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1980 – 1985

Just prior to 1980 Dr. Shawn Scherer, a psychologist, together with the help of University of Toronto Faculty, began to formally assess youth oriented programs and research literature in order to determine how best to serve this group. In 1980 a group of community professionals was convened from the Board of Education, Children's Aid Society etc. This group founded the agency in response to the difficulties they encountered in trying to help youth become gainfully employed and contributing members of society.

  • The agency was incorporated as The Centre for Advancement in Work and Living - C.A.W.L.

  • In 1981 funding was secured from the federal government’s Local Employment Assistance Program 

  • An office was established near Bloor and Bathurst and three staff were hired 

  • An industrial skill training program for youth was started to focus on auto body repair & sheet metal work

  • The Youth Employment Counselling Centre was established at the newly purchased 41 Chauncey Ave. location


1985 – 1990

Starting in 1985 C.A.W.L. expanded its focus from Youth to include Newcomers and developed new partnerships with Metro Toronto’s Community and Social Services, Employment and Immigration Canada and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations as well as developing a new community partnership with L.A.M.P. (Lake Shore Area Multi-Service Project) to provide local youth with easier access to our services. Training programs expanded to cover welding and computer and the Auto Collision Shop was launched.

  • In 1985 C.A.W.L. was proudly approved as a United Way Member Agency

  • The Office Skills Training program was accredited by George Brown College to grant certificates

  • A six-week intensive group program for immigrants and refugees was initiated

  • A 7-bed residence was opened providing affordable housing and a life-skills program for young men enrolled in training programs


1990 – 1995

This period of time saw C.A.W.L. refining programming, and establishing new partnerships with private vocational schools in order to enhance training. Programs were added to address the needs of adults in the community who had lost jobs due to plant closures, technological change or business restructuring. Partnerships were established with Humber College, the Etobicoke Board of Education and the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board.

  • Experienced Workers’ Program was started to address the needs of unemployed adults over 40

  • The Auto Collision Shop was closed

  • The men’s residence was closed 

  • The Industrial Training Program would now focus on the Auto Service Trades

  • Head office was renovated to accommodate new programs & administrative support services

  • The Independent Living Program for newcomers expanded and relocated to 173 Dufferin Street from the Dufferin St. Baptist Church


1995 – 2000

This period saw increased growth. The post office building at 2930 Lake Shore Blvd. W. was purchased and renovated and the federally funded Employment Resource Centre (ERC) was officially opened on September 24, 1997 broadening the range of options available to the community. The office space at 45 Chauncey was renovated to enhance interview and classroom activities for the Industrial Training Program. The Independent Living Skills Program was renamed Career Action for Newcomers as a better reflection of the service and relocated to 1207 King St. W.

  • Industrial Training Program strengthened linkages to Apprenticeship.

  • New youth programs were piloted & eventually the provincially funded Job Connect and Summer Jobs Services Program evolved as CAWL’s largest program

  • A network of federally funded agencies emerge in the community 

  • Self Employment Discovery is introduced to help clients explore the option of starting a business as a means of becoming self sufficient.

  • A Mentorship Program for foreign trained IT professionals is initiated


2000 – 2005

In order to increase the profile of the agency and heighten community awareness the members passed a resolution to change the agency name from C.A.W.L. to JobStart. With continued program expansion further renovation was required at 2930 Lake Shore, completing the lower level. This renovation also included the installation of an elevator improving JobStart’s wheelchair accessibility. Through this period new programs were implemented such as the Volunteer Program (youth), Workplace Essential Skills Training (WEST, adults), The Mentoring Partnership (newcomers) and Entry Point (post secondary students with disabilities).

  • The Career Action for Newcomers program relocated from 1207 King St. to 219 Dufferin St. 

  • Industrial Skills Training was closed and evolved into the Workplace Essential Skills

  • Training (WEST) program and Literacy Basic Skills program

  • Launch of JobStart’s first l fundraising event 

  • Technical upgrades were implemented across the agency 

  • Launch of the Alumni Program with first Alumni networking event


2005 – 2010

The Computer Learning Training Centre, funded by Microsoft Canada, was launched at the Lake Shore location. Technological upgrades including the launch of a mobile internet kiosk for use in Job fairs were taking place. Programs such as Job Connect, Career Action for Newcomers, Career Solutions (formerly The Experienced Workers’ Program), WEST (Workplace Essential Skills Training) continue to grow and evolve.


In 2008, IT Essentials is added to JobStart’s service offerings to newcomers. It is an innovative enhanced language and bridging program for the IT sector. IT Essentials builds upon existing programming and emphasizes essential components of successful employment integration such as: North American and workplace practices, language idioms, cultural nuances, presentation skills, business writing, workplace experience, and employment retention.

The Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, was launched at the Dufferin Street location in March 2009. The Enhanced Language Training program offers internationally trained IT professional's services to assist them in obtaining and retaining employment in their field of expertise. Services include six weeks of sector-specific IT language training, job search workshops and workplace culture orientation. The ELT program is provided in collaboration with Skills for Change.


Local Immigration Partnership (Central South Etobicoke)

The Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) aims to maximize the benefits of existing settlement services to develop a comprehensive and collaborative settlement strategy for newcomers settling in the area. JobStart has been selected by the community to lead the Central South Etobicoke Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) which provides a framework for, and facilitates the development and implementation of a sustainable local solution for immigrants. This initiative presents settlement service providers, residents, employers and newcomers the opportunity to be part of the research and development of a successful and sustainable settlement strategy plan for social and economic integration of newcomers settling in the Central South Etobicoke area by strengthening capacity and improving access to relevant services (launched September 2009).

2010 – 2015 

JobStart’s 30th Anniversary Celebration! 

  • January 2010 JobStart was selected to be one of the Employment Ontario service providers by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University

  • The Ministry’s programs: Employment Resource Centre, Career Action for Newcomers, Career Solutions and Job Connect programs ended July 31, 2010

  • August 1, 2010 JobStart implemented Employment Ontario’s new service delivery model at our Lake Shore and Dufferin sites. Employment Ontario is an integrated client centered service designed to provide employment and training to individuals 16 years of age or older, find sustainable employment in a streamlined and results oriented model; the five components of the Employment Ontario Service Delivery Model are Client Service Planning and Coordination, Resource and Information (RI), Job Search, Job Matching and Placement, and Job Retention

  • In 2011 JobStart was selected as one of eight Ontario wide agencies to pilot the six (6) month Green Shine Project.  The Green Shine program was a partnership project with First Work and Service Canada for youth who were out of school and work.  This project was a Skills Link initiative teaching employability skills to at-risk youth exposing them to jobs in Ontario’s greening economy through a solar panel installation training course.  The “Green Shine” project ended June 2011

  • Enhanced Language Training program ended March 31, 2011

  • Computer Learning Training Centre program ended March 31, 2011

  • JobStart’s Entry Point Program ended December 31 2011

  • January 1, 2012 JobStart ‘s new program for students’ with disabilities, Employment Accessibility for Students (EAS), opened at our Dufferin location.

  • JobStart, as the lead for the Central South Etobicoke Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), was selected by the lead organizations from the York South (LIP) – Social Planning Toronto, Black Creek LIP – Delta Family Resource Centre and the North Etobicoke LIP – Rexdale Women’s Centre to be the lead agency for the new Toronto West LIP Partnership

  • On March 4, 2013 JobStart launched a one year program “Youth in Demand (YD)”, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. Youth in Demand is an employment program for youth between the ages of 15-30 who face barriers to employment.  This program aims to assist youth in West Toronto who face challenges accessing the labour force, to find work in the high demand sectors of Automotive Repair and Maintenance, Construction or Retail or return to school to complete their high school education

  • April 1, 2013 JobStart launched the Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP), funded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The NSP program has a significant positive impact on the lives of newcomers; facilitating access to language, training, health care, housing, education, employment and other community services

  • JobStart’s Workplace Employment Placement Services (WEPS) program ended June 30, 2013

  • September 1, 2013 JobStart was awarded funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for the Youth Employment Fund (YEF).  The Youth Employment Fund is offered at JobStart’s Lake Shore and Dufferin locations, providing youth between the ages of 15 and 29, with an entry point for long-term employment

  • On March 4, 2013 JobStart launched a Skills Link – Youth in Demand (YD) program (13 month contract ), funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy, which was launched on.  The YD program ended March 31, 2014.  Due to Agency success in delivering the Youth in Demand program, JobStart was awarded an additional 10 month contract starting September 29, 2014; ended July 3, 2015

  • September 29, 2014 JobStart’s new short term program the “Peer Employment Mentoring” (PEM) program at our 219 Dufferin Street location, funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Funds for the Peer Employment Mentoring will match clients on the Ontario Disability Supports Program (ODSP) with peer mentors from the same sector, industry, similar background and ODSP experience; ended September 30, 2015

  • November 2014, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities selected JobStart, as an Employment Ontario (EO) Employment Service provider. The C-OJG provides financial support to individual employers, up to $10,000, who wish to purchase training for their employees. The Job Grant is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees

  • October 1, 2015 JobStart launched the Youth Job Connection (YJC) program, funded the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’, new youth employment program.  YJC is designed to help young people between the ages of 15 and 29 overcome multiple barriers to employment with the goal of achieving long term employment, meaningful careers and success in their future lives

  • Youth Employment Fund, funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, ended September 30, 2015

  • Job Search Workshop program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, ended October 31, 2015

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