Federal program makes summer jobs possible
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | June 15, 2017
It’s a challenge for non-profit organizations in the county to hire students. But it just got a whole lot easier with $348,000 in Canada Summer Jobs funding. That’s more than half the money coming to the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock riding.
Haliburton’s Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre is one of this year’s recipients. They’re hiring a community arts animator for seven weeks, starting mid-July.
“We wouldn’t be able to maintain the same level of service,” said executive director Laurie Jones. “In the summertime, we’re looking at an exponential increase in activity.”
The program is also for public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. People aged 15-30, who are full-time students returning to their studies in the fall, are eligible.
The Rails End is getting money for seven weeks at 30 hours per week. The grant will subsidize $11.75 per hour, but the gallery is topping it up to $12.
“It’s really too bad that it’s not longer because seven weeks at 30 hours is not a summer job that’s really going to help a student in their studies to fund their [schooling],” said Jones. “They’re going to have to have two jobs.”
Jones also obtained funding through another federally-funded program called Young Canada Works. She has hired a student from the Haliburton School of Art and Design (HSAD).
SIRCH Community Services, also a non-profit, will be hiring four students. Two are for a food program that provides lunches to people enrolled in summer courses at HSAD. The other two are at the Thrift Warehouse in Haliburton. They are 35 hours per week and 38.5 hours, respectively. Both pay minimum wage.
The funding is for 11 weeks, which is “great,” according to executive director Gena Robertson.
“I think it’s [the program] important on a whole lot of levels,” she said. “We are, and always have been, very much into training and employability skills. So whenever we apply for these jobs, it has to be a job that they’re actually going to learn something and get supervised, and come out of it with significant skills.”
She adds that this kind of government support gives employers a boost.
Both Jones and Robertson have received funding from the program in the past.
Last week, local MP Jamie Schmale said, “These new jobs in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock will help students, employers and our local economy.”
Schmale’s assistant, Dylan Robichaud, said Schmale helps set local priorities for the program. This year’s priorities are Canada’s 150th anniversary and the tourism sector, he said.
Ninety-nine employers across the riding are receiving $680,000 in funding for 306 jobs. The grants range from $1,000 for one job up to $132,000 for 50 jobs.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.