Find time this holiday season to think ahead to summer jobs applications

While I know many thoughts during this season are on the holidays and a look back at the year that was, I’m hoping many people in our community are looking forward.

And I wanted to make sure they were thinking about the Canada Summer Jobs program. The application period for small businesses and community groups to apply for Canada Summer Jobs 2015 funding opened on Dec. 1 and runs to Jan. 30, 2015 – a very short window during a busy season.

Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.

This is one of the few community- level funding programs that focuses on local priorities. For Nanaimo-Cowichan the local priorities include local special events and community- based special events that showcase and support local culture.

And the local priorities for the list of sectors that are eligible to apply is longer this year and includes: community-based not-for-profit organizations; tourism and tourist information centres; summer programs and camps for children; areas with shortages such as skilled trades in construction, value added manufacturing, hospitality, technology and health; environmental protection/green industries such as community agriculture and food security, habitat maintenance/restoration, environmental damage prevention, alternative energy, quality and quantity of surface and ground water, etc.; arts and culture; and community-based entrepreneurial businesses as well as those involved in research and development. The website to apply or get more information is: www. servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/epb/yi/ yep/programs/scpp.shtml Over the last 10 years this program usually brought between $300,000 and $400,000 in direct wages to our communities. With the broader local priorities this year I am hoping even more local businesses and groups can benefit.

We know that job growth is stalling and in November, Statistics Canada reported the loss of 10,700 full-time positions. That makes programs like Canada Summer Jobs even more important since youths are unemployed at rates more than double that of the rest of the working-age

population.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish my constituents and their families a very happy holiday season.

Jean Crowder is the Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Cowichan.

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