Key Trudeau vow to address high youth unemployment rate absent from budget
A notable Liberal election pledge designed to encourage employers to hire young people failed to make the cut in last week’s federal budget.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed during last year’s campaign to offer a 12month holiday on employment insurance premiums to employers who give permanent jobs to people aged 18-24.
The promise, announced in September by Trudeau himself, was supposed to come into force this year and extend through 2017 and 2018 — but it didn’t receive a mention in the budget.
During the campaign, Trudeau noted that the Chretien Liberals did something similar in the late 1990s “to tremendously positive effect.’’
“We saw the number of young people’s jobs spike during those years,’’ Trudeau, who is now the federal minister of youth, said during the campaign stop in Burnaby, B.C., with a group of young people behind him.
“That’s exactly what we need right now given the extremely high unemployment rates for youth.’’
Last month, the country’s unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 was 13.3 per cent, compared to 7.3 per cent for people 15 and over.
The pledge would have also provided financial relief for potential bosses by waiving their EI contributions.
The Liberals estimated the total savings for employers would have been $80 million this year, $80 million in 2017 and $60 million in 2018.
Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said Tuesday his membership was very supportive of Trudeau’s promise to offer EI relief.
“That was one thing that business owners really liked,’’ said Kelly, who was also deeply disappointed the Liberals “deferred’’ another of their pledges to continue reducing the small business tax rate beyond 2016.
“That was the second element of their platform that we applauded and they scrapped that, too.’’