In Canada Jobless Youth Left Out As Government, Business Look Abroad

A backlash is beginning to appear in Canada against recent changes in wage and immigration rules aimed at attracting workers Canada is looking overseas for young immigrant workers.from the economically depressed Eurozone.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s immigration minister, is redefining the nation’s immigration and wage rules.

Jason Kenney, Canada immigration minister

Jason Kenney, Canada’s immigration minister

The new rules are expected to go into effect next year. The changes are meant to attract workers between the ages of 18 to 35.

Canada’s federal government argues immigration rule changes are needed to fill a tax-generating gap being left by baby-boomers leaving the labor market.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said changes to the system used to evaluate applications by foreign workers will also help to ease a shortage of skilled workers.

Canada’s overall unemployment rate is now at 7.3%. While relatively still high, the overall unemployment rate pales by comparison to Canada’s youth unemployment rate.

Unfortunately, this age group overlaps with the age group the government would like to recruit from overseas.

According to government figures, unemployment among youth (15-25) in Canada in August 2012 was 14.8%, up from 14.3% in July.

Youth Unemployment High In Canada

Like many nations, Canada has a youth unemployment problem. Unlike many other countries, the Canadian government says that despite high youth unemployment, there are not enough skilled workers to fill the available jobs.

From an article in The Financial Post comes these view points from two experts, one an academic and the other the head of agency that helps unemployed youth in Canada—

Gervan Fearon, dean of the G. Raymond Chang School at Ryerson University, said the argument behind the new immigration program is that “these are individuals coming into this society that have skills that can’t be readily found.”

“What’s the role of both industry and government in training those individuals who are currently in the economy to possess the skills to fill those job?”

Mr. Fearon believes many jobless youths either did not finish high school, or did not attend or finish studies at post-secondary institutions, “and those who have degrees but can’t get a job because they lack experience.”

“We know what we’re doing for the few numbers coming in but what’s the policy for the large numbers here?”

and this from the head of a youth employment agency…

But Nancy Schaefer, president of Youth Employment Services, a national agency providing assistance to unemployed youth, said “the government should be investing in young people who are here and encouraging employers to train our young people, so we don’t have this unemployment.”

“The young people that don’t have high school, they’re obviously having to take low-skilled, entry-level jobs. But those are there. You’re talking hospitality, trade, tourism . . . or even the low-end construction jobs. But the problem with those jobs is that they’re temporary, they’re contract and they’re low-paying,” she said.

“Then you got the graduates coming out with sociology degrees, journalism degrees and so forth, and yet they can’t get jobs. But engineers, doctors and accountants, those graduates are still in high demand. But most time, people don’t have those degrees.”

Schaefer adds: “This is not going to go away. Take these young people and invest in their training.

Canadian businesses, often with the assistance of provincial government officials, have been aggressively recruiting skilled workers from Ireland and other European nations.

With unemployment in Ireland at 18.8% percent, immigration is an attractive prospect to many Irish workers. In some southern European nations, government financial austerity measures have pushed unemployment rates to around 25%.

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