Posted: Friday, 10 August 2012
OTTAWA – To mark this year’s International Youth Day, August 12th, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is drawing attention to the need for decent work for youth across Canada.
The unemployment rate for youth aged 15-24 across Canada is 15.3%, more than double the national rate. However, when you include young workers who are involuntarily working part-time, the number grows to 20.4%. That means more than 1 in 5 young Canadians are unemployed or underemployed. Unemployment and underemployment early on in their careers affects young people for the rest of their lives. Many will never catch up to the point they would be at if they had not experienced such hardships or gaps in employment at their entry into the labour force.
The creation of decent work for Canadian youth needs to be a priority. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines decent work as work that allows workers to provide a decent life for themselves and their families, contribute to their communities, and have access to social protections such as Employment Insurance when necessary. For many young working Canadians today, decent work is growing increasingly out of reach. They are getting stuck for years in what used to be considered “entry-level” jobs; that is jobs that are low-wage, low-skill and often precarious or temporary.
Education, training and job creation must be priorities for the federal and provincial governments across Canada, along with strengthening social programming that combats poverty. Young working people will fall increasingly behind unless youth employment strategies are deployed across the country to ensure that young people have decent work and good futures.
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.
Amy Huziak, National Representative of Young Workers