In 2020, our Clubs used over 700 Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) grants—and more than half of those placements took advantage of the temporary program changes made in response to COVID-19, including fall/winter extensions and part-time positions.
BGC Canada was pleased to see those changes continue in 2021 and looks forward to working with the federal government on the continued evolution of the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Currently working towards a degree in psychology, with the goal of becoming a child grief counselor, Emily explains that her work with BGC Camrose in Alberta helps her understand developmental psychology and the different ways the kids she works with are impacted by their circumstances.
“The job really challenges me to learn how kids communicate so I can be there for them. A lot of our families are struggling to make ends meet and it is eye-opening to see that kids know what their families are going through.”
The Club helps Emily understand how to support kids in a practical way, which is a valuable addition to her education. While not her first job, working at BGC Camrose part-time thanks to a Canada Summer Jobs grant provides her with experience relevant to her career path.
“When I was a kid, my family didn’t have a lot of money and I didn’t have access to these types of programs—but I know they would have been beneficial. I want to help kids early on so they can get onto a path they’re proud of.”
Rees James, BGC Camrose’s executive director, emphasizes how important it is for charities to have a consistent funding source like Canada Summer Jobs.
“I don’t think we could run summer programs if we weren’t able to get Canada Summer Jobs grants—and it has made an even bigger impact during the pandemic. We weren’t running our standard full-day summer programs because of COVID-19, but thanks to the new amendments in CSJ, we were able to hire people between October and January when we needed more help. And since we’re not running programs all day, it is important to have flexibility with part-time hours.”
Rees finds the Canada Summer Jobs positions to be very effective for young people to get hands-on experience that matches their education and then decide if they are in the right field. He appreciated the change a few years ago that allowed youth that weren’t students to take part in the program—it was an opportunity for them to try something new and see if they wanted to pursue it in postsecondary. He’s personally seen past employees become nurses, teachers, and childcare workers—and, like Emily, several former CSJ employees have continued their careers at the Club.
“I would 100% recommend Canada Summer Jobs for other nonprofits—the fact that we have hired so many young people after the program ends is a testament to the benefits. Just ask Emily!”
After her Canada Summer Jobs part-time employment ended, Emily was hired permanently by BGC Camrose. Most importantly, the job has been a source of stability during the pandemic and while she finishes school.
“I have experienced more anxiety and depression with COVID restrictions, but there is always someone to talk to at the Club—all the staff are like family. And while there have been financial struggles, the Canada Summer Jobs grant allowed me to pay for textbooks and pay down some of my school loans. Our directors have also been working hard to keep the Club afloat and ensure we all have a job. Everyone really cares about the kids and their families and we don’t want to let them down.”