ontario news watch

Despite economic reopening, students still worry about lack of summer work

OTTAWA — Students say the summer jobs market remains tight despite plans to reopen economic activity, raising concerns about the ability to earn enough to help cover tuition in the fall.

Marley Gillies of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations says many of the positions students occupy this time of year are in retail, tourism and other industries still affected by the pandemic.

Gillies says federal funding to summer jobs programs should help cushion the blow, but notes the need to expand eligibility criteria to capture older and international students.

Statistics Canada’s latest jobs report said the unemployment rate for students returning to classes in the fall stood at 23.1 per cent in May, almost half of what it was in the same month last year, but higher than the 13.7 per cent recorded in May 2019.

Brandon Rheal Amyot with the Ontario wing of the Canadian Federation of Students says the situation is acute for youth who typically face barriers to employment, such as Indigenous, the LGBTQ community and recent immigrants.

Amyot adds that reopening plans in parts of the country are also coming too late for students as employers have mostly filled positions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press