Liberals merge youth employment programs in revamped jobs strategy

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OTTAWA — Myriad federal programs aimed at helping young people get footholds in the job market are being merged as part of a revamped youth employment strategy.

The changes unveiled today are meant to make applying for money simpler and to broaden the number of groups receiving government funding.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says the one-window application system will have department officials link groups with funding, instead of making organizations wade through various programs with multiple funding streams.

She says there will also be “additional rigour” required of groups to show they are providing appropriate mentoring and supports to young workers, particularly vulnerable groups like Indigenous youth and recent immigrants.

That could mean some groups that have regularly received funding will find themselves on the outs, while those that never received funding before suddenly find themselves with up to $5 million annually for a national project, or up to $3 million for a regional project.

Left untouched in the changes is the Canada Summer Jobs program, which an expert panel recommended become a year-round program.