Lucie Charlebois showed a diagram and a graph displaying the rates of labour force activity for youth aged 15-24 in Canada. She noted that the labour force participation rate for youth has risen between 1997 and 2001, due to a stronger economy and an increased number of jobs. She then showed a graph depicting unemployment rates in Canada, noting that unemployment rates are much higher for people with disabilities. She discussed the structure of youth employment, noting that the service sector accounts for 75% of all youth employment.
The federal government's Youth Employment Strategy supports initiatives that are designed to help young people between the ages of 15 and 30 make the transition into the labour market. It helps young Canadians prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment by providing work experience opportunities to unemployed and under-employed youth and students, providing access to relevant information on the labour market, and facilitating access to learning. The strategy is a partnership between 14 federal departments and agencies, and also involves the provinces and territories, the private sector, community-based partners, and youth.
HRDC leads the interdepartmental co-ordination in the delivery of a number of Youth Strategy Programs, including international internships, science and technology internships, summer programs, and First Nations and Inuit work experiences.
The Youth Employment Strategy will be repositioned to keep pace with the changing employment needs of youth. Its response for youth must be redirected to help them develop skills for the future and to help those who face the greatest barriers to employment.
HRDC's youth employment initiatives include:
- Youth Internship Canada: A program that provides wage subsidies to employers who provide meaningful work experiences for unemployed and under-employed youth.
- Youth Service Canada: A program that involves youth in community service projects by providing funding to community-based organizations.
- Student Summer Job Action: A program that helps provide summer work opportunities, including providing loans to students starting a summer business.
- Information Initiative: An initiative that develops and disseminates information services and tools for young Canadians.
- Awareness Initiative: An initiative that provides financial support to employers and communities to help them better respond to labour market requirements. Programs include Skills Canada (an organization working to promote trades and technology as first choice career options).
Projects are primarily delivered at the regional and local level, but can be delivered on a national level if they pertain to a key priority or theme.