Organizations in Victoria say that critical funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program has been cut down.
April is the start of the busiest time of the year for Capital Bike. The non-profit has a small team that works year-round, organizing large events such as the popular Go-By-Bike Week.
Among the team are students taking part in the Canada Summer Jobs Program — a product of the federal government connecting young Canadians to full and part-time summer employment.
Many non-profit, public, and private sectors apply for wage subsidies from the federal government to pay for their temporary workers.
Capital Bike is one of them. Executive Director Adam Krupper says last year, they hired two full-time workers for 16 weeks. This year, he wanted to hire four full-time workers.
While that was granted, they were only approved for eight weeks.
“This is someone who is going back to school and they’re looking for work the entire summer,” said Krupper. “They have to pay for tuition, they have to pay for housing, they have to pay for books, they have to pay for food.”
“The government has actually cut people’s hours [and] cut the number of jobs that are actually being awarded,” said Victoria Member of Parliament Laurel Collins.
According to data gathered by the program, eligible Victoria-based organizations received over $1.5 million in funding, but that was reduced to $951,065 in 2023.
113 organizations of the 178 who applied in 2022 were granted some of that money. Only 66 were awarded the funding out of the 162 who applied in 2023.
“While we’re no longer in the height of COVID, the impacts on organizations, on businesses, on non-profits in particular are long-lasting,” said Collins.
Kayla Siefried, site manager for the Compost Education Centre, says that this is not the first time they’ve faced this challenge. This year, they received what they asked for but in the past, they weren’t always approved for the number of jobs and weeks they wanted.
One issue they face however, is turning those temporary workers in permanent ones.
“For us to train somebody and have them up to speed on what they need to do, it sometimes takes eight weeks. So, an eight-week contract often takes more from our capacity than it’s offering,” said Siefried.
Collins tells CHEK News that she is travelling to Ottawa next week to advocate for funding level increases.