NDP criticizes subsidy to keep new grads in province

A new plan announced Wednesday to increase the number of jobs available in the province for recent grads does nothing to protect current workers, says NDP Leader Dominic Cardy.

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, Cardy said the plan will fail to achieve its objectives of providing a subsidy to keep younger people in the province because it will leave current employees vulnerable.

"This proposal doesn’t protect existing workers. It's basically creating an incentive for companies to fire existing staff and replace them with new workers whose wages are subsidized by the government. It's just another 'no strings attached' subsidy to businesses with no net benefit to the province,” said Cardy.

The plan called the One-Job Pledge offers qualifying New Brunswick businesses a subsidy when they hire a permanent, full-time employee who graduated from a post-secondary institution within the last four years.

Under the plan, businesses must pay a minimum salary of $14 per hour. The initiative would grant the business a reimbursement of up to 70 per cent of the salary, to a maximum of $10 per hour for 52 weeks.

Cardy said an NDP plan called the New Job Tax Credit would provide a tax incentive for businesses "without punishing existing workers."

He said businesses would actually be required to create new jobs to qualify under the NDP plan instead of just replacing workers with subsidized workers.

Premier David Alward made the announcement on Wednesday at the Fredericton-based biotechnology and information technology firm LuminUltra Technologies Ltd.

"Slow global growth means New Brunswick businesses are having difficulty creating jobs, and New Brunswick graduates are having difficulty finding career opportunities here at home," said Alward in a news release.

"The One-Job Pledge initiative is an investment in our young people as well New Brunswick businesses that are poised to grow despite challenging economic circumstances. Working with New Brunswick businesses to create jobs is a key part of our government's plan to rebuild New Brunswick."

Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy was also on hand for the announcement.

"A post-secondary educated workforce is the key to attracting industries and investment to our province," said Soucy in a news release.

"In a world where the competitive edge relies on technological advances and capitalizing on resources such as people, investing in the development of young New Brunswickers is a viable option for organizations wishing to remain, or become, competitive in the global marketplace," he said.

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