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Today: Young Ontarians Take Aim at Chronic Unemployment and Underemployment

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's youth jobless rate is among the highest in Canada, prompting more than 100 young workers, students and community organizers to gather in Toronto today to outline practical policy solutions for youth un- and underemployment.

"The employment crisis we face in this province runs deep, and it won't be solved by telling young workers and recent grads to simply pick up their boot-straps," said Ontario Federation of Labour Young Workers Vice President Matt Dumas.

The day-long Enough with Un(der)employment forum includes presentations by young workers sharing their personal job market experiences; discussions on the need to better regulate and monitor unpaid internships; ensuring that youth employment strategies pay special attention to vulnerable communities; how unions can play a more direct role in the lives of young workers; and the need for governments to establish practical job creation policies, beyond wage subsidies and seed money for small business.

CJ Hanlon, a 27-year old shop steward for Unifor Local 1075 working at the Bombardier rail car facility in Thunder Bay, said the province's Buy-Canadian transit policy is one example of a practical solution to the jobs crisis in his community.

"More than 500 young people are working today in highly-skilled, good-paying jobs in Thunder Bay because there's a made-in-Canada criteria on cities who buy public transit vehicles," said Hanlon. "I'm proof that this sort of industrial job creation strategy works."

The forum also includes special presentations by Generation Jobless documentary filmmakers Sharon Bartlett and Maria LeRose, and coincides with the release of a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, entitled The Young and the Jobless. The report reveals that the jobless rate for young workers in communities like Windsor, Oshawa, Brantford and London tops 20 percent, which is similar to extraordinary youth unemployment rates seen in crisis-stricken European nations.

The forum also addresses a lack of access to education and training in Ontario, and how these challenges intersect with a poor jobs market.

"High tuition fees, unprecedented levels of student debt and a dismal job market are putting Ontario youth in crisis," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Without decisive change from policy makers to create jobs and improve access to education and training, our generation is destined to be worse off than our parents'."

The summit is being co-hosted by Unifor, the Ontario Federation of Labour, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Ontario Office, Canadian Labour Congress, Workers United, and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

A copy of the The Young and the Jobless can be found on the CCPA Ontario website: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/ontario

SOURCE Unifor the union