Weeks after the deadline to apply, only a handful of employers have been told they’ll have a grant to hire summer help. Many businesses, including farms, have not received news of approvals, even though jobs could have started as early as May 15.

Early in April, and as part of the COVID-19 reaction, the federal government announced a redeployment of Canada Summer Jobs funding including 100 per cent wage coverage. Several of the already approved funding grants could not be used given the mass closures stemming from COVID-19 social distancing. The federal government re-opened the Canada Summer Jobs application process, and extended the deadline once, to May 22.

As of the end of May, it’s unclear how many approvals have gone out to farm applicants, leaving those hoping for help with planting, seeding, and calving, waiting even as this critical part of the production season wraps up.

The Canada Summer Jobs program is administered by the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. The department says the government introduced “greater flexibilities” to the Canada Summer Jobs program in light of the additional challenges brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. These changes help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need. “We have approved over 50,000 Canada Summer Jobs so far and will continue to approve more on a weekly basis. Jobs are posted to the Job Bank website within a few days of approval in order for the position to be filled as quickly as possible. By adapting the program this year, our government is making sure that we have the resources needed to support Canadian workers, businesses, and communities dealing with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19,” a department spokesperson says.

Last week, the federal government also announced a new intake of the Youth Employment Skills program, which provides up to 50 per cent cost share of wages, for projects up to $14,000.

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