Job creation is the key

A steady job, a regular paycheque, 9 to 5 and 40 hours a week. That is the stereotypical work ideal but it is not the reality for many workers in our community.

Most of the new jobs created in Canada in the last year were parttime, precarious or low-wage.

And in April, Canada lost 29,000 jobs, many of them full-time. While most of the effect was felt in Eastern provinces, British Columbia lost jobs in the food and retail sector.

Thanks to Conservative budget cuts at Statistics Canada we don’t have all the information we need to understand where new jobs are coming from.

In 2012 the Conservative government commissioned Statscan to do a skills gap survey of 25,000 employers that cost $4.6 million, but it has not been released due to lack of funding to analyze the results.

New Democrats have asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer to continue the analysis of this data since it may be useful in clarifying what skills gaps and/or labour shortages currently exist in Canada.

Since the economic downturn, the number of unemployed people has increased by nearly 300,000 – and youth unemployment is unacceptably high at 13.4 per cent.

Some 1.3 million Canadians can’t find a decent job near their home.

And far too many employers have been abusing the temporary foreign worker program – hiring people from overseas to fill positions when Canadians are ready and willing to work in those areas.

Fewer and fewer workplaces offer benefits, or limit them to a small number of employees.

That includes a fundamental pillar of a secure retirement: workplace pensions.

At the same time, household debt has increased.

As long as interest rates stay low, it may be manageable, but if interest rates increase,

families will feel the squeeze on their budgets.

In the last 35 years, average incomes have remained stagnant or fallen and not kept up with increases in the cost of living.

We have to do more to create good, sustainable full-time jobs in this country.

New Democrats would start by investing in the upgrading of roads, bridges and transit systems across the country. That would improve the infrastructure all businesses depend on to get their people to work and their goods or services to the market.

Target tax credit for job creation to small businesses. Those are the businesses linked to the communities they serve and that often need help to scale up their operations and increase job openings.

New Democrats would also like to see more support for innovation in clean energy and green technology.

It makes sense to invest in jobs that do not harm the environment and are sustainable in the long term.

Job creation and the economy will remain a top-of-mind issue for many Canadians in the months to come. I am interested to hear your ideas on how we can create more jobs, please email me at jean@jeancrowder.ca Jean Crowder is the Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Cowichan. She can be reached at 250-746-4896.