April’s employment numbers tell a very different story about Canada’s economy than the one delivered by Joe Oliver to Canadians when he presented the 2015 Federal Budget earlier that month.
The jobs market is still stuck in the ditch. Youth unemployment jumped to 13.6% last month, with the underemployment rate for young workers elevated to 29%. Compared to just a year ago, Canada has lost 20,000 full-time jobs in manufacturing and 25,000 full-time jobs in mining, oil, and gas. In the retail sector, Canada has lost 63,000 full time and 27,000 part-time jobs over the same period. Meanwhile, more than half of all the job gains over the past year have been concentrated in the 55+ age group, a clear signal of stagnation for both young and core age workers.
That same month, the federal government balanced its budget by taking billions of dollars in “surplus” funds out of the employment insurance program. saThis week, Canadians learned that millions more in money promised to support youth employment programs went unspent last year.
“The federal government is clearly taking money meant to support jobs and using it to buy votes,” says the Canadian Labour Congress’ President, Hassan Yussuff.
“We’ve seen this all before, but never at a time when there was such an immediate need for real investment in training and in job creation. Taking money away from unemployed workers to subsidize things like tax-free savings accounts for people with money to spare, government advertising, and child-benefit cheques for families with no childcare expenses? It’s time for change in Ottawa,” says Yussuff.