Hon. Diane Bellemare: Welcome, minister. Canada’s Official Poverty Dashboard of Indicators includes an indicator for youth, specifically the percentage of Canadians aged 15 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training. This indicator, known as NEET, sits at 11.4% in Canada, which is high, considering there is a labour shortage.
According to data from a recent poll I commissioned with Angus Reid, 64% of young people would support federal funding for a job pathway program that would be managed by the provinces. The European Union funds those types of programs through the reinforced Youth Guarantee, to reduce the NEET.
As the minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy, would you be prepared to advocate for such a strategy to your colleagues? Also, how do you propose addressing this issue?
Hon. Karina Gould, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development: Thank you for the question, Senator Bellemare. I think I will have to do more research on this topic, since this is the first time I’ve heard about this initiative.
However, I think that what’s important is to understand why young people are in this situation. We also need to identify the most appropriate strategies here in Canada to help them and to support their ambitions.
I thank you for raising this issue, but I will have to do more research on the subject.