Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) funding for Barrie’s two federal ridings has been significantly reduced, say its two Members of Parliament.
In Barrie-Innisfil, Conservative MP John Brassard says 2023 funding has been cut by $900,000 from last year, when it was $2.1 million. It will now be $1.07 million this year.
Brassard said the funding will create just more than 300 jobs for young people across his riding, after 665 jobs were created last year.
“That’s a massive hit for our young people and our community,” he said in a news release. “What this means as well, unfortunately, is that local not-for-profit organizations and small businesses will not be getting the help they need when many are struggling to find people to work.”
Brassard also said the funding reduction will mean fewer opportunities for students to work at summer camps, recreation and outreach programs, as well as with charitable organizations that assist vulnerable people in Barrie-Innisfil, and new Canadians.
“It takes away hundreds of employment opportunities for young people who would gain valuable work experience in areas they are studying at college and university,” he said. “It also takes away their ability to earn income during the summer to help pay for their tuition.”
Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Doug Shipley, who's also a Conservative, said his riding’s CSJ funding has also been significantly reduced. The maximum amount of funding available is almost $1.17 million this year, down from nearly $2.06 million in 2022.
“The unfortunate thing, quite frankly, is we didn’t have any heads-up that it was going to be reduced,” Shipley told BarrieToday by phone Tuesday.
Nor was there a reason for the reduction.
“Nothing. We just get it in an email. This is what our allocation is,” he said.
“Some private companies, some not-for profits, just won’t be getting as many (employees) as they used to and it’s going to be a bit tough on them this year,” Shipley added.
The MP said the CSJ funding can be used for "a lot of good work."
“A lot of churches go for it, a lot of not-for-profits, some small start-up companies. It really gets spread out amongst the community," he said.
Shipley’s office said 740 jobs were approved with CSJ funding last year. Projected 2023 numbers were not available, however.
Employment and Social Development Canada, an arm of the federal government, says CSJ is receiving just over $400 million in funding for 2023-24.
The former Conservative government launched the CSJ program, which provides wage subsidies to employers from not-for-profit organizations, public-sector and private-sector businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees, to create summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30 years.