Government of Canada and City of Toronto partner with Elevate to support underrepresented workers in tech sector

Toronto: Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced an investment of over $5.8 million for Elevate to launch a new and innovative job success program, Elevate Talent. She was joined by Mayor John Tory, who announced additional support for Elevate from the City of Toronto. This comprehensive program will reskill 5,300 job seekers from underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQ+, and Francophone professionals in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and match them with job openings in technology and innovation-based organizations, start-ups and the creative industries.

“For too long, members of underrepresented groups have experienced unique and systemic hurdles to their career advancement. Now, after facing disproportionate impacts of the pandemic, individuals in these communities need support more than ever,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister Responsible for FedDev Ontario. “With today’s investment for Elevate, our message is clear: we are here to support a strong, skilled, diverse and inclusive economy for everyone.”

Complementing FedDev Ontario’s investment, the City of Toronto is providing $350,000 in funding toward community programming and initiatives, including Elevate Talent. This builds on the City’s $350,000 investment towards Elevate programming in 2020, as well as annual support from 2017 to 2019 toward the Elevate Tech festival, which brings the innovation ecosystem together and creates a platform to raise the profile of Toronto’s booming technology sector.

“Collaborating with partners like Elevate will play a key role in the reopening and recovery of our economy post-pandemic. I am pleased that the city is able to support this new initiative and with the help of the federal government’s funding commitment we will see the creation of thousands of new jobs and opportunities for some of our city’s most vulnerable communities,” said Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto. “This innovative approach will allow us to take advantage of our booming tech industry, world-renowned post-secondary institutions and community partners to ensure that everyone is a part of our economic recovery.”

“Increasing representation in Canada’s tech sector needs all the support we can generate. We know there are roles to fill, and we also know we have untapped talent disconnected from opportunities. In 2019, we connected thousands of jobseekers with meaningful employment in the tech sector. Today, we’re excited to expand on that program and focus on groups that have been historically under-served,” said Razor Suleman, CEO and Co-Founder of Elevate. “We have a lot of work to do so that our tech and innovation sector reflects the diverse makeup of our communities, and we’re thrilled to launch Elevate Talent to provide pathways to real jobs.”

Elevate, a purpose-driven not-for-profit, supports businesses to scale-up and connects talent to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration across the country.

By piloting a collaborative model with key community, learning, and hiring partners, this project will provide targeted training to build job-specific skills, fill the gaps in technical skills learning and match participants with the more than 70,000 open jobs in the GTHA’s technology sector.

“It’s never been more important to be a values-first leader,” believes Margaret Stuart, Country Manager at Salesforce Canada and Co-Chair of Elevate Talent. “To keep pace with changes to the ways we work and learn, businesses have a role to play in reducing barriers to reskilling. People need access to the technologies and skills necessary to land a job, regardless of what their background may be. That’s why the Elevate Talent initiative is so important. It shines a light on how we must create equal and equitable workplaces that reflect the diverse communities around us, where everyone feels empowered to succeed.”

Through important investments such as this one, the Government of Canada is taking the next steps towards long-term, foundational change for a more inclusive Canada and to support a vibrant tech and innovation sector that reflects the diverse makeup of our communities.

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