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February 4, 2010
Toronto Helps marks one-year anniversary with opening of Metro Hall Employment Services and Y Café
On the first anniversary of the launch of Toronto Helps, Mayor David Miller, Janet Davis, Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee (Councillor, Ward 31 Beaches-East York), Colleen Albiston, Chair of the Board for the YMCA of Greater Toronto, and Joseph Pennachetti, Toronto’s City Manager, announced the opening of Metro Hall Employment Services, a new Y Café and the expansion of the YMCA Hospitality Training Program.

In February 2009, Mayor Miller announced plans for the facility as part of Toronto Helps, a focused set of new and enhanced City initiatives geared to helping residents and businesses through the recession.

Metro Hall Employment Services, the newest addition to the City’s network of 15 directly-operated employment centres, is an example of how the City continues to support economic prosperity and opportunity for all Torontonians. Located at the corner of King and John streets in downtown Toronto, Metro Hall Employment Services captures the essence of Toronto Helps and is where residents can go to
- find out about current and future public service job and career opportunities
- learn about opportunities that emerge as a result of City projects such as Transit City or waterfront revitalization
- obtain a full range of employment services delivered by trained career and employment information specialists, and
- be connected to the City’s broader employment services network.

The City has a responsibility to ensure that its workforce reflects the communities it serves. In order to draw on the skills and energies in these communities, the City is initiating innovative and creative recruitment and outreach strategies. Residents can now come here to learn first hand about City careers and get the information they need in one place

In addition to the opening of this facility, Mayor Miller highlighted several additional Toronto Helps initiatives that, over the past year, have provided supports to businesses and the thousands of residents facing unemployment, eviction or homelessness. Initiatives such as
- the Gold Star Program providing support to businesses working on development projects
- loans from the Rent Bank to help people stay in their homes
- the expansion of homemakers and nurses services, and
- low-cost, nutritious meals for low-income seniors.

“Torontonians can be very proud of the way their City has come to the assistance of so many people and businesses affected by the recession,” noted Mayor Miller. “We literally have helped thousands through one of the toughest years in memory. Recognizing the City is a major employer, this centre will provide residents with information about and access to City jobs, demonstrating how we are walking the talk.”

In marking the opening of the new centre, City Manager Joseph Pennachetti said, “The City of Toronto, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Toronto, has taken a big step forward in helping people and businesses. As City Manager I will ensure that the City continues to fulfill its mandate to provide Torontonians with the services and supports they need to access good jobs. Supports such as those provided through training opportunities like the YMCA Hospitality Training Program.”

“As a charity, the YMCA is working to build strong communities, said Colleen Albiston, Chair of the Board for the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “By moving into a larger facility, the YMCA will be able to train more students and prepare more meals to meet the increasing demands of the community. In addition to working in the Y Café, participants under the supervision of our instructors will help to prepare meals for Second Harvest, Meals-On-Wheels, and YMCA child care programs.”

The YMCA Hospitality Training Program has been successfully operating for 25 years, providing participants with core culinary and employment skills. By modernizing an existing commercial kitchen on site, the YMCA of Greater Toronto is expanding its long standing Hospitality Training Program, which has a solid track record of successfully preparing people for jobs.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:
Darrin Vermeersch, Employment & Social Services, City of Toronto, 416- 397-5518,
Celecia Partap, Public Relations Manager, YMCA of Greater Toronto, 416-413-1020, extension 2350



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