VICTORIA, B.C. – Today’s announcement of the Youth Community Partnership program falls short of creating the jobs needed for British Columbia’s COVID-19 recovery and is only an incremental step in the right direction by the provincial government.
“This skills training program is the right idea and very aligned with the economic recovery proposals submitted to government by the B.C. Green Caucus; however, the scale of this program is wildly disproportionate to the situation at hand,” said Adam Olsen, B.C. Green Party interim leader and MLA for Saanich-North and the Islands. “The economic impact of this pandemic has disproportionately affected young people. To only offer up to 500 summer employment opportunities throughout the province is woefully inadequate and significantly limits the potential of this program.”
“As outlined in our Green Recovery<https://www.bcgreencaucus.ca/green-recovery>, all recovery spending must be viewed as a strategic and generational opportunity, underpinned by an unwavering commitment to advance the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Investing in our youth is crucial to B.C.’s recovery, and government needs to take the lead on creating as many opportunities as possible.”
* The provincial government notes that the unemployment rate for youth in BC aged 15-24 was 28.9% in May 2020.
* Compared to May 2019, the unemployment rate for youth has risen 20.2 percentage points.
* This translates, according to Stats Canada, to 147,100 youth in B.C. who are unemployed as of May 2020.
* Of the 147,100 youth who need jobs, only 0.3% will get a position in the Youth Community Partnership program.
“This is a real missed opportunity for government. Economic recovery from COVID-19 is our chance to encourage programs that support younger generations while tackling the climate emergency and advancing reconciliation,” said B.C. Green MLA Sonia Furstenau for Cowichan Valley. “We have a significant opportunity to invest in our communities and become more resilient to future challenges, while empowering our youth with skills and experience.”
This summer the province could have launched a massive restoration movement to match young people in need of work with opportunities to build more resilient communities, advance environmental remediation projects, mitigate wildfire risk, build and repair outdoor trails, or undertake conservation projects like removing invasive plants or repairing fish spawning habitats.
B.C. Green Caucus
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