OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are falling short of their promise to create thousands of green jobs for young Canadians.
On the campaign trail just over one year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to create 5,000 green jobs for young Canadians annually, with thousands slated to be guides and interpreters at Parks Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club in Toronto on Feb. 12, 2016. (Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)
The pledge was part of a larger strategy to give young workers more opportunities to earn money and to combat youth unemployment rates that were double the national average.
Despite pouring millions into the federal youth employment strategy in their first budget, figures provided from Parks Canada show the agency employed 1,636 students this past summer, an increase of 435 over the students employed during summer 2015 — but only one-third of the total promised by Trudeau.
The green jobs the Liberals promised are expected to surpass 2,000 by the end of the fiscal year next March, based on figures provided by Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the federal youth employment strategy. The final tally won't be known until fall 2017, the department said.
Parks Canada warned federal officials
Internal government documents suggest the result shouldn't have surprised the government and warn that Parks Canada may be unable to help meet the promise in the remaining three years of the Liberals' mandate.
The agency warned federal officials shortly after the election that it was going to have "significant capacity challenges" in meeting the campaign commitment of hiring 5,000 young people as guides and interpreters.
The concern was mentioned as part of a briefing note provided to a senior official at Employment and Social Development Canada in November, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
Parks Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NDP also pledged to help youth
It was during a campaign stop one year ago in Burnaby, B.C., that Justin Trudeau promised to create 125,000 jobs annually for young Canadians by spending $1.5 billion over four years on the youth employment strategy.
The commitment came just one day after NDP Leader Tom Mulcair promised to spend $400 million over four years to create more than 40,000 youth jobs, paid internships and co-op placements.
The Liberals' first budget included $165.4 million for the youth employment strategy, but didn't tie any specific employment figures to the money.
Last week, the government announced $35 million for 96 programs as part of the youth employment strategy that will fund 3,400 jobs for youth, people with disabilities and immigrants looking for employment.