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Poll: Nova Scotia youth prioritize action on employment crisis

Halifax, N.S.—In a Youth Poll released today by the Springtide Collective, 42% of respondents reported that “jobs and the economy” was the most important issue facing Nova Scotia. The finding further confirms that youth are facing an employment crisis in the province, at a time when the 45+ age group has absorbed almost all post-recession employment growth.

“It’s clear that we have a youth employment crisis in Nova Scotia”, said StudentsNS Executive Director Jonathan Williams. “Young people are feeling the crunch and are very worried because they want to stay here but can’t without a job. It’s a crisis not just for young people but for the whole province, because with our aging population we absolutely have to keep our young people here and attract more from away.”

The 18-29 year-old population is expected to decline 25% between 2011-2031 in Nova Scotia.

Williams noted a recent StudentsNS report recommended that tuition be adjusted according to the provincial youth employment rate because students can’t afford any kind of fee growth without better employment opportunities.

“Everyone has a responsibility in turning around our youth employment numbers, including governments, companies and post-secondary institutions”, said Williams. “The current situation simply cannot continue.”

The Springtide Collective poll also found that young voters are generally interested in provincial politics, to the tune of 72%. Fully 25% of those who did not plan to vote would do so “if politicians focused more on issues that matter to them”, while another 23% would vote if they had more information on when and where to do so.

“Students are going to vote in the next election, especially if the political parties seek us out with strong policies to address our concerns”, said StudentsNS Vice Chair Matthew Rios. “We hope the parties will take this poll seriously and approach young voters accordingly.”

StudentsNS is hoping the next election will not take place over the summer and will feature poll booths on campuses, to ensure students have the best opportunity possible to participate.

“The last number of elections have been in the summer when many students are not around and therefore cannot vote”, said Rios. “We’re hoping that students will have a fair shot at participating in the coming election.”

Kate Elliot