Northern Ontario youth learning vital job skills to eliminate barriers to employment

Young women among those benefitting under Skills Link program

GERALDTON, ON, March 2, 2017 /CNW/ - A total of 48 Northern Ontario youth, more than half of whom are expected to be young women facing employment barriers and Indigenous youth, will learn critical skills and knowledge to prepare them for the transition to the job market or to return to school, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced today.

Minister Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North, made the announcement in Geraldton at MTW Employment Services. Established in 1999 with a mandate to provide local residents with bilingual assistance for employment and training needs, MTW Employment Services will receive more than $647,000 under the Skills Link program.

The project, Young Adults in Action, will help youth in Geraldton and Longlac develop a wide range of job readiness skills, teach them team work, and organization and communication skills. The program will run for 134 weeks and will bring in eight participants through six intake periods until October 2019. Participants will attend classroom sessions where they will acquire industry standard training and receive certification in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems, Smart Serve, safe food handling and first aid. They will also take part in a 16-week, full-time paid work placement to help them achieve their planned career goals.


"Young people in Northern Ontario are facing employment barriers and want to build their own future in the workforce and contribute to their communities at the same time. Skills Link projects like Young Adults in Action help at-risk youth get the training and skills they need. These skills help them to enter the workforce, strengthen our middle class and keep our economy growing."
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

 "We are both pleased and excited to have the Young Adults in Action (YAA) program continue here at MTW Employment Services. Since we began running the program in 2004 we have had more than 100 successful completions. With the continuation of the YAA, through the Youth Employment Strategy's Skills Link program, we can carry on delivering these vital employment skills to the youth of Greenstone and the surrounding area."
Carol Mercier, Executive director, MTW Employment Services

Quick Facts

  • Since its inception, the Skills Link program has helped over 296,000 youth develop skills and gain experience to find a job or return to school
  • In 2015–2016, ESDC's Skills Link program served 6,024 youth.
  • New investments from Budget 2016 will permit the Skills Link program to serve 11,000 more youth than in the previous year.
  • Skills Link is delivered by three federal departments: Employment and Social Development Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

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Budget 2016

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Youth Employment Strategy

Launched in 1997, the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada's commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace. The YES helps youth between the ages of 15 to 30 get the information and gain the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workforce. YES includes three complementary program streams—Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience­—and is delivered by 11 federal departments and agencies.

  • Skills Link helps youth facing barriers to employment—including single parents, youth with disabilities, Indigenous youth, young newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas—to develop employability skills and gain experience they need to find a job or return to school.

  • Career Focus helps post-secondary graduates transition to the labour market through paid internships and helps provide youth with the information and experience they need to make informed career decisions, find a job and/or pursue advanced studies.

  • Summer Work Experience provides wage subsidies to employers to create summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students. The Summer Work Experience program includes Canada Summer Jobs.

Each year, the Government invests approximately $330 million in the YES to help young people gain the skills, abilities and work experience they need to find and keep good jobs.

Budget 2016 invested an additional $278.4 million in 2016–17 in the YES to:

  • create new green jobs for youth;
  • increase the number of youth who access the Skills Link program, which helps young Canadians overcome barriers to employment;
  • support employment opportunities in the heritage sector under the Young Canada Works program; and
  • increase the number of jobs for students under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Skills Link program

The Skills Link program is a component of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy. It promotes education and skills as being key to labour market participation. Through funding for organizations, the Skills Link program helps youth develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market and to overcome barriers to employment. These barriers include, but are not limited to, challenges faced by recent immigrant youth, youth with disabilities, single parent youth, youth who have not completed high school, Indigenous youth, and youth living in rural or remote areas.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Jean-Bruno Villeneuve, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour,, 819-654-5613; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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