Issue 32, Volume 85
Feb. 27, 2013
Ontario NDP leader plans to make it simple to land work post-grad
Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath is hoping to bring a new youth employment program to the legislative table.
Horwath, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing the riding of Hamilton Centre, was chosen as NDP leader in 2009.
As the first woman to lead the Ontario NDPs and the second ever female leader with representation in the provincial legislature, Horwath has made waste of glass ceilings and intends to do the same with the minority Liberal government.
“We have heard loudly and clearly from Ontarians,” said Horwath, “They want some action and that is why I really think we can start actually achieving things. People have been on the back burner for far too long; we need to get some results for people. The focus has got to be getting back to business and getting results for
Horwath believes that the lack of job opportunities for youth is creating “pressure where families are torn apart as young people leave.”
For Horwath, the youth retention issue is directly connected to the debt that burdens graduates. Horwath claims that she, if elected, would seek to freeze tuition in an effort to “find the way to ensure that post-secondary education is affordable and of high quality.”
Having toured the province soliciting input from young Ontarians, Horwath is seeking to lower the youth unemployment rate through job creation.
Statistics Canada reports a national unemployment rate for youth (ages 15 to 24) of 13.5 per cent last month compared to seven per cent for adults over 25.
Howath’s brain child is the First Start Program. Aimed at Ontarians aged 16-26, the four-to six-month job placement program would incorporate a training component and subsidize wages to employers, who would only have to pay hires $12 hourly.
While existing programs exist to assist youth, Horwath explained that First Start
“wouldn’t require a lot of hoops to be jumped through or other requirements to be fulfilled. It really is about getting a chance to learn and learn.”
Under the program, employers would pay a certain amount of wage and the government would cover majority of it providing the employer offers both on-site learning and meaningful work experience. Horwath said she would close tax loopholes to fund the program.
“[Ontarians are] more supportive of programs to help young people get their first job than they would allow companies to write-off expensive meals and entertainment for their customers for example.”
Horwath’s success as a woman in politics has been influential to many young women she has met in her recent campus appearances. She is openly excited to know her position creates opportunities and influences young women.
“When you look at all of the municipal councils, provincial legislatures and the federal government, women are still less than 30 per cent representation and that is not a good thing,” said Horwath. “It’s a matter of making sure those other ranks are being equally filled by women.”
Wllile there are six female premiers in the country, Horwath believes that there is
still a need for more women in top electoral positions across Canada.
Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Associate News Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.