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Ontario Liberals promise to spend $295M to fight youth unemployment

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

TORONTO - The Ontario government's budget will include $295 million over two years to reduce youth unemployment — something both opposition parties can get behind to keep the minority parliament working, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday.

The new money will be divvied up between four funds that will fill in the gaps to get more young people on a career path, Wynne said.

The lion's share — $195 million — will go to a youth employment fund that will provide a wage subsidy for employers who provide jobs and on-the-job training for at least 6 months, she said.

Two other funds would support young entrepreneurs and allow them to research and commercialize their ideas, the Liberals said. A fourth fund would "bring together business, labour, educators and youth" to better prepare young people to develop work skills, they said.

"We know how important it is to help our young people find their way," Wynne said during a visit at a Toronto youth employment services centre.

"It's important to their lives, their sense of identity, the sanity of their parents and their families, and it's important to Ontario's economy too."

It's the latest announcement ahead of Thursday's budget responding to the NDP demands for the spending plan to win their support and avoid an election.

The minority Liberals need help from at least one opposition party to pass the budget, which the Progressive Conservatives have already vowed to vote against.

Among the NDP's demands are $195 million over two years to create jobs and fund on-the-job training for youth.

But Wynne said the pre-budget announcement is about creating job opportunities for young people, not satisfying the New Democrats.

"My hope is that both parties will look at this and they will say, 'this is a very good thing for the young people of the province,' and that they will be able to support it," she said.

In recent days, Wynne has announced a $100-million fund to build roads and bridges in rural and northern Ontario and $185 million more this year to reduce wait times for seniors who need home care — addressing another NDP demand.

But party Leader Andrea Horwath said it's hard to tell whether the Liberals will deliver, despite their pre-budget promises.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130429/ontario-liberals-promise-spend-300m-fight-youth-unemployment