The unemployment rate for students aged 18-24 years old rose by five percent this summer, according to Statistics Canada. This is the highest recorded leap in a decade and a decline of 43,000 student summer jobs in July alone.
Partially the slow economy, and partially slow and unorganized government bureaucracy.
Take the federally funded Canada Summer Jobs Program for instance. It suffers from the same shortage of funding and inefficiencies you feel from your university bursary and scholarship programs.
The program was responsible for creating thousands of jobs for students across Canada. On top of funding shortages, they have been running increasingly inefficient:
- They filter applicant companies long after the start of the summer and don’t issue their answer until well into the summer. This leaves companies little or no time to recruit students even if they qualify.
- The funding is allocated the most to jurisdictions where students live the most. One problem. Most jobs are offered in city centers and urban areas where they are either commercial and non-residential areas or where the rent is unaffordable for students.
So why would they not adapt to the basic facts about students?
And it’s not just the students who are affected by the cuts: The Canada Summer Jobs Program funded many non-profit organizations, community resource centers, research facilities, and social service centers each year. The ability for these crucial services to exist often depends on the influx of funded student summer positions.
Katherine Giroux-Bougard, the National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, released a statement warning of the affects of the student job recession: “With students facing record high tuition fees, summer employment is essential for many students to be able to return to class.”
With tuition fees, student debt, and student unemployment at a historical high, it’s time to get vocal. With no plans to increase funding for the Canada Summer Jobs Program or reduce student debt, the government has left university students out in the cold.
The question is: what are you going to do about it? Here are few hints from the expert anarchist students at locazU:
- - Get out the soapbox and protest on campus. Freedom of speech is the best perk of a democratic society. So use it.
- - Pass around petitions and write letters to local and federal government representatives. Let them know that you exist. Tell them first hand how the lack of funding to the Canada Summer Jobs Program has affected you.
- - Use technology to get the word out. If there’s one thing separating you from “the man”, it’s your expert abilities on the web. You have twitter, facebook, myspace, podcasts, and home-brewed blogs. Never before has it been this easy for students to be heard globally.
- - Become a citizen journalist on campus. Interview students about the lack of federal support for student funded summer jobs. Interview the non-profit organization that had to close down for the summer because you weren’t there to help them run things.
There are many creative ways to fight the recession blues. Cut the excess: trade textbooks with other students to save money. You can keep your university costs low when you buy and sell used textbooks at locazU.
By Ann Schwab