Young Workers Left Out: The Integration of Toronto Youth in the City’s Labour Market


Young Workers Left Out: The Integration of Toronto Youth in the City’s Labour Market

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This report was published by the Toronto Youth Cabinet.


The mandate of the Equity and Employment Working Group is to fight the city’s rising rate of youth unemployment and improve access to jobs for marginalized youth.

Our team consists of a diverse group of youth from various parts of Toronto, with different life experiences and a spectrum of interests. The team met regularly over the span of a year at City Hall to discuss the common barriers facing youth in their labour market integration.

Our goal was to better understand the reoccurring trends that hinder their ability to seek out employment that is both secure and desirable, while also acknowledging that these barriers run deeper for some communities more than others.

This report is the result of the collaborative efforts of our working group members. We held over 30 consultations with relevant stakeholders who provided insight that reflects the larger community’s knowledge of the issues embedded within the topic of youth unemployment.

These stakeholders include youth between the ages of 15-24, local business owners, as well as non-profit organizations that offer youth services from different wards. Each member’s report is showcased, giving the reader the opportunity to explore this topic from various lenses.

Despite this diversity in perspectives, our report demonstrates that there are common trends that create barriers which prevent youth from either entering the job market, or securing stable employment that are on par with their qualifications and aspirations.

These barriers exist with respect to:

  • Lack of access to and knowledge about jobs
  • Precariousness of opportunities
  • Unfeasible requirements
  • Discrimination (race, gender, sexuality, cultural, etc.)
  • Stigmatization of youth workers
  • Inequity in networks and social capital
  • Underemployment of qualifications
  • Mental health gaps

These issues were raised in numerous consultations, therefore demonstrating that there are larger trends at play which are limiting the development and prosperity of Toronto’s youth population.

To name just a few, these trends include:

  • a lack of training and skills opportunities for those entering the job market;
  • limited job streams and opportunities open to employing youth;
  • disproportionality in part-time and temporary jobs for youth.

Toronto Youth Cabinet. (2018). Young workers left out: The integration of Toronto youth in the City’s labour market. Toronto, ON: Author. Retrieved from

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