Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil says the economy continues to face challenges due to workforce shortages. Many new graduates believe there are no opportunities for them locally and are leaving for job opportunities in other provinces.
© Cape Breton Post photo
Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil was joined by Derek Mombourquette, his party's candidate in the riding of Sydney-Whitney Pier, in making an announcement at Wentworth Park in Sydney on Monday.
[SYDNEY, NS] - A provincial Liberal government would introduce a program that would provide tax credits to businesses that hire new graduates.
Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil made the announcement on Monday in Sydney. The Liberal plan would offer a payroll incentive after a minimum of 12 months of employment and training has been provided to new graduates. The graduate must be paid a minimum of $30,000 annually.
The economy continues to face challenges due to workforce shortages, McNeil said. Many new graduates believe there are no opportunities for them locally and are leaving for job opportunities in other provinces, he added.
It is expected that the budget for the program will be set at $6.5 million annually.
“This exodus is not only hurting our provincial economy but it is devastating many rural communities as a new generation of community and business leaders are leaving our towns and villages with few prospects of returning,” McNeil said.
“This is one job at a time, this is one community at a time, this is one graduate at a time.”
He said the unemployment rate in Cape Breton generally ranges from 11 to 18 per cent, depending on the time of year. As more people leave the province, the challenges will only get worse, he said.
“Without an accessible and properly trained workforce, our small businesses will be unable to grow and invest in their operations, and without job opportunities, our young leaders will continue to seek employment elsewhere,” McNeil said.
The province can no longer sit on the sidelines and not directly address the issue, he added, noting the role of government is to stimulate growth by creating a competitive environment for businesses.
The incentive will help graduates begin their lives within the province, McNeil said.
McNeil said they would work with small businesses to develop the specific details of the program, including payroll amounts, training specifications, and rebate provisions.