Dear Members,

Time to renew your annual membership.

On behalf of First Work, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to advancing youth employment in Ontario. Your membership renewal enables our ability to continue strengthening the capacity of our ever growing network as a whole.

Benefits of Membership:

  • Enhanced Representation: Communicating issues, challenges and alternatives to various ministries and levels of government on behalf of the membership will be central to our role
  • Members Only Portal: The portal provides its members with access to information, resources, and events that will support the growth of your staff, management and organizations
  • Professional Development Series: A series of workshops will be delivered to support members with program roll-outs, organizational development and pressing issues that affect our sector
  • Amplify Conference (April 15, 2019): This will be a high level professional development conference for emerging leaders, senior managers and executives within the youth employment sector. Amplify will feature illuminating TED-style talks with thought leaders, followed by engaging discussions
  • Aspire (March & November 2019) A career exploration program making seemingly isolated industries more accessible for young people. The expansion of the Aspire program into other cities means we can deliver more career exploration opportunities across the province and strengthen our value of providing sustainable employment through career discovery. In 2019, Aspire will include flagship mentorship events and explore different industries while reaching more youth.
  • Futures Conference (Oct 22-24, 2019): Canada’s largest professional development opportunity for youth employment professionals. This three-day conference brings together over 400 delegates from the sector, offering over 40 workshops and allows for valuable skills development and networking opportunities
  • Regional Tables: Participation in regional tables with special meetings held quarterly to address the unique needs and challenges of each region
  • Advocacy, Networking and Coalition-Building: First Work helps your organization to access government departments and ministries, and help to provide a unified voice for the sector. Our members can influence program and policy decisions through our extensive network
  • Research and Evaluation Support: Our staff provides you with support and access to our impactful and visually-engaging research briefs
  • E-bulletins containing important and timely information, news and events

April 15, 2019 – Chelsea Hotel, Toronto

Registration for Amplify 2019 is now open.

Register NOW! 

Uncertainty presents limitless opportunities. As the landscape of employment continues to evolve into complex webs of current and future labour demands, skills, investors, funders, programs and priorities, we – the sector, remain the one constant through it all. The challenges ahead are many as new entities inject money and resources which change the landscape of employment service provision. How do we become future-ready? Through collaborative leadership for collaborative solutions. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to listen, learn and network from individuals who play an integral role within the youth employment sector.

What is Amplify?
Amplify is Ontario’s premiere gathering of those challenging, disrupting, driving and shaping workforce development across the Province.

Featured thought-leader:

Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Keynote Speaker and Panel Discussion on The Power of Collaborative Leadership: Lessons from the Field

Being a collaborative leader is an imperative today because this is how you surround yourself with those who bring to your organization the skills and knowledge to create transformational change in your community. Come on a journey of one leader’s collaborative path with successes, failures, learning and storytelling at the heart of her leadership quest to become an architect of relationships and productive disruptor.

Cannexus Conference

Last month, First Work participated in Cannexus, CERIC’s professional development conference for career counselling and career development professionals. Our Executive Director, Gladys Okine delivered several workshop presentations highlighting the importance of youth career development.  Our sessions:  
  • New and Critical Skills Competencies for Employment Professionals 
  • ALiGN: a sector-based model for addressing talent shortages 
  • Inspire to Aspire: An employment practitioners challenge 

    Key Session Highlights  

Our workshop on the New and Critical Skills Competencies for Employment Professionals spoke to the ever changing demands of the labour market from a youth employment perspective. Young people are having an extremely difficult time keeping up with the employer demands as well as the increasing competition of Artificial Intelligence and Automation.  Our session urged the critical nature of employer professionals adapting to these changes as quickly as possible to enable the best development of our young people, we need to first prepare our sector as they begin to navigate into a world of work our industry has yet to understand.


Changes to Ontario Trillium Foundation

Ford government has decided to cut approximately $15 million from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) 2018-19 budget. The cut will affect the current fiscal budget. Meaning, organizations “with grants that haven’t been approved and future proposals submitted might not get funded … because the funds simply won’t be there….Read More

Ontario: Regulations and Statutes Coming Into Force January 1, 2019

Ministry of Labour
Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, key amendments to the Employment Standards Act will come into force including:

  • Maintaining the minimum wage rate at $14 per hour until 2020, and then increasing it by the rate of inflation. 
  • Repealing equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status) while maintaining the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.

Read Full List

Reducing the Red Tape for Job Creation

On December 6th, 2018, the Government of Ontarios Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Todd Smith and the lead minister on reducing red tape and regulatory burden, announced a package of over 30 regulations to reduce the burden on job creators. This will cut business costs, harmonize regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions and end duplication and reduce barriers to investment. The package includes actions that would give businesses more flexibility to create jobs right here at home such as removing planning barriers to cut red tape and shorten the time it takes to get projects off the ground.

The government of Ontario is currently conducting a consultation on the 2019 Ontario Budget. Please take this opportunity to give some suggestions on how the government can cut red tape to help businesses and families.

Survey: 2019 Ontario Budget

City of London: Job Growth

Doug Ford accompanied by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a $34.5 million investment in Maple Leaf Foods modern and innovative chicken processing plant in London over the next five years. Promoting local job growth and encouraging economic development.

Read More

Affordability of Postsecondary Education in Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced massive changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program. The motion to make these changes stems from the desire to increase accessibility of post-secondary education to students across the province. In a report, the Auditor General stated “More people are not necessarily accessing post-secondary education. We noted that the increase in enrolment is only 1% for universities and 2% for colleges, indicating that the number of people accessing higher education is not commensurate with the additional OSAP funding” (Auditor General’s Report, page 456).

Our government will “lower tuition rates by 10% for all students at every publicly-funded college and university in Ontario”, which, depending on students level of education and program, students could see deductions ranging from $340-$1000.

Students will also have more control over what fees will be included in their tuition fees.

More Info

College: No Longer the “Golden Ticket” to Career Success

Career advisors, parents, and employers are looking beyond traditional education to provide skills-based experiences and better ways to identify aptitudes and talent.

Read Full Article 


NPAAMB Cultural Safety Training

Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB) will be hosting a one-day cultural safety training to help advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders in the employment and training sector on March 27, 2019.

Save the Date

Gateway’s 21st Annual Open House

Gateway Training Centre
Thursday, February 14, 2019 (1:00 PM to 3:30 PM)

2680 Lawrence Ave. E. Suite 211

(Lawrence, one block east of Midland at Brockley Dr

Gateway is a program of West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre. We have been supporting both youth and adults find and maintain employment since 1998! Our services and programs are made possible with funding from the Federal Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, and the United Way of Greater Toronto and York Region.

Please call (416) 466-7489 to RSVP.

Evolution Group: Optimize Employer Engagement Training

Mississauga on February 26 and 27 and Gananoque (near Kingston) on March 7 and 8

This blended learning program is for managers and team members responsible for employer engagement and job development. The program covers the practical, effective strategies and skills needed to engage employers to hire all levels of job seekers, including those with employment barriers. It includes a three hour eLearning course, Optimize Employment for Everyone, and the two-day on-site workshop. Optimize Employer Engagement is a refreshed version of the Employment Outcomes Professional II (EOPII) course and includes more content and more interaction to deepen the learning.

Click on the location for more information and to register Mississauga on February 26 and 27 or Gananoque (near Kingston) on March 7 and 8. Use code FW2019 to receive your discount of $25 off for individual registrations and $50 off for 5 or more registrations.

Restaurant and Food Service Job Fair

Monday, February 11, 2019
The Centre For Education & Training – Brampton East Services

More Info

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