Day 5: Jobs and Skills Training
Coming to the end of a degree is a great accomplishment. For many, it is also a time of great stress as they begin to look for employment. ‘Not enough work experience, not educated enough, not enough training,’ – these are all things that have run through my mind as I prepare to enter the workforce. Every other campaign issue really leads back to jobs. Without a job, we can’t afford housing, can’t get insurance for health care, or don’t have enough money to make clean energy choices. Jobs and skills are a vitally important issue for students today.
There are a number of ways that the Liberal party wants to support entrepreneurs and those in search of jobs. The unemployment rate under the Liberals has declined and remained incredibly low. In fact, Canada added 54,000 new jobs in September and the unemployment rate is down to 5.5 per cent according to CBC. In this election, however, the Liberals intend to pay close attention to supporting startups and entrepreneurs. According to their platform, they plan to create the “Canada Entrepreneur Account, administered through the Business Development Bank of Canada, to provide up to 2,000 entrepreneurs with as much as $50,000 each to launch their new businesses.” As well, they plan to cut costs for small business owners and eliminate the “swipe-fee” for credit cards, saving business owners almost $500 million a year in fees.
Since the Conservatives have now released their platform, Andrew Scheer has outlined a number of key promises which he says will create and improve Canadian jobs. Scheer plans to exempt spouses from tax increases on family businesses in order to “recognize the contributions and sacrifices that families make to running a business.” Next, the Conservatives plan on restructuring the Express Entry Program, a system used to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. Additionally, they plan to rework the Temporary Foreign Workers program. Oil also makes up a large part of the platform on jobs as they have promised to end foreign oil imports and to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Conservatives intend for this construction to create a large number of jobs for builders and oil workers. In another attempt to support economic immigration, Conservatives say they will “work to keep the best and brightest talent in Canada after they finish university” by creating a plan to match students with jobs in Canada. Finally, the Conservatives intend to establish success measures for the money and time that the government currently spends to prepare Canadians for the workforce. They will work with schools to ensure that the academics reflect the demands of today’s workforce to set students up to succeed. More information is available in the Conservatives newly released platform.
Despite needing to navigate an incredibly non-intuitive website to understand the NDP’s plan for Canada’s jobs, I believe I have pinpointed what may be the most important aspects of their proposal. According to their website, the NDP plans to “change EI rules to allow workers who quit their job to go to school to qualify for EI benefits, so that families can count on some income support during that period of transition back to school.” They will require companies to spend at least one per cent of their payroll on training employees and streamline access to government export services for small businesses to make it simpler to break into foreign markets. Finally, they plan on creating 300,000 new jobs and implementing a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour that will cover over 900,000 workers. For more on the NDP jobs plan, try to figure out how to navigate the website.
While the Green party’s platform has been quite simple to navigate up until now, they have worked their promises on jobs into multiple sections of their website. From what I can deduce, an important part of how they will support those in the employment sector is through the creation of clean jobs. The Green party has three main promises when it comes to jobs. They will protect workers whose incomes and work lives are being, and will be, disrupted by artifical intelligence and the transition away from fossil fuels. They will enable the creation of new jobs in the green econom. And, finally, they will be facilitating the transition of workers from shrinking sectors into those jobs. While they don’t list much on how they will go about doing this, they include a number of smaller initiatives on jobs within their platform such as establishing a Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund and creating a Community and Environment Service Corps, to provide $1 billion annually to hire Canadian youth.