Ontario’s NDP Tables Motion to Create 27,000 Paid Co-op and Internships for Province’s Young People

“Young people should expect more from their government, not less, and an opportunity to build their best life in Ontario.” – NDP Official Opposition Youth Engagement critic Faisal Hassan

A News Release from Ontario’s Official Opposition and New Democratic Party

Posted February 27th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park—NDP Official Opposition Youth Engagement critic Faisal Hassan (York South-Weston) said that too many young people are still finding it difficult to land their first paid job and get the experience that they need to build a career.

This Wednesday, February 27th  Hassan announced a motion calling on the government to create 27,000 new paid work opportunities for students, recent graduates or unemployed youth to get the real life work opportunities that they need to build a good life in Ontario.

“Imagine a province where students and youth that work hard actually get a shot to build their best life in Ontario,” said Hassan. “Years of Conservatives and Liberals robbed young people of this chance, and created an environment where there are just too few entry level jobs to go around.

“Young people should expect more from their government, not less, and an opportunity to build their best life in Ontario.”

In January of 2019, the youth jobless rate — the rate of young people actively looking for work and unable to find it — was a staggering 11.2 per cent, well above the rest of Ontario’s labour force. Hassan’s motion would see opportunities created in the public and private sector, including opportunities in the skilled trades.

“Ontario’s been headed in the wrong direction for a long time with more and more debt being piled on students, and fewer and fewer paid jobs for students and young people,” said Hassan. “That’s why I’m calling for the creation of 27,000 new, paid work opportunities for students, recent graduates and unemployed youth.”

Hassan’s motion will be debated on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Queen’s Park.

An Afterword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

In recent years, I have met a number of young people who were near the end of their work in earning a degree at a college or university, who talked about unpaid internships they were in the process of doing in order to receive their degree.

These students said that the college or university where they were studying for their degree  made it mandatory for them to do co-ops or internships at public or private businesses or institutions in the community – often for hundreds of hours without pay – in order to fulfill the requirements of the college or university to receive their degrees.

These were students who were already heavily in debt due to the cost of post-secondary education in this province and country, now being made to spend hundreds of hours doing the same work that many other paid employees in the community are doing – and doing it for no pay.

The institutions that set the requirements for earning a college or university degree these days may call this a co-op or an unpaid internship. As someone who earned my Honours B.A. and Master’s degree at universities in the 1970s without being forced to do that, I call it a form of exploitation and slave labour.

I think today’s young people face enough challenges that many from my baby boomer generation did not have to face during better times for job opportunities and the economy.

This business of making them doing the same kind of work that paid worker are doing, and making them doing it for hundreds of hours for no pay, and often leaving no time left for them left for working at a part-time job where they would earn money to pay for their schooling, is not fair and it ought to be made illegal in the Province of Ontario.

What is being proposed above looks like a positive step in that direction and hopefully it will receive the support of all three parties in the Ontario legislature.

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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