal health is laudable.   Certainly, the need is pressing. The world has cut maternal, infant and child mortality in half in the past 25 years, a huge advance. Yet much of that came before the Muskoka Initiative (2010). Today, some 6.6 million children under age five, half of them newborns, still die every year from preventable or treatable causes. At present, the UN is falling short of its goal to cut maternal deaths by three-quarters by next year, and those of children under five by two-thirds.

But, despite the federal Conservatives commitment, the Initiative lacks transparency, as a recent critique in the Lancet reported. An accounting of how and where the funds are being invested, the respected journal reported, is all but impossible to get.

Canada has also avoided or sent confusing messages on the critical issue of contraception and abortion, which experts say is part of the full range of maternal health. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 120 million women around the world want access to family planning. But contraception is not properly on the table with this government. Fewer women and girls will be saved if a full range of sexual and reproductive health services are not provided to those most in need.

Unsafe abortion kills tens of thousands of women a year, but many more are maimed and affected for the rest of their lives.   We need to offer a full range of maternal health services like other partner countries do.

The Conservative government’s record on foreign aid is flawed. On their watch, Canada’s aid program, currently $5.6 billion, has declined by more than $800 million in real terms, slipping to a meager 0.27 percent of our GDP. That’s well below the donor country average and target of 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives have unleashed the Canada Revenue Agency to audit, some would say harass, organizations such as Oxfam because they do not always agree with the government.  This impedes the ability of humanitarian and human rights agencies to advocate on issues such as poverty prevention and to help those in need around the globe.

More broadly, Canada’s International Reputation has been tarnished, by the federal Conservatives.   Canada has been recipient of the International “Fossil of the Year” several years running. We failed to win a seat on the UN Security Council.  Multilateralism and our hard-earned reputation as a balanced, credible voice and power-broker has suffered hugely. Bellicose rhetoric is not a responsible form of foreign policy for a middle power like Canada.

On Gaza, it is hard to comprehend why the Conservative government ignored an appeal to bring injured and maimed children from Gaza to Canada for medical treatment.   In a letter to the PM, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Thomas Mulcair, wrote:

I am confident that any action by your government to help enable the humanitarian initiative will receive support among all federal political parties Many Canadians are asking themselves what can we do to help…to achieve peace, we must refuse to hate. Only in that spirit can we hope to bring people together to forge a just, secure and lasting peace.”

More urgently, children of Gaza are desperately in need of help, they are innocent victims, of a long-standing conflict.

Canada was once a highly respected and credible voice in international affairs. It is increasingly marginalized and not taken seriously.   That has to change if we are to be a truly global and serious player.

 

Bill Sundhu, Federal Candidate (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo), The New Democratic Party of Canada.

 
 

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