Evidence of meeting #76 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was program.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

David Burns  Faculty Member, Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Arts, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dan Tadic  Executive Director, Canadian Welding Association
Barb Broome  Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.
Justin Johnson  Chair, Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française
Elise Violletti  Advisor, Special Projects, Personal and Professional Autonomy, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec
Rudy Humbert  Advisor, Entrepreneurship, voluntary work and voluntary action, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Okay.

You talked earlier about a homeless woman who now has a management position.

How should the government set its priorities? Should we focus on young graduates and direct them to technical programs such as welding, for instance?

Should we also reach out to drop-outs? What are your thoughts on that?

4:15 p.m.

Advisor, Special Projects, Personal and Professional Autonomy, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec

Elise Violletti

The services that young people need must definitely be accessible. Regardless of their needs, services must be accessible. Access is really the key to everything.

A graduate can be directed to a program. If that is what they need and what suits them, that is ideal. Young people do not all have the same interests though. We must address the needs of all young people, bearing in mind their different profiles, difficulties, and above all strengths.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

You mentioned that CJEs were helping 60,000 young people.

Are those young people following the regular path, or are they dropouts and youth with social issues?

4:15 p.m.

Advisor, Special Projects, Personal and Professional Autonomy, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec

Elise Violletti

In the youth employment centres....

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Could we get just a very quick answer, please?

4:15 p.m.

Advisor, Special Projects, Personal and Professional Autonomy, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec

Elise Violletti

All kinds of young people frequent Quebec's youth employment centres. Some are young dropouts, but some are also young university students.

What makes youth employment centres special is that they help all young people based on their needs. People who work there focus on young people's needs and on what they are in order to provide them with the services they need.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Thank you very much.

Now we'll go over to MP Morrissey.

Go ahead, please.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Thank you, Chair.

To the witnesses, thank you for coming.

Today the committee is studying a motion put forward by my colleague Madame Fortier, dealing with pathways to employment for Canadian youth.

I want to follow up with Ms. Broome on a line of questioning that Mr. Blaney raised. The one segment of young people for whom the government has to get it right—and as Minister Hajdu said when she appeared before the committee, we cannot afford to lose this segment of young people—is the segment you referred to, Ms. Broome, aged from 17 to 29.

I have a specific question. What is the cost of taking a youth at risk through the program you are operating?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

Are you referring to the Skills Link program that we would have had?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Yes, per individual.

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

The cost is minimal. You would be looking at less than $10,000 for each individual who would start in a program, spend about 10 weeks in a classroom, and get the experience they need there as well as the soft skills and self-confidence to go out and apply for a job. Most of them don't have that ability. We've had so many who have come to the program, and we can't pay them until we lend them the money to go out and get a birth certificate so they can get a social insurance number. It's just not fair when they're being dropped down like that.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

You made a reference to it having been longer, and I recognize that this program was longer. It was reduced in 2015. What was the length of training given prior to that?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

It was 17 weeks.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

At the end of those 17 weeks or the training program we have today, could you outline for the benefit of the committee, the skills that disadvantaged youth have as they exit the program? How are they equipped to make a decision to move forward?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

They leave the program with numerous skills, especially the soft skills that employers are looking for. They learn time management. They learn teamwork. They learn leadership. They learn budgeting. They learn how to express themselves in an appropriate way with an employer. They learn confidence in how to speak with an employer. They learn to research what's out there for employment, and they also learn that there are stepping stones—that you're going to start here today and you're not going to be here tomorrow. They've come to accept the fact of how they are going to get there and what type of job they might need: is it a job to get them started until they get enough EI to qualify for skills funding, so they can go back to school for post-secondary education to take a trade they couldn't take in the past?

When we started these programs, I heard many times, “Well, you can't expect me to do shift work. I'm a single parent.” Well, guess what, they're not the only single parent in the world who has to work shift work, but it takes time for them to realize that, because they're not out in the community. They don't really see that. They get a social assistance cheque once a month and a family allowance once a month; they go out and do their shopping, and that's it.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Has there been any analysis done on the cost of not reaching out to the youth that you identify? They are in similar ranges. Are you aware of any study that's been done that looks at the cost of not reaching out to youth in this category and putting them on a different pathway?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

I'm not aware of a study for that, but it is common sense that if you're taking someone off income support, you are actually saving money for the government.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Let alone incarceration, because of the cost of corrections.

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

That's right. We deal with that too. You talk about incarceration. We have some who come to us who might have a criminal record, and they think they're never going to get a job, that nobody is going to support them. At our centre, we're non-judgmental. If they have to go to court and they're terrified because they may have done something that they're ashamed of, and they don't have family supports, we're there for them. It might mean going to the court and speaking to the judge who might say, “How are they doing? Are they doing well in this program? Do you see any improvement?” Yes, we're there for them.

There's definitely more benefit to helping these youth now before they get so involved in the justice system or on income support. It's very hard to get off income support once they get there. It is really difficult to get them back, because now they've hit the bottom. They have no other resources.

As I said, they're not allowed to go back to school, to upgrade during the day. They're supposed to get babysitters and go at night.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Thank you very much for your presentation, as well as the other one, because it's the young people we have to make sure our programs are reaching.

If you were speaking to the minister today, what is the one policy direction or policy that you would like to see this government adopt to better deal with the youth at risk who you're dealing with?

December 5th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, East Prince Youth Development Centre Inc.

Barb Broome

I would like to see them come to the source. I'd like to see them out on the streets, talking to these youth and asking them what they want. There have been times when a youth forum was taking place in Charlottetown and we'd get an email to send our youth to Charlottetown. How are they going to get there? We don't have transportation, and they don't have the confidence to go there and say how they feel. You have to get these youth while they're young and at the source, where they are. You need to be with them on their level.

You can't be scared to go to the nearest convenience store where there are 15 young fellows standing around and you're terrified to go and talk to them. You're not going to get anywhere if your attitude is to walk in with two police officers, one on each side, for protection. You need to hit these kids at their level and you need to be prepared to go out and talk with the small organizations that work with these kids on a regular basis.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Thank you very much.

Now for six minutes we have MP Sansoucy.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to thank all the witnesses for their presentations.

In Quebec, over a million jobs will be filled within seven years.

I represent a riding experiencing a labour shortage, and I sincerely hope that our study will help us find ways to build a better bridge between available jobs and job seekers.

Having been the director of a housing resource for troubled youth, I am well aware that youth employment centres don't only help troubled youth. There are two such centres in my riding—Espace carrière, in Saint-Hyacinthe, and Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Comté de Johnson, in Acton Vale.

I know that you help dropouts, as well as university graduates who are underemployed. Given our area of jurisdiction, we are more specifically interested in what is being done for young newcomers, but also for young aboriginals.

My first question is twofold.

To your knowledge, are any youth employment centres working with young newcomers or young aboriginals?

If you don't have that information on hand, you could send it to us later.

Our study could also lead us to recommend that more money be transferred to the Government of Quebec and to other provincial governments to support the most promising approaches used with those clienteles.

4:25 p.m.

Advisor, Entrepreneurship, voluntary work and voluntary action, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec

Rudy Humbert

Thank you for your question.

Youth employment centres do work with newcomers. Each centre's identity is rooted in the community. If the centre is located in an area with many newcomers, it will develop that expertise. Montreal can welcome newcomers, but there also many programs that help welcome newcomers in the regions. Youth employment centres are there to help newcomers throughout the process and to show them what resources are available in the community.

Assistance with job searches is available both in the city and in the regions. There are also citizen engagement projects for newcomers. That is one of the best tools we have found to take advantage of all their skills—so they can transfer them—and to inform them of the various resources available in the community.

As for first nations, there are also ongoing projects. Once again, it depends on the youth employment centre in question, but those located in a region that is home to aboriginal communities develop projects with them and with schools. Some examples are student retention and entrepreneurship projects, which have pretty amazing results.

We are particularly concerned about those communities. That is why transformative projects have been created.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Could you help us with our study—without creating a lot of work for yourself—by sending us a description of centres that work with those clienteles?

I make a lot of visits to companies in my riding. People from various work environments are telling me that it would be worthwhile to go back to buddy systems, which help people learn by working with someone. Learning both professionally and socially is beneficial and necessary to job integration.

Do you know whether there are any such programs? Do you think that approach should be developed further?