The unemployment rate has climbed 1.5 per cent since last year, and while the Sask. Party continues to cut vital programs and services, Saskatchewan people are finding it harder and harder to get and keep a job. The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that over a thousand people in Saskatchewan were put out of work from August to September, contributing to the nearly 10,000 more people who were looking for work in Saskatchewan last month than the year before.
“Month after month, we see more job losses. The trend is clear and it should be a cause for concern for the Sask. Party government,” said Jobs, Skills, and Training Critic Warren McCall. “Time after time, we see the Sask. Party shrug it off, refuse to get going on an action plan for Saskatchewan jobs, and deny the critical role their nearly decade of fiscal mismanagement has played in leading us to this situation where thousands of Saskatchewan people are looking for work.”
Despite the growing trend, the Sask. Party continue to push through with more cuts, such as those to skills and job training, that are only making matters worse. As an example, Prince Albert and Northern Saskatchewan lost 2,200 jobs since last September, and the off-reserve First Nations unemployment rate in Saskatchewan is alarmingly high, sitting at a staggering 21.7 per cent. These communities benefit from the work of the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) and Northern Professional Access College (NORPAC). The government’s own records show that 94 per cent of NORTEP-NORPAC graduates in the last five years have found jobs. Faced with all of these facts, the Sask. Party has inexplicably decided to cut funding, harming accessibility to the many students counting on them for valuable job training.
“It would be one thing if the Sask. Party were acknowledging the problem and actually working to fix it,” said McCall. “But, instead of working to diversify the economy, helping the next generation of Saskatchewan workers and creating jobs, they’re just ploughing ahead in the wrong direction. They are cutting training and education programs at precisely the moment when they are needed most.”
The numbers released by Statistics Canada and broken down by the Saskatchewan Bureau of Statistics also reveal the urgent need for the Sask. Party to reverse course and take action as a number of key indicators of economic growth in Saskatchewan’s workforce are on the decline.
- The construction industry lost 4,000 jobs year over year;
- 6,200 jobs were lost in the private sector since September of last year; and
- 5,200 fewer young Saskatchewan people between the age 15 and 24 were working than a year ago.