Election 2018: Employment challenges linked to transit and housing
By Olivia Robinson
Published May 29, 2018
Ahead of next month’s provincial election, Haliburtonians are looking to what each of the candidates can offer in terms of employment in the Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock riding, and how other factors play into achieving gainful employment in the area.
Jess Marlow, employment and training consultant at Fleming CREW Employment Centre in Haliburton helps job seekers as well as employers who are looking to hire in the area or retraining opportunities for their staff.
“Two points have been a concern for a long time – transportation and affordable housing,” she said. “These are two barriers that people in this area are constantly struggling with.”
Marlow has heard that people’s concern for transportation is not necessarily related to public transportation, but that some don’t have access to a car, or even have a licence, making it challenging for them to get to work, or even find a job in the first place.
Some employers, she said, are running into difficulties of recruiting employees who can commute to certain parts of the county – but the alternative is equally limiting.
“The options they have for renting or buying [in Haliburton] in an affordable way – that’s a struggle. Those two combined are some of our biggest barriers here.”
According 2016 Statistics Canada data, Haliburton County has an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, slightly higher than the provincial average of 7.4 per cent. The occupations with the highest numbers in Haliburton County were in sales and service, as well as trades, transport, and equipment operators. Provincewide, occupations in sales and service came in first, with occupations in business, finance and administration coming in second.
As for the candidates for the three major parties in Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock, they have differing views on how to best address housing in the area. The candidates’ statements were released to the Kawartha North Family Health Team on May 22.
Zac Miller, NDP candidate, said his party would sign onto the National Housing Strategy. Over a 10 year commitment, they would build 65,000 new affordable housing units across the province, and 30,000 supportive housing units. The NDP says that it would also fund one-third of the share of costs of repairs to social housing and implement rent controls to end property tax on multi-residential units.
The Liberal candidate, Brooklynne Cramp-Waldinsperger cited previous examples of how the Ontario government has invested over $743,000 between 2011-2015 in the City of Kawartha Lakes towards the Investment in Affordable Housing program. By 2019-2020, she said the Liberal government would provide $338 million to prevent homelessness across the province.
The incumbent, PC candidate Laurie Scott, didn’t address particular financial investments to housing in the area, however in a statement she wrote that “Ontario has a housing crisis, and we need all three levels of government to continue to work together to make life more affordable for the families in our community. Ontario PCs will also continue to support rent control.” At the time of publication, her party has yet to release a platform ahead of the June 7 election.
When the last provincial election was held, Marlow said that the number of people seeking job advice from Fleming CREW in Haliburton has remained steady. Some of the more recently sought-after skills include social media and networking, although Marlow said that it’s hard to pinpoint if this particular skill set would be consistently in demand in the area.
To read the candidates’ responses in full to a variety of questions on housing, health care, and basic income, visit www.cklhpoverty.ca.