Several of the provincial government’s ministries have pooled their resources to offer an incentive for businesses to employ summer students.
But businesses in Northern Ontario are getting less incentive.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines are offering the Student Summer Services Program, which offers a wage subsidy of $2/hr to businesses to hire a summer student between 15-24 years old.
The MNDM is in charge of delegating the money in Northern Ontario, up to $840 a business (420 hours of labour). But businesses in southern Ontario have been able to apply for up to $1,120 (560 hours), which is one-third more funding.
Frank Bastone, MNDM co-ordinator for Northwestern Ontario in Sioux Lookout, said the discrepancy exists because the ministry was allocated a certain amount of money to create 4,000 jobs.
“Dividing the number of dollars by the numbers of jobs we came up with $840,” he said. “It’s not industry specific. Any employer is eligible to apply.”
But Gary Sliworsky, the ag and rural rep at the OMAFRA office in Emo said you shouldn’t get a reduced grant to hire summer help because of where you live.
“It doesn’t appear to be fair to me if that’s what’s being done,” he noted.
Sliworsky said he noted the discrepancy in the MNDM’s press release and his own ministry some time ago. He’s also sent some queries up the chain of command as to why the difference.
“I asked the question but I haven’t got a response,” he said.
Bastone said the MNDM is accepting applications for the full $1,120 subsidy on a case-by-case basis but so far the applications which have come in have not been over the advertised $840 amount.
He also hoped northern employers take advantage of the subsidy regardless of the specific amount.