Playground program cuts shortchanges students, children
Elimination of STEP grants most affects low-income groups, suggests survey
Changes to Edmonton's green shack program and others like it around the province shortchanges students needing summer jobs and thousands of children, say community groups.
This spring's provincial budget cut the Summer Temporary Employment Program, or STEP, a grant program that allowed municipalities and non-profits to hire students during the summer to run activities at playgrounds, museums or other centres.
"We're beginning to learn that a $7-million program had a really broad reach," said Russ Dahms, executive director of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.
"It's really important as we begin to understand more and more what the details are to really become more committed to the conversation with the province to say we need to think about a new way to come at this for next year."
As CBC's Paul Moore reports in the video, a recent survey shows showed that more than 500 students were hired across the province in an average year with help from STEP.
The survey also suggested those jobs aren't going to be filled in many cases.