North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney

North Island-Powell River MP hopes student grant money spent on job opportunities

It’s not too late to use funds from the cancelled WE student service contract to create local jobs for students.

That’s the message from North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney in a letter delivered to the government ministers of Finance, Youth, and Employment.

While much of the attention around the WE scandal focused on the awarding of the contract and the involvement of the prime minister and former finance minister in the process, it has also meant that the Canada Student Service Grant failed to launch. In her letter, Blaney recommends reallocating all of the $900 million that was supposed to benefit students and community organizations to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. The program was extended this year in response to COVID-19 to cover a greater share of student wages and to allow job placements to continue through February 2021.

“The initial [CSJ] grant allocation in my riding left nearly $750,000 of unmet demand from employers… representing good jobs for students that have not been created,” Blaney states in the letter. “Using the CSSG funds to award additional Canada Summer Job grants could provide additional opportunities for the many students who aren’t returning to full-time studies in the fall for financial or health reasons, and it would support more local employers as they try to survive and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.”

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