There is growing inequality in Canada as more and more people are being left behind. That inequality has many faces. Increasing inequality has a young face, as Millennials are seeing the social and economic marginalization of their generation.
Millennials are inheriting an increasingly insecure future. In fact they are faced with the very real prospect of being worse off than their parents’ generation.
Niki Ashton, NDP Critic for Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development wanted to hear from Millennials, their families and their communities. She traveled to 14 cities in 9 provinces and one territory over a period of six months to meet stakeholders and hold public consultations. Niki also hosted a first-of-its-kind national forum in Ottawa on the emerging crisis of precarious work in the Millennial generation.
We heard that Millennials are facing significant challenges: high tuition and unprecedented levels of debt just to get the education needed to actively participate in the job market; the expectation that they should work for ‘experience’ rather than a paycheque; increasingly precarious, low-waged work with little to no job security or benefits; a housing market that is out of reach; a lack of social supports for health needs and child care.
The feedback was blunt – even emotional. Many people told us how important it was for them to be heard. Many said it was important that Millennials realize that they are not the only people facing these challenges. Millennial Canadians made it clear they are not willing to be marginalized as a generation.
One thing is clear: the federal government doesn’t get it. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have made it clear that they think young people should get used to precarity and prepare for a life of insecurity.
Millennials reject the idea that precarity and inequality are inevitable and that an entire generation of young people should be ignored.
We heard clearly that Millennials are not alone. We heard from parents and grandparents that they want to be able to give their kids more opportunities than they were afforded -- not less. Whether we’re young or old, we’re in this together. It’s time to roll up our sleeves in solidarity and create the system change that will give everyone the chance live in dignity and respect.