Yukon government introduces wage subsidy program

A new wage subsidy program will bring Yukoners into the labour market. The program is geared toward people who are unemployed and having trouble finding employment.

A new wage subsidy program will bring Yukoners into the labour market.

The program is geared toward people who are unemployed and having trouble finding employment.

“Here we have the opportunity to develop a local labour pool,” said Anton Solomon, labour market development officer.

Although other programs have the same goal of helping residents get hired, the temporary wage subsidy program helps those who have never filed an EI claim.

“We’re targeting people who can’t access our traditional programs because they don’t have access to employment insurance,” said Solomon.

Only 20 participants will be selected and the Yukon government will cover 60 per cent of level-entry wages, funded through the Canada-Yukon Labour Market Agreement and the Canada-Yukon Labour Market Development Agreement.

That leaves employers paying only 40 per cent of the wage, as well as benefits and insurance.

The program’s budget is $200,000.

Beginning June 14, Employment Central, a job search centre, will match employers with employees. But candidates from both sides have already called to express interest.

“We’re very excited about this and we’re pleased that we’re already getting calls,” said manager Carol Corbet.

The prospective employees include people on parental leave, youth, the elderly or workers with disabilities, she said.

Because of their distance from the labour market, they have missed out on practice in the workforce.

With experience as the first thing employers look for, they wouldn’t normally hire these candidates, said Solomon.

“This is a way to get them work experience in a position they may otherwise not be successful in attaining,” he added.

Although Corbet could not name the businesses taking part in the program, she said they must be from the private sector and have been established for at least one year. They are just as diverse as the prospective employees, Corbet added.

“If we pick a particular kind of job, then we’re going to be picking a particular kind of skill set,” said Solomon.

The program will subsidize wages for 26 weeks or until March 31, whichever comes first, explained Solomon.

It’s up to the employer to continue with its new worker after the subsidy.

“The hope is that it will be a continuing job with the employer,” said Corbet.

Because it’s a pilot project, the wage subsidy program must end before the fiscal year.

But if successful, the government hopes to continue the program next year.

“If the program goes well, it’s another way to engage a labour market pool that is not normally engaged with,” said Solomon.

Contact Larissa Robyn Johnston at larissaj@yukon-news.com.

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