Before we can even begin to address whether a student with a summer job can fund their education, we first need to be realistic about the very serious issue of youth unemployment. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:
- The 2013 unemployment rate for Ontario youth between the ages of 15 and 24 ranged between 16 and 17.1%, higher than the average Canadian range of 13.5 to 14.5%.
- Ontario’s monthly youth employment rate – a measure that determines how many young people actually have jobs – fluctuated between 50 to 52%, meaning half of all Ontario youth don’t have jobs.
- Toronto’s youth unemployment rate is 18.1% and its employment rate is 43.5% – the worst of any region in the province.
Once you look at these statistics you realize that there is a good likelihood that many of our young people won’t have summer jobs. Of the ones that do, can a summer job fund education? “Fees are so high that the concept of paying for a university education with a summer job is now just a myth in Ontario”, said Alastair Woods, chairperson of the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students. The number of hours needed to work to pay university tuition in Canada has soared nearly 150% since 1975, according to an analysis from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). It found that students across Canada typically have to work 570 hours at minimum wage to pay a year’s tuition. That’s up from 230 hours in 1975. Ontario is the most expensive province for a university education where it takes 708 hours to pay for a year’s worth of school. In fact Statistics Canada reports that many university students have to work double, triple and in some cases six times the number of hours in minimum-wage jobs to afford tuition costs compared to 40 years ago. These numbers reflect tuition only, not living expenses, books, transportation, etc.
Number Of Work Hours, By Province
This table shows the number of minimum wage work hours required to pay for university tuition, broken down by province.
(Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
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