Ontarians struggling to find good jobs: FIFE

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Economic Development and Employment Critic Catherine Fife says Ontario’s year-end job numbers confirm what too many Ontarians already know: it’s getting harder to find full-time, secure employment in Ontario.

“From December 2015 to December 2016, 74,000 of the 81,000 jobs created in Ontario were part time jobs,” said Fife. “Families in Ontario are struggling. Trying to piece together a decent income from precarious part-time work is only going to make things worse.”

The year-end employment numbers released by Stats Canada this morning show relatively stable job numbers overall in Ontario, though some regions have faced significant challenges. The Greater Sudbury Area, which already had one of the highest unemployment rates in the province, saw its unemployment rate climb to 8.1 per cent in December, from 7.5 per cent in November.

“Families, young people, and seniors are struggling. Ontarians are struggling,” said Fife, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo. “They need good, stable jobs that allow them to support their families and plan for the future. Part-time work – often temporary and precarious – doesn’t allow people to plan for the future, or live up to their potential.”

At 14.3 per cent, Ontario’s youth unemployment rate is nearly two per cent higher than the Canadian average, and is only getting worse. Youth unemployment rate in Ontario increased by 0.8 per cent since November, and is up 0.6 per cent since last year.

New Democrats are calling for a $15 minimum wage, and better labour protections and equal rights for temporary and part-time employees, including student workers.

“These job numbers aren’t just abstract figures. These are real Ontarians, trying to make ends meet,” said Fife. “They deserve a government that puts their needs ahead of Bay Street investors, and works to protect good jobs and make life more affordable.”