Volume 94, Issue 39

Wednesday, November 8, 2000


NEWS

Students grill Ward 2 candidates

City hopefuls address housing

Ontario put 60,00 students to work

Ryerson getting Star on campus

US elections affect Canada

Board of Control candidates square off on student issues

Planet Me

Ontario put 60,00 students to work

By Lindsay Mattick
Gazette Staff



According to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, many students have the government to thank for the jobs they worked this summer.

Dianne Cunningham, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced last Friday the Ontario Summer Jobs Program helped almost 60,000 young people find work or create their own jobs this past summer, exceeding its target for the fourth straight year, said Ministry spokesperson Dave Raymont.

The Ontario Summer Jobs Program 2000 was targetted to young people from the ages of 15 and up and ran from April to September, Raymont said.

"The concept behind the program is not only to provide income for students, but to allow students a chance to gain valuable experience and to help them decide on a career path," he added.

The program offers an incentive for businesses and community organizations to hire young people for up to 16 weeks, loans to encourage self-employment and positions within Ontario government Ministries and agencies, he said.

But while the Ontario government boasted about its employment assistance to students, Erin George, Ontario chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students, said she questioned the province's achievements.

"If the provincial government really had students' best interests in mind, it would not have enacted legislation such as the minimum wage freeze which has hindered students' ability to earn fair wages," she said.

According to George, unlike British Columbia's provincial government, which has introduced a three phase program of minimum wage increases, the Ontario government's legislation does not serve the interests of students. Ontario may have assisted students in finding jobs in the past five years, but it has also allowed university tuition to increase by 60 per cent and has not raised the minimum wage, creating an impossible burden for students, George stated.

Samantha Johnstone, co-ordinator for Youth Opportunities Unlimited for the London Middlesex area, said while some of the positions offered through the summer job service were minimum wage, the majority of them paid a higher wage. "The program has been very helpful and the feedback we are receiving from employers and students is very positive," she said.

Cathy Pollard, administrative co-ordinator of career services at Western's student development centre said when it comes to finding a job, the early bird gets the worm. "The key to finding a good summer job is to begin the search early, as many of the better-paying jobs are posted early."

Summer jobs are posted on the student development web site, http://sdc.uwo.ca, from as early as December and continue to be posted right through to April, she said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000