Stephen Poloz to jobless youth: Move out and work for free

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz tells House of Commons committee that young people should work for free

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada governor is recommending jobless young people seek unpaid work as they wait for the economy to recover.

Stephen Poloz says young Canadians struggling to find work should add more experience to their CVs by volunteering in their area of expertise.

Speaking to a House of Commons committee, he predicted it will take up to two years for hiring to catch up with the already improving economy.

Poloz’s remarks come a day after he said in a speech that 200,000 young Canadians are out of work, underemployed or back in school trying to improve their job prospects.

In Monday’s address, Poloz said he bet almost everyone in the room knew at least one family with adult children living in the basement.

Poloz says recent graduates who have not been able to enter the workforce will have to compete for jobs against the fresh crop of new grads that arrive after them.

Liberal MP Scott Brison asked Poloz whether he thought unpaid internships were more of a benefit for wealthier youth because young people from a lower-income background can’t afford to work for free.

Poloz acknowledged it was an issue with unpaid work, but he recommended young people take the opportunities when they are available.


Stephen Poloz to jobless youth: Move out and work for free

  1. Is there any chance we could get Mark Carney back?

      • Time to heave Steve…..and he can take his minions with him.

  2. Well, that should be a true economic hoot. why not have EVERYONE work for nothing? No taxes to pay …

    Of course, there will be a downside. Like, Steve, how are these people supposed to pay the rent? Buy shoes? Feed their kids (if any)?

    Companies can, of course, just hand out IOUs … which can be given to the landlord, the grocer, the shoe-store, etc. Who needs actual money?

    I have heard a lot of dumb ideas out of Conservatives, and Conservative-appointees’ mouths during the time of The Harper Regime in Canada, but this ranks near the bottom even for them.

    How about some SMART advice … get the hell out of town … go stretch your wings … learn what you can do with others … find out how you can make your own way instead of sponging off the Bank of Mom and Dad … perhaps expect a little less (in terms of ‘stuff’) … stay current … and demand a fair wage for an honest hard day’s work. Don’t bother joining a union (they’re mostly for yesterday) unless you have to. Create imaginative wealth, not dependency. Don’t under-value yourself … you are worth more than nothing.

    Once in a while, come home and scarf down a good meal and tell your story of adventure and growth.

    But don’t work for free. Work for an honest wage that creates dignity all ’round.

  3. Lets think about this

    Young people should move out and work for free. Move where, without money one ends up living on the street. In winter many will die form the elements. Without food one dies. Without clothing, there are many problems that would include not being allowed to work, arrest for public nudity, harm from living in the elements and so forth.

    Lets get back to working for free, there are hundreds of thousands of unpaid interns that are supported by family, employers get free labour, make millions or hundreds of millions of dollars from it and it costs them nothing. In time a large part of the public will have to work for free since employers won’t pay wages when they can get unlimited free labour. Over time fewer and fewer people will have money to pay for essentials and the economy will collapse, as more of the population cannot afford shelter, food or clothing and many will end up dying because the number of people who can support them gets smaller as fewer get paid for work. So mass deaths to make a few wealthy. This may take generations but what right do rich people have to murder the rest of the population for their own gain. And all of this is unnecessary, because the bank of Canada releases enough money to keep the economy going but those in power keep the money they are currently freely given (funny how the wealthy are given free money, instead of giving the same money to people in need who would spend it creating demand which creates economic activity…)

    Since politicians are not very smart and give most of the monetary supply to the wealthy i suggest they work for free, their own free labour will help nudge the economy in the direction they want it to go.

    Ironically slaves are better off, they have no freedom but you have to provide food, shelter and clothing to keep your slaves alive to continue working.

  4. For Pete’s sake, could anyone be more out of touch with reality? I have to pay you to work for you? That’s what it amounts to. I am paying out of my pocket so that maybe you’ll let me work my arse off for you for a year or so, then not hire me. I am paying rent, food, transportation, and don’t forget ‘dressing up to the job you want to have’ and probably expected to contribute to any charitable events and office gifts and all that crap. Free. For your benefit. Not even minimum wage – which is the LAW! Probably working more than the required 40-50 hours, going home alone in the dark (not exactly safe for anyone, especially those of the feminine gender).
    And after all that, there’s no guarantee you’ll hire me, and I’ll have to do it all over again.
    Wow, great plan. I can hardly wait.

    • And, if I’m not getting paid, where am I going to live for free except my parent’s basement, if they’ll let me? Will companies set up residences and dormitories? Seems like Paying for Honest Work might be cheaper in the long run.

  5. Heh. Guy must be an economist, eh?

  6. You really have to marvel at the starry-eyed naivete of your average diehard capitalist, ya know?

    Does he really believe that after hiring workers to work for free, that after a couple of years companies will decide to start paying them, “when the economy picks up”?????

  7. OK Mr Poloz – put our money where your mouth is: Work for free until youth employment rates improve.

    Yeah… thought not.

  8. I paid my last year of tuition and after I graduated, I worked internships related to my field for two years. Two of the internships were completely unpaid. The last one offered an honorarium which paid me just over a dollar an hour after six months. Six months of five to six day work weeks, up to fifteen hours a day in several cases. Nothing.

    Throughout all this time, I worked retail evenings and weekends so I could afford to go to school and then work for nothing day after day. All the while I was wondering how the heck internships could be legal.

    After two years of working for free and not being able to find a job in my field that will offer an honest day’s pay, I have had enough. I can’t live like this anymore. I’ve been working since I was 16 but most of what I earned went to education and working for free. Sure, I could continue to pursue my field, but I would rather ease the burden on my parents and leave home first.

    I experienced exactly what Mr. Poloz thinks my generation should go through to earn a respectable career. Middle-class families cannot afford this. I think I can safely say Stephen Poloz is a gasconading boobie.

  9. “That sounds like solid advice!” — Andrew Coyne

  10. Maybe I’m missing something here. Or this journalist is useless. The headling mentions “move out”, but the text that follows doesn’t. Where does Poloz say this? These comments here which follow the article refer to this “moving out”, but it appears Poloz didn’t say this at all. Not in this article you write. Must I go elsewhere, to another news source, to verify he said this? That would be downright lame. This is pretty inflammatory, especially if your headline is a lie.

    • Way to go, DtS – your pointing out of the obvious brought this latest Harper-phobe whinefest to a crashing halt (though what Harper has to do with comments of the independent B of C head is mysterious to those who don’t regard him as omniscient evil incarnate). Oh well, I’m confident the thread will pick up again shortly – I’m sure someone will be able to find further Harper evil in the US mid-term election results, or JT kicking alleged leches out of his caucus or the sun rising this a.m.

    • They don’t have Carney to whine about any more, so they need to make things up. I actually like the direction Poloz has taken the BoC. He seems to be seriously dialing its mandate back to what it used to be – price stability, full stop. Economic growth, as we’ve seen, does not and cannot result from central bank actions. Price stability, on the other hand, is the one thing central banks can consistently deliver. It’s refreshing to see a return to a near-exclusive focus on that.

  11. I’m not sure how or where the jump to “unpaid internships” was made, as far as the quotes I read Poloz never said that term. Youth unemployment is a multifaceted, systemic, social problem, that will not be solved by one single idea – like working for free. However, as a Canadian startup and online platform that connects student and companies via short-term, skill-specific projects early on in the students’ post-secondary education, we have had success stories for those that face barriers to employment – like youth, race, and language. One of the 1000s of students that use our platform actually wrote one of our first blog posts entitled “Listen Up: 5 Reasons You Should Try an Unpaid Internship (Yes, Really)” which can be found here: http://blog.riipen.com/listen-up-5-reasons-you-should-work-an-unpaid-internship-yes-really/ He was a 2nd year university student at the time.

    Riipen was founded BY students FOR students. We acknowledge the complexity of this situation, but we agree with the sentiments of Poloz’s words – there IS value in volunteerism. Youth and students need to build up their skills as well as their networks. Riipen has taken a stance against unpaid internships, however short-term, skill-specific projects that a person can do on a flexible schedule are FUNDAMENTALLY more valuable than sending in a falsified (78% of resumes have deliberate inaccuracies) resume. It is more valuable for the person looking for work and even more so for the companies because they are able to assess the abilities of the person applying.

    • Please do not use this Blog for your disgusting attempts for “free” advertising. In fact, your post here should be removed, along with your (slavery for Corporations) ideology.

  12. There are currently 300,000 youth currently working unpaid positions. This handsomely paid man wants to add even more. 6 years and counting from the recession and he’s saying that another two years before hiring picks up….there is 350,000 TFW’s presently working in Canada in many of the jobs ( Tim Horton’s & service sector) that these young people could work at if given a chance. Corporate unpaid work should be BANNED.

  13. A friend of mine went backpacking to Australia , found well paying temporary work there with no experience and was able to continue funding a cross-Asia tour ; I know this example is not definitive however if I was still at the begninning of my working life (I’m in my 60s) I would leave eastern Canada and in fact my parents left Europe in the 50s with kids in tow , the situation in eastern Canada is comparable to Europe then – economic growth moves and those looking for careers or even a job for survival in my mind should follow the money before family or other commitments make that difficult. Another example – it used to be said you could not travel to Yellowknife and look for a job because people were hiring on the plane, so anyone on the plane without a job would have the job before they got off in Yellowknife. Economic stagnation brings with it bad ideas and a political and education system that is out of touch too as has happened for years in Ontario, Quebec and the suburb of the latter called Ottawa. The bilingual signs in Saskatchewan are in two native languages yet the safety announcement is in two dialects of Indo-European that nobody there understands- Ottawa will never get real.

  14. Stephen HarPoloz anyone ?
    yep, almost the same two broke guys. :)
    “unpaid work”, -now there’s a thought process.
    So, uhmm, how did a baffon like this one, ever get into the position he is now. ?!

    When our Gov’t starts working for free, than I will too.

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