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.
Nathaniel has nothing but positive things to say about his Canada Summer Jobs experience at BGC Dawson in Montréal, which led to being hired permanently at the Club. He started out working at their summer camp, organizing activities and supervising the kids in his care, and he emphasizes that the supportive environment and the incredible experience has been life-changing for him.
“This job has really refined my leadership skills and taught me how to communicate better with the kids and with my team—very different from the kinds of skills I learned in previous jobs.”
Nathaniel lives with his grandparents, who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, so being able to run virtual programs was very important.
Plus, he’s able to work part-time hours while he’s in school studying Community and Recreation Training.
“After my first summer working at the Club, I developed a passion for community work and it inspired me to start studying Community and Recreation. It’s great to have a job that pairs so nicely with what I’m learning in school.”
For Nathaniel, the Canada Summer Jobs program was crucial in helping him find a career path and develop as a professional in his field. Chad Polito, executive director of BGC Dawson, couldn’t agree more.
“I’m grateful that the government invests in youth and their first employment experience—plus it’s a great way to help nonprofits. It’s just hugely beneficial all around.”
Chad explains that BGC Dawson couldn’t run their summer camp and other programs without the Canada Summer Jobs grants. They’ve counted on the funding for years to keep program costs down and more accessible for families. This past year alone, the Club was able to offer employment to 17 youth through the program, representing over 5,000 hours of on-the-job time.
Most importantly, the flexibility of offering the grants later in the year was crucial. With COVID-19 restrictions, the Club wasn’t offering full-time summer programs and they would have lost the Canada Summer Jobs funding. Instead, they were able to move the funding to the fall and provide more programs for Club members. This was particularly important this year since the nonprofit sector has been hit hard economically by the pandemic—moving CSJ positions to the fall kept program costs lower and provided services that were needed in the community.
Both Nathaniel and Chad strongly recommend the Canada Summer Jobs program.
“We get youth that are studying in a lot of different areas—social work, social science, early childhood education, teaching—and I can see that on-the-ground experience makes a huge difference,” says Chad.
Nathaniel agrees and takes it a step further. “You really bond with the kids—you’re spending so much time with them that you develop a strong attachment. When I was going home on the last day of summer camp, all the kids jumped on my backpack to prevent me from leaving!”
“It has really sparked a passion to continue working in this field and making a difference for young people.”