Student jobs program gets $10M boost

The federal government announces an extra $10 million for the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The federal government announced an additional $10 million in funding Wednesday for the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The announcement was made by Ted Menzies — named minister of state for finance in Tuesday's cabinet shuffle — on behalf of Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.

The program provides money for small businesses and not-for-profit groups to hire students over the summer months.

Qualified not-for-profit employers are eligible for up to 100 per cent of students' minimum hourly wage and other employment-related costs.

Public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that qualify are eligible for up to 50 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage.

Last year, about 37,000 students had their summer jobs subsidized through the program. The additional $10 million announced Wednesday will pay for an additional 3,500 jobs across the country. 

Dave Molenhuis, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, welcomed the announcement, saying the program has helped students in what has been a tough summer job market in recent years.

"It's helped a lot of students get their foot in the door in a field they're interested in studying," said Molenhuis. He added, however, that because the program only covers the employers' costs up to minimum wage "it can't fully address the rising costs of post-secondary education."

To be eligible for the program, students must:

  • Be between 15 and 30 years of age.
  • Have been registered as a full-time student in the previous academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year.
  • Be Canadian citizens or permanent residents or have official refugee protection status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada.

Employers must apply to participate in the program. The application period for summer 2011 will open on Feb. 1 and close on Feb. 28. Employer applications are assessed on a number of criteria, including relevant work experience, salary, the availability of supervision and mentoring and whether the job supports other community priorities.