The Pre-Employment Development program, run by the Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, is an 8-week course that offers basic skills training and pre-employment counselling for Ontario Works clients to assist them in accessing other programs, social support or employment.
RIWC continues to support the highly marginalized in their struggles to enter or re-enter, the workforce through its Essential Pathways to Employment (EPE). Pathways to Success is unique to the GTA and we are very proud of our reputation and achievements for clients. The EPE program also works in conjunction with our Violence Against Women (VAW) program to provide additional supports to our VAW clients.


The success of this program is grounded in our Sustainable Livelihoods model and its delivery. Drawing on this model, the program cultivates the intrinsic value of each individual by helping them to identify and bolster awareness of their assets and strengths. Using a holistic approach means that we listen to and appreciate each person’s unique strengths and challenges. Together, we craft an individualized pre-employment program that is tailored to helping clients to address all barriers in their life that stand in the way of employment. This approach includes an appreciation of how low self-esteem, in addition to other issues such as lack of adequate housing, education, English proficiency, Canadian work experience and recovery from addictions and/or domestic violence, plays a role in unemployment and marginalization.

Through programming that addresses the underlying causes and barriers of clients’ unique situations, our EPE program provides a wide variety of supports that are tailored to individual needs to help reconstruct lives.

Eligible participants must first contact their Ontario Works caseworker to set up an appointment and obtain a referral form before registering in the EPE course at RIWC.

Services offered through the EPE program include:

  • In-depth client assessment and development of a client action plan
  • Information sessions about labour market trends
  • Basic computer skills training
  • Food and hospitality training
  • Financial management training (e.g. budgeting and credit counselling)
  • Job search, resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation
  • Strategic information sessions/workshops (job search, nutrition, leadership training etc.)
  • Workplace training & placement

Clients eligible for EPE courses are:

  • Unemployed men and women who are Ontario Works recipients.