Helping Youth from
Underserved Toronto Communities Gain Job Skills

Toronto July 3, 2007 – One hundred youth begin summer jobs this week with the Toronto Police Service for the second year of the ‘youth in policing’ program launched today by Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers, Toronto Police Services Board Chair Dr. Alok Mukherjee and Toronto Police Chief William Blair.

“Last year’s Youth in Policing experience was a resounding success, strengthening relationships by bringing together young people from underserved Toronto neighbourhoods with men and women from the Toronto Police Service,” said Minister Chambers. “This is also a wonderful way to spend the summer – acquiring new skills while earning a pretty good wage.”

Under the program, 100 youth, 14 to 17 years of age, have been placed in jobs with various departments of the Toronto Police Service, including information technology, forensic identification, community events, traffic safety and the marine unit.

“The Toronto Police Service is pleased to be part of the Ontario government’s Youth Opportunities Strategy for 2007,” said Chief Blair. “Last year’s experience was a tremendous success for everyone involved. The program inspires these young people to become ambassadors for police and community relations while providing them with valuable job and life skills.”

The Ontario government is providing $345,000 to support the youth in policing initiative in Toronto this summer. The government is also expanding the initiative to enable at least 66 more youth to work with other police service organizations in underserved communities in London, Windsor, Hamilton, Ottawa, Durham Region, Thunder Bay and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The youth in policing initiative is one component of the province’s three-year $28.5 million Youth Opportunities Strategy, a broad plan to help young people faced with significant challenges achieve success. The strategy also includes:

• Summer Jobs for Youth Program, employing approximately 1,650 young people –750 from underserved communities in Toronto. The program includes pre-employment readiness, employment placements and post-employment supports in a variety of fields including recreation, hospitality, retail and general labour
• 62 youth outreach workers – 35 in Toronto – providing advice and supporting hard-to-reach youth by connecting them to appropriate programs and services in underserved communities
• Helping up to 80 students who left high school without a diploma earn up to 10 high school credits and gain up to 27 weeks of meaningful paid work experience through the Ontario Public Service Learn and Work Program
• Partnering with schools, school boards, community-based agencies and the police to implement a School-based Prevention/Diversion program that helps high school students at risk of becoming involved in, or already involved in disruptive behaviour, increase their chances of school success.

The Youth Opportunities Strategy is one of the many steps the McGuinty government has taken to provide more opportunities for Ontario’s youth. Other initiatives include:
• Youthconnect.ca, a youth-oriented website that helps young people by providing a forum geared specifically to them with access to information, services and resources
• Almost $11 million of investments so far for the Youth Challenge Fund, an innovative public and private sector initiative that supports 58 youth led groups across Toronto’s most underserved neighbourhoods
• $3 million in grants to a community-designed initiative in Toronto that encourages youth to lead lives free of violence
• Implementing Student Success teams in every secondary school to ensure that every at-risk student is connected with a caring adult.

Contacts:

Velma Morgan
Minister’s Office
416-458-2258

Anne-Machowski-Smith
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
416-325-5156

Meaghan Gray
Toronto Police Service
416-808-7100