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Canada Summer Jobs program gets $1M boost this year (4 photos)

Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes says many future municipal employees get their start through the federal program

The summer weather is here, so it's time to put more young people to work while also finding some of the leaders of the future.

The Canada Summer Jobs program continues to grow and the federal initiative is no different this year, with more than $1 million in funding unveiled for a multitude of jobs in north-end Barrie as well as Springwater and Oro-Medonte townships. 

Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall made the announcement Monday morning at Barrie City Hall. 

"This is a program that we're very proud of," the local MP said. "It invests in young people and it invests in local business, but more than that, it also invests in our local charities. As the member of Parliament, I get the opportunity to determine what our priorities are, and we consistently make our priorities tourism, not-for-profits and municipalities."

As part of the federal government's Youth Employment Strategy, the Canada Summer Jobs program is aimed at people between the ages of 15 and 30 years old in order to acquire new skills and work experience they need to successfully enter the labour market. 

The program, which began in 2006, has grown from $734,000 in funding for more than 79,000 hours of work through 212 approved jobs in 2016 to more than $1 million this year with 101,000 hours and 304 jobs. 

The $1.046 million is an increase of $300,000 over last year, which will add around 100 new jobs in the local area. 

The objective is to spread the funding evenly throughout the riding, Nuttall said. 

"When we choose private-sector businesses, it's in places where there are no government institutions," he said, adding some of the funding in the city will be used to help clean up parks, for example. 

"One of the things I love about investing in our municipal partners is that they're also able to provide things like day camps," Nuttall added. "Some of the changes we've seen in the City of Barrie, in terms of recreation services and their day camps over the years, is incredible to see and I'm a huge fan of that."

Other recipients include local churches and public health organizations, such as the Gilbert Centre. 

"There's a wide range of organizations," Nuttall said. "It allows those organizations to find those young leaders and invest in them and take young people to the next level."

Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes said "one of the really refreshing things" is to see future municipal employees getting their start through programs such as Canada Summer Jobs. 

"It also helps deliver a phenomenal level of service to our community because, during the summer in particular, we're short-staffed in some area, with staff on holidays," Hughes said. "I believe that investment is among some of the greatest returns of taxpayers' dollars."

Springwater Township Mayor Don Allen commended Nuttall for his work on bringing the funding to local municipalities.

"The result, initially, was quite a bit less than the ask," Allen said. "He went to bat for all of us to have it revisited, which was very much appreciated."

In Springwater, the funding will directly help around 35 students, Allen said.