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CNE will hire 4,000 by mid-August, students to get most jobs

By Joanna Rees

Students hoping to earn last-minute cash before school starts might find relief working at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).

The CNE is hiring 3,000 students this summer for close to 4,000 temporary jobs. But on the CNE employment centre’s opening day — July 24, more than 600 students showed up for just 110 positions.

“Heads are ringing with the idea that the early bird gets the worm,” said Christianne Warda, a supervisor at the Canada Employment Centre for Students.

Warda said most CNE employers post jobs after they have set up their booths in August, and additional positions are posted later in month after independent exhibitors have set up. Last year less than 10 per cent of the jobs available were posted in the CNE employment centre’s first week.

The CNE mainly hires students, ranging from 14-year-olds to post-secondary students. For most of them, working at the Exhibition is their first job. Students are likely to do shift work and have a 35-hour week: Positions at the CNE pay from a minimum wage to $10 an hour. Positions at the Exhibition range from cleaners to information kiosk attendants, and gate staff. 

University and college students usually work as liquor servers and take later shifts. The Exhibition prefers to hire returning student employees because they require little training. More than 900 jobs this year were filled by returning employees before the CNE employment centre opened.

Despite rumours of poor treatment of students by some employers at the CNE, the Canada Employment Centre believes that working at the Exhibition is no worse than working anywhere else.

“It’s a really good three weeks for students because you can make a lot of quick cash,” said David Chang, a first-year Waterloo University student making money for his tuition.

However, Chang says it is hard work. “It’s a tough atmosphere, there is so many people to work with and it gets hectic in peak season.”

The Canada Employment Centre for Students is holding sessions on Aug. 10, 17, 24, and 31 between 9:30 a.m. and noon to encourage students to discuss any problems with a lawyer. Warda finds “students are afraid to voice a concern” when they have a problem. Most of the complaints come from students experiencing payment problems.

The Exhibition also holds food-handling and work safety seminars for employees of the 18-day fair.

The CNE employment office will remain open until Sept. 1.

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