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Wage subsidy requests on the rise

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Applications for federal wage subsidies are on the rise in the Rainy River District, with the Human Resources office here pulling in 76 applications from employers looking to hire students this summer under the Summer Career Placement Program.

Fifty of those applications were from Fort Frances area (from Mine Centre to the Manitoba border and north to Nestor Falls), up from the 43 received last year.

But that may not mean more summer jobs for students. In fact, there may be less.

Myron Hawrylak, partnership consultant with Human Resources, said the budget at the Fort Frances office equalled last year’s--$59,000 for the Fort Frances area and $22,000 for the Atikokan area.

That funded 14 positions in the Atikokan area last year and 38 in the Fort Frances area.

But this year, private-sector employers will see a jump in the amount they are subsidized. One-third of the dollars will go to subsidizing the private sector, which will see a $3.40 per hour subsidy (that’s up from last year’s $2.50).

One-third of the funding will go to the non-profit applicants, who are subsidized 100 percent of the wage for eight weeks. The municipal sector will receive the remaining funding, at a $4.25 subsidy.

“[The funding] may go up later. But you can’t count on that 100 percent,” Hawrylak noted yesterday.

He added it was possible another 40-50 percent in additional funding might be pulled from other programs and be forwarded to this. But until that is definite (Hawrylak expected to know in two weeks), he said they would only be able to allot the $81,000 funding.

And that could lead to decreasing the duration of the subsidy, a drop in the number of subsidized applications, or both.

“With the current budget, [it will mean] a few less than last year,” Hawrylak noted.

Danila Hoard, who’s co-ordinating the SCPP here, said subsidies this year would run from eight to 12 weeks.

“It’s going to go on the dollar amount,” she agreed.

In the Fort Frances area, the office received 18 applications from both the private and non-profit sectors, and eight from municipalities by the April 15 deadline.

“In order for us to priorize, we’re going to look at ones that have used the program before,” Hawrylak said, adding while employers could apply for more than one position, the office tended to limit each to one subsidized position in order to spread the dollars around.

“We’re trying to be fair,” he said, noting the office also will be looking at the job descriptions to see which positions would benefit students the most.

“Because it’s geared to the students,” Hoard added.

The successful applications are expected to be determined within the next few weeks. They then need to get the nod from the local MPs--Robert Nault here and Stan Drominsky in Atikokan--before employers are notified.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines received 45 applications so far for its $2 an hour wage subsidy under the Ontario Summer Jobs Service program.

“There’s no official closing date,” noted Elaine Kellsey, with the MNDM office here, adding the provincial wage subsidy program ran from April 13 to Sept. 30.

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