When it comes to summer employment for youths, a normal year would yield a wide array of openings in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
However, 2021 isn’t a normal year as the pandemic forges on and a current stay-at-home order with restrictions remains in place across Ontario.
That said, there are still jobs out there for youths for the summer and according to officials with the Workforce Development Board (WDB), job opportunities will likely ramp up even more once restrictions are pulled back.
“If last summer is any indication, once some of these restrictions are lifted, we’re expecting quite a strong surge in hiring demand from our local businesses,” Sean Dooley, WDB Labour Market Information Analyst, said.
Dooley said once restrictions lifted last summer, there were a number of retail and food and accommodations job openings locally.
But he cautioned it created a timing crunch due to seasonal businesses needing to hire so close to the summer.
“A lot of these businesses will have to ramp up quickly and there’s not a lot of time to lead up to the summer, this will place a large burden on those businesses where they rely on those summer months as a strong part of the local economy.”
On Wednesday, the federal government announced a $2.5-million investment in the Canada Summer Jobs program to create 711 youth jobs in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
“We’re giving young people in our community meaningful work experiences and we’re giving employers incentives to hire them to help them get online, if that’s what the business needs or improve outreach,” said Maryam Monsef, Peterborough-Kawartha MP and Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.
The funding this year is more than double the annual funding support offered by the feds.
For the first time, positions can be part-time and extend beyond the traditional summer season.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the maximum wage subsidy for employees will be 75 per cent instead of the normal 50 per cent, with charities and not-for-profits receiving a 100 per cent subsidy.
The WDB and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) are utilizing this program to hire for their agencies as well.
The WDB is hiring a research assistant and marketing assistant, while PKED is hiring six students.
“To help with our business count survey and help our travel counsellors help our visitors when they come to the region when it’s safe to do so,” said PKED president & CEO Rhonda Keenan.
A search of the Government of Canada Job Bank on Thursday yielded 827 results for seasonal employment around the Peterborough area.
“I know there are a number of summer programs available for youth and some youths are getting those jobs. I have friends that have kids in that youth age that are looking for summer jobs that are finding employment,” Keenan said.
“We’ll see what happens with the hospitality industry and as we open the economy a little bit more, more of those jobs will become available as well.”
PKED has also opened its Summer Company Program, an entrepreneurship program geared to youth that are returning to school.
“It gives them a chance to be their own boss, with their own business idea and put it into action. They get a little bit of startup funds to get their business kickstarted. They can work it all summer long and have workshops to build out a business plan and put it into action. They then get a little additional funding at the end to carry on,” Keenan added.