The Canada Summer Jobs program (the “CSJ”) is a lesser known resource for employers being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and that want to hire young workers. The CSJ has recently been expanded to help eligible employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CSJ provides wage subsidies for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers, and small private sector employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees. The CSJ is available when employers hire employees aged 15 to 30 and is intended to help employers create quality summer work experiences for youth.
Generally, the CSJ incentivizes private and public sector employers to hire youth by allowing them to apply for a wage subsidy of up to 50% of the minimum wage applicable in a province or territory, while not-for-profit employers could receive a subsidy of up to 100% of the applicable minimum wage.
On April 8, 2020, the federal government announced a temporary expansion to the CSJ in recognition of the challenges young workers will face in securing summer jobs while many employers are changing their hiring practices at this time. This expansion increases the wage subsidy for all eligible employers, including small private sector employers, to up to 100% of the applicable minimum wage.
In addition, the recent expansion of the CSJ extends the end date for employment in the CSJ to February 28, 2021 from the previous end date of August 28, 2020, which extends the potential benefit of the CSJ to employers well outside of the coming summer months given the likely delayed start of youth summer jobs. Job start dates in the CSJ can still begin as early as May 11, 2020 for employers that have been approved for the CSJ. Further, employers can now adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services and hire staff on a part-time basis under the expanded CSJ.
It has been reported that employers interested in applying for the CSJ that did not meet the original deadline of February 28, 2020 now have a second chance to apply, although as of April 16, 2020 the online application has not yet become available through Service Canada and the government has not yet indicated when or if it will become available again. The government has however announced that while applications to the CSJ for 2020 are now closed, Members of Parliament will work to identify organizations that provide essential services in the community and could provide youth jobs but missed the original deadline for the CSJ this year.
Employers that may become eligible to apply should also note that the application requires them to identify and describe policies and practices they have implemented that demonstrate a work environment that is free of harassment and discrimination, among other requirements such as mentoring and supervision plans, in keeping with the CSJ’s goal of creating quality work experiences for youth.
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.