Students in Nova Scotia are graduating into one of the weakest labour markets for youth in Canada. Throughout 2016, there were 2,600 fewer youth employed than in 2015. This number fails to capture the number of missing youth jobs that Nova Scotia has yet to recover since the financial crisis in 2008. When normalized for population decrease, Nova Scotia was 4,200 youth jobs short of pre-recession levels. While the Government of Nova Scotia should be applauded for its investment in the Graduate to Opportunities, Student Summer Skills Incentive, Apprenticeship START, and Co-op Education Incentive programs, it is clear that investing solely in job creation programs is not enough.
At times of high youth unemployment, students are especially vulnerable to exploitation in the workforce. High competition for work means that students are forced to take on multiple, precarious, part time jobs. Increasingly students are also forced to work unpaid internships, sometimes even paying to work for free in the hopes of developing experience that will lead to paid work. Government needs to ensure students are fairly compensated for the work they do - to do anything else would be to condone the exploitation of young people. Banning the use of unpaid internships and eliminating the inexperience minimum wage rate will help achieve that.
Students are calling on Nova Scotians to vote for candidates who support:
- Banning the use of unpaid internships
- Eliminating the inexperienced minimum wage rate