June 03, 2016 - 9:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A federal jobs program announcement is nothing but a shell game, according to a local business leader.
Steve Puhallo, executive director of the North Shore Business Association, says the federal government should be ashamed of how it has played politics with the Canada Summer Jobs program, as they announced doubling the number of positions, but lowered the number of hours those positions would get.
“It’s a shell game, it’s smoke and mirrors,” he says. “It’s a political good news story that’s completely fake.”
The business association was approved for two positions this summer, which was typical. However, the time funded by the government was chopped by 45 days, compared to past years.
The association was already in the midst of hiring for the positions when they found out about the decreased days.
Puhallo says everyone using the program is affected, not just the business association. He spoke to a civil servant who explained they were told to double the placements but cut back the hours.
The funding for positions at the business association will now run out in mid-July instead of August.
The two young women hired by the association this summer were told about the funding issue and both agreed to come aboard anyways. The association is looking for ways to afford to keep them for the original length of time.
Despite the federal government’s claim their plan will increase jobs, Puhallo says it’ll have the opposite effect in Kamloops, as the business association will probably only apply for one position next year, to make sure the student can stay the whole summer.
For the association the two summer students work on a variety of administrative tasks, in particular the associations Overlanders Day in October. Puhallo says he typically encourages students to take ownership of the event, but this year volunteers and staff will have to work harder to pull it off. The student positions double the associations staff in the summer.
The federal government announced the doubling of the Canada Summer Jobs program to 70,000 positions in February and added 7,000 more in June, according to media releases.
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