Qualifying as a youth

Generally, the age range for qualifying as a youth for government-sponsored employment programs in Ontario is between ages 15 and 29. Programs are available to both students and non-students. In a few cases, the minimum age for eligibility is 18 and, also in a few, the maximum age may be 30.

Employment services for youth

See the article on Employment Services on this web site, which includes a list of such organizations in the GTA. All Employment Services contracted with Employment Ontario, offer specific employment programs for youth. (See descriptions, below, of the Youth Job Connection Program ans Youth Job Connections Summer Program.) However, only a few employment services have (or have recently had) specific programs for refugee newcomer youth, or even newcomer youth in general.

ACCES Employment may be the only employment service in the GTA that currently has a jobs program for newcomer youth (Employment Connections for Newcomer Youth.) This is a skills training program for those aged 16 to 29, for jobs in customer service or general labour. It also  includes job placement and employment retention support.

“Youth Job Connection” programs, offered by most employment services, are financed by Employment Ontario. These are positioned as the “employment champion for youth”, but the programs are not tailored specifically for newcomer youth. Rather, they are designed for all young people who face multiple or serious barriers to their employment.

The Centre for Education & Training offers a program called “EmpowerHer” for young women (ages 15-30) to become part of their community through volunteerism, while helping them develop skills that will empower them to become an ambassador of change in their community. It provides free training in project management, leadership, employability, entrepreneurship, grants, and life skills, as well as assistance in the co-creation of service projects responding to identified community needs. The organizers report that this has been a very successful program for young female newcomers.

Programs and featured opportunities for newcomer youth

Visit the Programs & Events section of this website for upcoming employment- and training-related programs, job fairs, workshops and other opportunities that are specifically tailored for newcomer youth (refugee or non-refugee).

The community colleges in the GTA and Ryerson University offer various bridging and language training programs for newcomers, which likely attract a significant percentage of youth, but are not limited to youth.

Some settlement services and employment agencies in the GTA have, in the past, organized employment or training programs specifically for refugee newcomer youth. As an example, Skills for Change, offered employment workshops and support for this group, with a minimum age of 16, but these are no longer being provided. A 2016 filmmaker program for young Syrian refugees in Toronto also does not appear to have been continued. See LIFT welcomes newcomers to Syrian Youth FilmMentor program.

YWCA offers a Jump program in Scarborough and Etobicoke for newcomer women and girls over the age of 13. This program helps explore career options, build skills, search for jobs and integrate into Canadian society. The skills training focuses on cash register operation, customer service , food safety/handling, retail work, restaurant work, writing a resume/cover letter, job interview skills, WHIMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), and CPR/First Aid.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority offers a Newcomer Youth Green Economy Project, which supports newcomer post-secondary students in the GTA (ages 18-29) to access field trips, experiential learning opportunities, and job skills training. Students have access to learning opportunities in multiple environmental career pathways, including ecological restoration, water management, green energy/green building, and environmental education. The newcomers must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate college or university program in the GTA and their major focus of study must be in the environmental sector. CLB 7/8 English is required.

ACCES Employment offers a 3-day course, Barista Training for Newcomer Youth with Starbucks Canada, for those aged 16-29, to prepare for an interview for a barista position at Starbucks Canada or other organization.

Hack Your Future Canada is a 6-month, once per week program offered by Jumpstart (formerly RCJP) to refugee newcomers only, with a minimum of CLB 5 English. It aims to empower student refugees through programming skills that can help them begin a career in the technical field. In addition to technical skills, the program prepare our students for the job hunt by holding a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn workshops as well as mock interviews. All or most of the participants in this program are age 30 or under.

NPower Canada offers a Junior IT Analyst Program, providing free technical and professional training, paid internships, job placement, and post-hire support, with three different training streams in four locations in downtown Toronto, York Region, and Peel Region. It focuses on basic tech competencies needed for entry-level IT employment. This program is not exclusively for newcomers, but they are encouraged, as the program targets youth experiencing barriers to pursuing post-secondary education and securing sustainable employment. To be eligible, applicants must be aged 18-29, and have completed high school, or GED. They must also demonstrate financial need and have CLB 7/8 English or higher.

Ontario government employment programs for all youth (not just newcomers)

The Ontario government finances a number of employment programs for all youth in the province, including newcomers. These include:

  • Youth Job Connection is a program that provides 60 to 90 hours of paid (minimum wage) pre-employment and life skills training, as well as employment-related financial support, job matching, paid placements with employers and wage subsidies for up to six months, mentoring and work transition support. This program is open to those, aged 15 to 29, who are not attending full-time school or training and are unemployed. If under age 18, the individual must already have been legally excused from school. See our Programs & Events database for sessions offered by COSTI, Youth Employment Services (YES), VPI Working Solutions, JobSkills, The Centre for Education & Training, The Neighbourhood Organization, ACCES Employment, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto
  • Youth Job Connection Summer Program is a variation of the Youth Job Connections Program. It is for high school students, aged 15 to 18 years, who intend to stay in or return to high school, or to access post-secondary education after their job placement. The program is available year-round. It helps develop essential workplace skills, establish important job search tools and strategies, and build a career plan. Participants have opportunities to connect with employers, get valuable work and job-related skills. The program provides 20+ hours of paid workshops and activities designed to help participants get ready for work. Students are paid minimum wage for the time they participate in the mandatory pre-employment training component of the program. During the school year, individuals who are under 18 years of age may participate in the program part-time or during school holidays, so as not to interfere with schooling.

Toronto Youth Job Corps

Search engines and job boards for youth

See this article on the Settlement,org website for Where can I find job listing websites for youth?