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Care about your neighbours?
So do we.
Our members help Torontonians get back on their feet.
Offering support

For newcomers, struggling families and others facing disruption in their lives, a bit of help finding resources and opportunities can make a huge difference. That’s why our members in Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) help families and individuals navigate a path through crisis and poverty to opportunity and self-reliance.

TESS provides Ontario Works (OW) financial and employment benefits, and connects thousands of Toronto residents to community resources that help them get back on their feet. For some, this might mean training and education, while for others it could mean Employment Insurance or healthcare.

Every case is unique. Some clients work with our members for a few months, but for others it’s a relationship that will last their entire lives.

In 2018, TESS…
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Supported more than 110,000 OW cases representing over 192,000 Torontonians living in every neighbourhood of the city.

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Helped 31,882 Torontonians find work.

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Referred 3,803 Torontonians to contracted employment programs.

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Supported 1,242 youth to find work and work-based learning opportunities through the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE).

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Connected over 200 low-income residents to a career path in construction, including training, trade union membership or employment opportunities from large scale, publicly-funded infrastructure projects.

The Right Person
Marcia,
TESS Caseworker
“We’re touching peoples’ lives at a point where they’re in need. That means asking them about their family, where they’re from. Everyone’s situation is so unique. You need to be empathetic. You need to be a great listener. You need to think outside the box. And you need to leave your judgement at the door.”

Members like Marcia have a simple mission: making people’s lives better. The outcome will change from person to person, but the path to achieving it always begins with an open mind.

Support

We take in those without a place to go.

Every night, our city shelters give nearly 7,000 people a warm place to sleep. CUPE Local 79 represents more than 500 full-time and 400 part-time workers in the Shelter, Support & Housing Administration who help provide a secure place to stay for homeless families and people leaving abusive situations, as well as those experiencing mental health issues and addiction.
The Right Person
Member Caroline
Member Caroline
Caroline,
Counsellor at Seaton House
“I’m a helper. Not just by trade: I’m always giving. When I got the offer to be here, it was a blessing. I realized that even I could be a cheque away from being in this situation. I don’t just see them as another person. I work in a men’s shelter, so I think that could be my grandfather, that could be my brother. It’s not a job for me. It’s living. It’s life. It’s who I am.”
Now these vital services are under threat.
Now these vital services are under threat.

TESS workers are stretched thin, with individuals responsible for dozens of families amounting to hundreds of clients. They often lack the equipment and support necessary to manage their caseload effectively.

Over 100,000 households are waiting for social housing, and affordable housing isn’t being built fast enough to keep up. Just like our shelter system, our shelter workers are maxed out and the City falling behind the increasing demand for services and support. The city emergency homeless shelters are overflowing after years of delay in adding more beds. Occupancy rates are over the limits set by the City, which means in times of increased need, there’s nowhere for people to go.

Many of our members experience workplace violence and harassment daily. But the City wants to take away the mental and physical health supports that ensure they can continue performing their critical duties to the fullest.

Toronto deserves better. Help us continue to deliver the services our communities depend on.