CLC says government failing young workers: Only 13% of unemployed youth qualify for EI benefits

May 10, 2013
OTTAWA ― The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says that the federal government’s labour market policy is failing young Canadian workers.

“Unemployment remains unacceptably high for younger Canadians and only a small fraction of those without work are able to gain access to Employment Insurance benefits,” says CLC President Ken Georgetti. “The government is abandoning these young workers.”

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for April 2013. There were 1,361,700 unemployed Canadians in April, and the overall unemployment rate was 7.2%. In the 15-to-24 age group, unemployment stood at 14.5% and 46.8% of young workers are employed only part-time.

“It is really stunning that only 13% of unemployed workers in the 15-to-24 age group were able to able to qualify for Employment Insurance in 2012 – a mere 7.0% of unemployed women and 17% of unemployed men. This speaks to the harmful changes that Ottawa introduced to the EI system in 2012.”

Georgetti says, “We have 1.4 million unemployed Canadian workers. Yet the federal government has assisted employers to import hundreds of thousands of vulnerable migrant workers paying them less than prevailing wages. This has not helped match Canadians looking for work with the jobs employers need to fill. We should be concerned that there are no jobs for the unemployed and the TFWP is part of the problem.”

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen 

A gain of over 12,000 jobs in April was not enough to move the unemployment rate, which remained stuck at 7.2%. In a change from the recent trend, all of the employment gains were due to public sector hiring, as the private sector shed 20,000 jobs in April.

Youth unemployment continues to be a serious concern. The real unemployment rate for youth age 15-24 increased by half a percentage point over last April, to 20.9%.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site:  Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

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