The Eyeopener sent three reporters to the Good Jobs summit at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). The summit, from Oct. 3 to 5, focused on what could create better employment in Canada.
By Stephanie Phillips
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy welcomed the community to a conference aimed at solving one of Canada’s biggest problems — creating good jobs now and in the future — during the opening remarks of the national Good Jobs Summit at the MAC on Oct. 3.
“We need bold and innovative ideas,” said Levy.
The Good Jobs Summit sought to create national dialogue between students, workers, employers, governments and community organizations to find solutions and new approaches to jobs and the economy.
Ryerson Students’ Union President Rajean Hoilett also spoke during the opening remarks.
“Students are concerned about unemployment for youth. Students are concerned about the increasing cost of education, poverty wages, being forced into the position of unpaid work in the form of internships and placements and students are concerned about accessing affordable housing and transportation across the city,” he said.
Hoilett is also a social work student at Ryerson and has to take a mandatory unpaid placement in his third and fourth years.
Leader of the Liberal Party Justin Trudeau also attended the summit.
When asked, what he would do to create job security for people fresh out of school, Trudeau said, “[we would] make sure you are creating a situation where [students] can get out of school without massive debts, [students] can gain way into the workplace and [students] need to be given a sense of what the job market is going to be able to provide for them, because job security doesn’t come from loyalty to a single company.”
By Nitish Bissonauth
After the welcome ceremony, the weekend-long summit kicked off with a debate Friday night from a panel of familiar faces often seen on CBC The National’s Bottom Line.
Thinkers and economists Jim Stanford, Todd Hirsh, Preet Banerjee and Kaylie Tiessen all squared off to tackle the question of what makes for a good job in the Canadian economy.
Approximately a thousand people were on hand to listen and take part of the conversation, including Unifor (the Union for Canada) National President Jerry Dias and federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau.
Minutes before the debate, Trudeau said that if he was elected as prime minister, his focus would be on fostering partnerships with institutions in order to create a path of success for students.
“We need to make sure that the partnerships we create between institutions, in particular, like Ryerson, understand the importance of connections to the work force through co-op programs and corporate partnerships,” Trudeau said.
Dias said the debate couldn’t happen at a better time and that the conversation was long overdue.
“We are in a crisis here in Canada when it comes to unemployment. We need to start and have this conversation, this debate if we ever want to find a solution,” Dias said.
Before the debate, RSU President Rajean Hoilett said he was excited for some fruitful discussion about good job strategies and also defended the RSU for interrupting an event at the Digital Media Zone on Sept. 24, where the Ontario government announced a $1.2 million investment into the job board Magnet.
“I think that a strategy for good jobs in this country not only includes creating job portals for students but addressing real things like the tuition framework in place by the Liberal government that includes a three to five per cent fee increase on already high tuition fees,” Hoilett said.
Each of the panelists had their own ideas of possible solutions throughout the hour-long debate.
Tiessen suggested that the government should raise minimum wage and look into a living wage policy.
“We also need to make sure government is a good role model, that they stop the freeze of employment in the public sector. If they’re not hiring, what example does that give to the private sector?” he said.
Hirsh suggested that young people venture overseas or to different parts of the country.
“You’ll come home a richer person by seeing the world in different lenses…I know parent’s are worried if their kids won’t come home…people will come home, they don’t want to flee this country,” Hirsh said.
At the end of the debate, the panel did not come up with a definitive solution. They did, however, break the ice for a conversation that continued throughout the duration of the summit.
By Erika Dreher
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the MAC on Oct. 4 to speak about how the provincial government plans to improve the job market as part of the Good Jobs Summit.
“When we factor social, environmental and financial outcomes into our bottom line, what we’re saying is, people don’t just work in service of the economy, but the economy has to work in service of the people,” Wynne said.
Wynne emphasized the province’s job infrastructure throughout her speech.
“Infrastructure renewal is so important to this province’s future. It stands as a pillar in our economic plan,” Wynne said. She reminded the crowd of the $130 billion the provincial government is putting into infrastructure over 10 years, which she said creates 110,000 “good jobs” every year.
Another focus of Wynne’s speech was jobs for students.
“I understand that is it our collective responsibility to make sure that young people have access to the post-secondary system, and so we will continue to work to make our post-secondary system more accessible,” she said.
Wynne said the Ontario government’s recent $1.2 million investment into Magnet, a not-for-profit social network that connects jobs to people and was co-founded by Ryerson graduates, was an example of how the government is .
“[Magnet] is a [part of a] $295 million investment in good jobs for young people.” Wynne said about the initiative. “We are making sure that young people have accurate information about the job market as they make decisions about their future.”