Student group warns young people in 'dire' straits without work
VANCOUVER -- They're servers, camp counsellors, lifeguards and retail employees. And they're the group hardest hit by the pandemic's economic downturn.
New data from Statistics Canada shows young workers from 15 to 24 years old are at an unprecedented unemployment high in British Columbia, and the BC Federation of Students says that could mean a drop in university and college enrollment this fall.
"Students are really facing the same problems that everybody else is facing right now. They are in a lot of the jobs that got laid off or (had) hours reduced," says Tanysha Klassen, chairperson of the BCFS. "They're thinking about going back to school in the fall, but they're wondering now if they could afford it."
Ken Peacock, chief economist and vice-president at the Business Council of Canada, says unemployment figures for the age group are at an all-time high, and it's going to be difficult for many young people to find work this summer.
"That doesn't mean there won't be any jobs, but when you have a 29 per cent unemployment rate - even if you get that down to 20 or 18 or 15, still, that's a high unemployment rate," he says. "I think in that market where there's a big pool of unemployed people, employers who are looking for younger workers to fill positions will be in a position of having a plentiful labour supply and be able to pick workers from a deeper pool."
Students who were planning to work this summer in order to pay for school in the fall may find themselves falling back on the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, but Klassen says the $1,250 CESB isn't enough.
"We are going to see less people going to school in the fall just because of these financial barriers," Klassen says. "There's a whole host of students that don't fall under this umbrella of living with their parents and getting everything paid for."
Klassen estimates that up to 20 per cent of international students won't be returning to class, online or otherwise, come September.
But Peacock says if you're really determined to find work, there's always opportunities for hardworking, young, industrious people.
"I would tell them to go out and apply as much as possible to as many places as they can, but don't take it personally if you find it difficult securing employment in this environment," he says. "There's a lot of people that will probably have more job market experience, so don't get discouraged and just recognize this is a very unique circumstance and many people are going to be challenged finding employment for quite some time. So it is by no means a personal commentary on anyone's skills or anything like that – it's just going to be hard finding jobs."
To start the search, check out the Government of Canada's Job Bank. The youth listings show 1,650 positions up for grabs in the Vancouver area, with more being added every day. Everything from farm hand to web designer positions are posted, aimed at young Canadians from 15 to 30 years old.
Check out more of CTV News Vancouver's Class of 2020 series online, and all week on CTV Morning Live and CTV News at Six.