Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, witnesses.
I'm going to explain a program, and then I'd like to go in the order you all presented with regard to whether this program would be something that would benefit you and your organizations. I'm going to explain what it is, to make sure we're all on the same page, and then if you could, in the order in which you presented, give a yes or no answer, that would be helpful.
To do that, I'm going to mention the Canada summer jobs program, and I'm going to explain how it works for you to understand.
Each MP is allocated money for this program every year. I've been doing this for 18 years, and every single year it's over-allocated, which means I have more places that apply for the money than I have money available. What it does is provide students an opportunity to be fully paid in the not-for-profit sector, with an exception this year that they also get to be paid fully in the private sector.
I'll give you an example for Windsor West here. Right now I actually have three million dollars' worth of requests, and I have about $1.2 million to allocate to students. People, including many in the tourist sector, apply for these jobs; they're vetted by the public service, and then they come back to an MP to be approved. The MP can change their hours, increase them or decrease them. I try to spread them out and focus on tourism and other types of opportunities for young people.
The government did do a good job this year with regard to extending the program. Jobs can go to February now, and they can be part-time for the students.
I'm giving you all these details because this is the controversy that's going on with the WE Charity scandal right now. The WE Charity scandal claim is that they had to help students and get them out. As I noted, this program is oversubscribed every year. In fact, right now, when you add it up—and it's been this way for several years—it's actually a $912-million shortfall that could be made up across this country.
The question I want to ask related to the controversy is that the Prime Minister said that nobody else could do this. There's no other way of getting them out there. What I'm telling you right now, though, is that the public sector has already vetted, including for Windsor West, another 200 positions for students that could be funded if they did this tomorrow. It doesn't even take any special legislation, so this is one part of a solution.
My question is, if this program were enhanced to allow students to continue to have some flexibility by extending the hours in the tourism sector and others, and it paid students directly and we actually put the money out there now, would it be of benefit to your organization to have that program with some flexibility to deal with the challenges you have right now?
Could you answer in order and tell me whether this is good or bad, yes or no? I'd appreciate that, because we've been fighting to try to get the money put into this to get those jobs out the door for the next six months to a year for students. However, if it's a bad idea, I'd rather hear that. If you could say yes or no so I could get to everybody, I'd appreciate that.
Mr. Clerk, could you assist with the order, if it's necessary, as well?