OTTAWA — More young people than ever before are getting work this summer through a federal jobs program, more than the government itself planned for this year.
The federal government says it has approved more than 7,000 additional jobs for the Canada Summer Jobs program on top of the 70,000 planned for 2016.
Among the hires are a number of newly arrived Syrian refugees, aboriginals, and youth with disabilities, although the exact breakdown of those figures is not immediately available.
The government had pledged in the budget to add $339 million over three years to the summer jobs program to double the number of placements each year for students working at not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
Applications from small businesses to hire summer students through the government program was up almost one-third from last year.
In all, there will be 13,373 students working at small businesses this summer, a four-fold increase from last year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released the figures Thursday at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, which plans to hire 20 students to help with its research wing.
The funding is part of a larger government push to create jobs for young people, who face an unemployment rate of about 13.1 per cent based on Statistics Canada data.
The Liberals vowed during the election campaign to create 40,000 new jobs a year for youth and waive employment insurance premiums for 12 months for any employer who gives a full-time job to anyone between the ages of 18 and 24.
The Liberals didn't follow through on the EI pledge in their first budget.
Instead, they said they would create a youth advisory council that would report to Trudeau and set up an expert panel on youth employment that would provide a report by December to Trudeau and Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk.