“Who here has worked two or more jobs at the same time?” asked Roxanne Dubois, a staff member at Unifor and former Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) chair, to over 30 people, most under 30 years old, in a conference room at Ryerson University.
Almost every single person raised his or her hand. “And who here is in an union?” Significantly fewer people raised their hand. “And who works evenings and weekend?” she asked finally. Again, almost every hand went up. She, nor anyone else attending the Youth Un(der)employment Forum — a day long event to discuss youth unemployment — seemed surprised by the result.
DuBois’s quick poll represents a microcosm of the situation young workers across Canada are facing. A recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report found that Ontario’s unemployment levels are twice as high as the overall provincial youth unemployment rate. Canada wide, youth still face challenges even where the unemployment rate is lower. Full time, entry-level work has become difficult to find, so when young people work — if at all — they cobble together resumes with a mix of part-time and casual employment, internships, advanced degrees and volunteer hours.
It was exactly this issue that the organizers behind the Youth Un(der)employment Forum were hoping to not only address, but start finding solutions too.
“What we really wanted to do was push the conversation a step forward and start thinking about solutions,” said Brynne Sinclair-Waters, a researcher at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), one of the organizations behind Friday’s forum. The event was a chance for young people to share some of their own challenges finding work and start a dialogue about how to approach these problems.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at
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