More than 200 local students will find summer employment this year, thanks to the federal government.
Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall announced $761,024 in funding for the riding through the 2018 iteration of the Canada Summer Jobs program. That money helped create 208 jobs for students.
“We really want to highlight the good work our young people are doing in the community (and) the experience they’re gaining,” he said.
Mayor Jeff Lehman also touted the benefits of the program. The city receives funding through Summer Jobs, which it uses to hire lifeguards and camp counsellors. In total, the municipality collected $25,000 and hired 16 students this year.
“There’s often not enough opportunities out there for seasonal employment,” he said. “It allows more kids to go to summer camp because we’re able to have more counsellors and programs.”
Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Young people ages 15 to 30, who are full-time students planning to attend classes during the next school year, can participate.
“The real focus was to stay away, as much as we could, from the private sector,” Nuttall said, noting arts, sports and community organizations and youth programs received a good amount of the local funding. “This year, there was a values test placed on the grant program that has affected quite a number of religious institutions and not-for-profits in the community. Having said that, the funds we have in place will do a ton of good work.”
The federal Liberals introduced a new element on the Summer Jobs application form, which asked participants to check a box attesting they respect individual human rights in Canada.
The government says the provision was put in place to ensure funding helps organizations that support “reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”
But several local faith groups declined to check the box because they believe it infringes on their religious rights.