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 a description, below, of the Youth Job Connection Program, Youth Job Connections Summer Program, Youth Skills Connections Program, and Youth Job Link.) However, only a few employment services have (or have recently had) specific programs for refugee newcomer youth, or even newcomer youth in general.

Employment services in the GTA that do have programs for newcomer youth (even if not specifically for refugees) include:

  • ACCES Employment

Youth Job Connection, positions itself as the “employment champion for youth”, but does not offer services tailored specifically for newcomer youth.

Many of the youth employment programs supported by the Government of Ontario are run by employment services and for those involving third parties, application may be required to be made through an employment service.

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 Jump offers a program for newcomer women and girls over the age of 13, including refugees.

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. Those programs likely to be of most interest to refugee newcomers are the following:

  • Youth Job Connection (perhaps of most interest to refugee newcomers who are post-high school and under age 30) 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.
  • Youth Job Connections 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.
  • Youth Job Link helps student and non-student youth, aged 15 to 29, who do not face significant barriers to employment, but who could benefit from some extra help, to plan their careers and transition to the labour market. On a year-round basis, the program provides career exploration services to increase knowledge of career options and support career decision-making; career management services to improve readiness for the labour market; and, job search, readiness and matching assistance to connect youth with employers offering employment opportunities, including summer jobs.

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?