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May 10, 2018
City of Toronto presents report on innovative employment services for low-income residents
Today, Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the City's Economic Development Committee, was joined by Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Chair of the City's Community Development and Recreation Committee, and Patricia Walcott, General Manager of Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS), to present highlights of the 2017 TESS annual report, Meeting Many Needs – Advancing Toronto's Workforce Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies.

The report, which Walcott presented to the Economic Development Committee, outlines the key outcomes for TESS and illustrates how workforce development and poverty reduction efforts can support each other to address the complex needs of Ontario Works (OW) clients in more sustainable ways.

"Our residents have an array of education levels, skills and talents. A one-size-fits-all approach no longer meets the needs of our clients, or employers looking for skilled labour," said Councillor Thompson. "Connecting them to employment opportunities that may have otherwise been unattainable provides Torontonians living in poverty with tools for them to build a successful future."

Over the past year, TESS has continued to advance its strategies to deliver positive results for residents and employers. In 2017, the City helped almost 29,000 OW clients find work, assisted more than 1,000 youth to secure jobs through the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment program and introduced a new access model for OW in Toronto to help clients develop a service plan within days of becoming eligible for OW assistance.

"With the help of partners and stakeholders in the community, residents are connecting to employers and employment opportunities in diverse and meaningful ways," said Councillor Pasternak. "Their dedication and commitment helps to strengthen our communities by providing a place in our economy for everyone."

A partnership between Toronto Fire Services (TFS) and TESS has also been established to help OW clients access employment opportunities within TFS.

"Toronto Fire Services looks forward to a continued partnership with Toronto Employment and Social Services and we hope to expand this meaningful initiative to include other TFS entry-level career opportunities," said TFS Deputy Chief Debbie Higgins.

To access a copy of the annual report, visit

For information about available programs and Workforce Development, visit or follow Toronto Employment and Social Services on Twitter @TorontoESS and Facebook

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

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Anna Fiorino
Employment and Social Services



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