Nfld. & Labrador

'Extremely frustrating': CNA graduate, 31, too old for wage subsidy

A recent graduate of the College of the North Atlantic is calling a new employer subsidy program "ageist."

Career Focus program is a partnership between college and federal government

Tim Warren, fifth from left, poses with his class in the mechanical engineering program at the College of the North Atlantic. (Tim Warren)

A recent graduate from the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's is calling out a new employer subsidy program as "ageist."

The Career Focus program offers employers a wage subsidy for hiring new graduates for three to nine months, with a maximum reimbursement of $20,000.

One of the program's restrictions is that recipients must be between ages of 15 and 30.

This means all the hard work I put in, including grades … means absolutely nothing.- Tim Warren

Tim Warren, 31, says the eight other students in his mechanical manufacturing engineering class are applying for the subsidy. But he is too old.

"I feel this is ageist and incredibly discriminatory and any students over 30 that are set to graduate should join me in voicing how discriminatory this is. This program single handedly eliminates my opportunity for a fair shot at employment based only on my AGE!," Warren wrote on his Facebook page.

Hard work 'means absolutely nothing'

"It really kinda bums me out a bit you know," he told the St. John's Morning Show on Wednesday.

"It kinda puts a restriction just on my age. On whether I'm an ideal [candidate] or at least have an advantage to be hired."

People are going back to school, and they're at all kinds of ages.- Tim Warren

The way he sees it, every graduate under 30 is now $20,000 cheaper to hire than he is.

"This means all the hard work I put in, including grades of 95 per cent and 100 per cent on my two work terms, means absolutely nothing."

'Insurmountable disadvantage'

Warren contacted the college, but was told there's nothing it can do, because the Career Focus program is a federal government program CNA has partnered with.

He was told there are 21 other subsidy programs offered, but Warren said there are other restrictions on those programs, and he qualifies for only one.

The federal ads says the wage subsidy program is meant to help young workers, but Tim Warren says 30 should not be the cutoff age. (Government of Canada)

The Career Focus program should be open to all graduates, said Warren.

"Especially with today's economy, people are going back to school, and they're at all kinds of ages."

Warren said he'll have to try and separate himself from other job hopefuls despite what he calls an "insurmountable disadvantage."

With files from St. John's Morning Show

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