Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
On April 8, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. The federal government’s purpose in making the changes is to help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s expectation is that its changes to the program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age.
The Canada Summer Jobs program provides wage subsidies to employers from:
- not-for-profit organizations;
- the public-sector; and
- private sector organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees.
The objective of the program is to create quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30 years. Funded employers are not restricted to hiring students; all youth aged 15 to 30 years may be eligible to participate.
Temporary increase to the wage subsidy for public and private-sector employers
Before the temporary changes were made by the government in response to the COVID-19 crisis, only not-for-profit employers were eligible to receive funding for up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. Public-sector and private-sector employers were eligible to receive funding for only up to 50% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. In response to the pandemic, a temporary change has been made to increase the wage subsidy so that private-sector and public-sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
Additional temporary changes
Additional temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program are:
- An extension to the end date of the employment to February 28, 2021. Before this temporary change was made, the end date of the employment was August 28, 2020.
- Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.
- Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis, i.e., for less than 30 hours per week. Before this temporary change was made, employers were required to hire staff on a full-time basis, i.e., for between 30 – 40 hours per week.
Job placements may begin on May 11, 2020 and run through February 28, 2021.
Other matters of note
In announcing its temporary changes to the Canada Summer Job program, the federal government acknowledged that there is still more to do for students and young Canadians and it stated that it will continue to look for ways to support them during the pandemic.
The government noted also that the Canada Summer Jobs program’s call for applications for the 2020 season closed on February 28, 2020. However, it undertook to work with Members of Parliament to identify organizations that provide essential services and could provide jobs to youth but did not apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program by that date.
Finally, the government stated that it has set aside $263 million in funding for the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2020.
Bottom Line for Employers
While not-for-profit employers were always eligible under the Canada Summer Jobs program to receive funding for up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public-sector employers and private-sector organizations are now entitled to double their pre-pandemic wage subsidy (up to 100%) as well, making it easier for them to hire summer staff during the pandemic. In the case of private-sector employers, it is important to note that only those with 50 or fewer full-time employees qualify for the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Furthermore, since the government has stated that it will be attempting to identify organizations that provide essential services and could provide jobs to youth but did not apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program within the 2020 application deadline, we encourage employers that meet this description to consider contacting the federal government for further information.
Employers should keep abreast of further measures that may be announced by the federal government. Finally, employers must ensure that, should they provide jobs to youth under the Canada Summer Jobs program or otherwise, they do so in accordance with the COVID-19 health guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Canada and other relevant public health authorities.