Details drop in wage, job quality for young workers

A new study from Statistics Canada about the precarious position young workers find themselves in.

OTTAWA — A new study from Statistics Canada about the precarious position young workers find themselves in — and how little it has changed in four decades — has refocused attention on the federal government’s push to create jobs for youth.

The review of decades of employment figures found that young people have seen their job quality decline over 40 years, even as the unemployment rate has remained relatively unchanged: The youth unemployment rate in both 1976 and 2015 was 2.3 times higher than the rate among those aged 25 and older.

In the report released Monday, the national statistics office said fewer young Canadians, who are not full-time students, are working in full-time jobs today than in 1976, a result driven mainly by the rise of part-time work rather than increases in unemployment rates or decreases in labour force participation.

The numbers mirror what the expert panel on youth employment has been hearing during their work.

Vass Bednar, who chairs the panel, says she has heard issues ranging from the role of governments at all levels in job creation, to the changing business landscape that gives rise to more part-time and temporary work and workers who worry that putting their home address on an application may show them to be from a poorer part of town and dissuade employers from hiring them.

The special panel is scheduled to provide an interim report to Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk at the end of the week. A final report is due by March and is expected to help the government chart a path forward on the issue.

“There are going to be ideas in our final report that are not just for the federal government, because this is not just for the federal government to solve,” Bednar said.

“Let’s make sure people are having positive, early experiences with work that get them excited, that fulfil them, that make them energized, that make them productive so they can fully participate in life, in the economy.”

The Statistics Canada study said people under age 25 who were employed full-time have seen their wages fall behind the cost of living since the early 1980s. Male workers aged 17 to 24 saw the buying power of their salaries — known as the “real hourly wages” — drop by about 15 per cent, while women in the same group experienced a 10 per cent drop.

Growth years between 2004 and 2009, when housing boomed along with oil prices and more young men went to work in Alberta’s oilpatch, couldn’t make up for the losses in real wages that young people have experienced, the report said.

Conservative youth critic Rachael Harder said the federal Liberals should be investing in the oil and gas sector and building pipelines, two of which the government approved last week. That, along with giving young people more lucrative loans to go to post-secondary education, are two things the federal government could do to boost job numbers, she said.

NDP youth critic Niki Ashton said the government should look at ending unpaid internships and ease the debt load students carry out of school. She said the federal government ought to be part of the solution to what she called a crisis: “It’s not a quick fix, but it’s clear that there needs to be leadership.”

The Liberals are spending $219 million this year and next on directly helping young Canadians find jobs through spending on the federal youth employment strategy and a co-op placement program.

Already, student groups are asking the government for millions in new spending to help young people find more work and alleviate the school debt crunch that can hurt them financially in the long-run.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is recommending the government create a part-time jobs program to help students earn money and gain experience while in school. The association’s budget submission says an initial investment of $144 million would create about 20,000 jobs over the course of a school year by providing funding to not-for-profits, public and private organizations to hire students working between 15 and 20 hours a week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Need a knife? There are knives of all shapes and sizes at The Kitchen Store.
Hints from Heloise: Finding a good set of kitchen knives

Dear Readers: A good set of knives in the kitchen is a… Continue reading

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Most Read