Young people continue to be among the hardest hit by the recession, the Canadian Federation of Students says.
According to a Statistics Canada report released Friday, the unemployment rate for students aged 15-24 rose to 21 percent this July, breaking all previous records.
"Students who have been unable to find work this summer will be forced to take on more debt and may be unable to afford to return to school this fall," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.
"Summer jobs are not a luxury; they pay the bills."
Some 152,000 fewer students were able to find work in July 2009 compared to one year earlier, the group says.
Tuition fees have grown to become the single largest expense for most university and college students, the federation notes, with average domestic tuition fees of almost $5,000 per year.
"Despite the recession and a dismal job market, the federal government has failed to increase funding for student financial aid and take action to reduce tuition fees," said Giroux-Bougard. "By not moving to reduce students debt the government has ignored an essential part of economic recovery."