Youth Job Link (YJL) - General Qs and As

Program Overview

What is Youth Job Link?

Youth Job Link (YJL) is a new youth employment program designed to help youth, including students, aged 15 to 29, who do not face significant barriers to employment, but could benefit from some extra help to plan their careers and transition to the labour market.

YJL was announced in Budget 2015 as part of the Ontario government’s major reinvestment the Youth Jobs Strategy to support several new youth employment programs, including Youth Job Connection and Youth Job Link.

It is also part of the government’s evidence-based approach to modernize and transform our employment and training programs and services to make them better coordinated, more targeted and more effective for people across the province, especially younger Ontarians.

The program offers a range of non-intensive employment services for young people to gain career management skills, get exposure to career exploration activities, and get help finding employment, including full-time, summer and part-time employment.

YJL has been integrated into the existing Resource and Information component of Employment Ontario’s Employment Service, but features expanded offerings, including youth-focused career exploration and career management services.

What services does Youth Job Link provide for youth?

Youth Job Link provides three categories of non-intensive employment services, each of which is available year-round. They are:

  • Career exploration workshops to increase knowledge of career options and support career decision-making;
  • Career management workshops to improve readiness for the labour market; and,
  • Job search, readiness and matching assistance to connect youth with employers offering employment opportunities, including summer jobs.  

Career exploration, career management, job search and job readiness services are delivered in the form of short-duration workshops (less than two days) delivered online or in-person, and individually or in a group setting.

Job matching services involve service providers working to connect youth, including students with employment opportunities and assisting employers with addressing their workforce needs.

While these services are offered year-round, the majority of Youth Job Link clients are expected to use them to help find summer employment.

What services does Youth Job Link provide for employers?

Youth Job Link’s job matching services are available to all Ontario employers to help connect them to youth looking for jobs. Job matching services include:

    • Advertising of employment opportunities, and
    • Assistance with identifying potentially suitable youth for job vacancies.

What is meant by “youth who do not face significant barriers to employment”?

“Youth who do not face significant barriers to employment” refers to young people who are capable of self-directed job searching and career exploration.

These young people may not be experiencing the same educational, economic, social and other life challenges that are barriers to employment for some youth, who may require more intensive services and supports.

Youth experiencing significant, multiple or complex barriers to employment can be referred to more intensive employment programs, such as the Employment Service or Youth Job Connection.

What is meant by “non-intensive” employment services in the program guidelines?

“Non-intensive” employment and career services are intended to be:

    • Short-duration (e.g. informational workshops on employment and career related topics, such as vocational interests, aptitudes and abilities), and
    • Self-directed (e.g. providing access to computers and the Internet for job searches, or facilitating job matches between employers and youth that do not require intensive intervention on the part of the service provider.)

Which organizations deliver Youth Job Link?

All Employment Service delivery sites, at over 320 locations across the province, are delivering Youth Job Link.

Using the existing Employment Service network allows the ministry to leverage existing resources, infrastructure and delivery expertise already in place across the province to provide employment resource and information services to clients, including youth. Currently, the Employment Service provides services to 70,000 youth per year on average.

What financial incentives and supports are available for youth and employers as part of Youth Job Link?

In some cases, up to $300 per participant is available for a combination of:

    • Individual-focused Employment Supports for some youth who have been matched to an employer but need additional support to offset work-related costs such as transportation, work clothing and equipment; and
    • Employer Incentives for some employers to offset specific costs related to onboarding new youth hires (e.g. additional supervision and training).

Why is Youth Job Link being delivered by the Employment Service network? Why didn’t the government take a targeted approach to service provider selection, as it did for Youth Job Connection?

Youth Job Link is a non-intensive program for youth facing few barriers to employment, and requires fewer resources per client. Youth Job Link’s services also align well with the Resource and Information component of the Employment Service (ES), and could therefore be seamlessly integrated into the well-established ES network, which already helps 70,000 youth per year on average.

Integrating Youth Job Link into ES makes the delivery of this new program cost effective by leveraging the existing resources, infrastructure and expertise already available in the ES network.

Access and Participation

How is the government ensuring that Youth Job Link is available to all youth across Ontario, particularly in northern and rural communities?

We are committed to ensuring new youth employment programs are accessible to youth across Ontario. That is why Youth Job Link is widely available in all corners of the province. All Employment Service (ES) delivery sites, at over 320 locations across the province, are delivering Youth Job Link year-round.

The ES delivery network is well-established and uses a funding model that takes into consideration a number of variables including population, location, labour market environment and economies of scale. 

The ministry also evaluates the needs of communities across the province, including northern and rural communities, and adjusts funding allocations and client targets where needed. This ensures that service providers can continue to meet evolving needs in the communities they serve.

In communities where a local need is identified (e.g. distance), the service provider may provide itinerant or mobile services.

How is the government ensuring the diverse needs of Ontario’s youth are met through Youth Job Link?

Youth Job Link is just one program in a new, more comprehensive and targeted suite of employment programs we are launching to better help all youth improve their skills and find work.

We recognize that some client groups may face unique challenges when training or searching for a job. The Employment Service delivery network, which delivers Youth Job Link, is well-established and carefully designed to provide equitable access to employment services for all Ontarians, including Francophone and Aboriginal Ontarians, Newcomers, and Persons with Disabilities.

How is the government ensuring the needs of youth with disabilities are met through Youth Job Link?

Youth Job Link is designed to take into consideration the unique needs of youth with disabilities. Service providers can provide up to $600 per youth with a disability that requires employment support. Disability supports are in addition to the maximum $300 individual support.

Youth that require more intensive employment services and supports may be referred to the Employment Service or Youth Job Connection. These programs are also designed to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.

In addition, all Employment Ontario service providers must have the ability to deliver services in a facility that is readily accessible to people with disabilities. Where services are not fully accessible to people with physical disabilities, the service provider must have a plan to accommodate these individuals by serving them in an accessible location or through partnership with another organization, in adherence to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

When appropriate, service providers can refer people with disabilities to the services of the Ontario Disability Support Program - Employment Supports (ODSP-ES). ODSP-ES helps individuals with their unique needs, and provides a range of supports for employment and independence, such as technological aids, supports, devices, and personnel supports such as transcribing and sign language interpretation.

What employment programming is available for youth who need more intensive employment services?

Youth who need more intensive employment supports can be referred to:

    • Youth Job Connection, which offers paid pre-employment training, job placements, and mentoring and retention services designed to help young people who face multiple and/or complex barriers to employment get the employment skills and education/training they need to achieve long-term employment;
    • Youth Job Connection: Summer, which provides summer job opportunities and part-time job placements during the school year to help high school students, aged 15 to 18, who are facing challenging life circumstances and may need support transitioning between school and work; and
    • Employment Service, which provides job search, job matching and placements, and job retention services and supports to a wide range of individuals, including youth who may be facing some barriers to employment.

How are youth that previously accessed the discontinued Summer Jobs Service being served under the new mix of youth programs?

Our number one priority is to provide the best service possible to our clients. We can achieve this better and more effectively through a new, more comprehensive suite of programs that serve young people across a broader spectrum of needs, at more locations.

Research shows that youth facing significant barriers to employment require more intensive and longer-term supports, such as pre-employment and job readiness supports, job placements and ongoing coaching. Youth with fewer barriers may only require lower intensity employment supports such as job search assistance and access to targeted labour market information to support their choice of career path.

With that in mind, Youth Job Link was designed to help youth, including students, aged 15 to 29, who do not face significant barriers to employment but could benefit from some extra help to plan their careers and transition to the labour market. It provides three categories of service, each of which are available year-round:

  • Career exploration workshops to increase knowledge of career options and supports career decision-making;
  • Career management workshops to improve readiness for the labour market; and,
  • Job search, readiness and matching assistance to connect youth with employers offering employment opportunities, including summer jobs.

High school students experiencing greater barriers to employment can access Youth Job Connection: Summer (YJCS), which is the summer component of the Youth Job Connection program. It provides summer, part-time and after-school job opportunities for high school students aged 15 to 18 who are facing challenging life circumstances and may need support transitioning between school and work.

YJCS provides a wide range of assisted services tailored to the individual needs of youth clients, including:

  • A minimum of 20 hours of paid pre-employment training;
  • Job placements of up to eight weeks (during the summer) or up to ten hours per week during the school year, with incentives for employers; and,
  • Wrap-around supports, including community services and mentorship.

Can youth access incentives for more than one program simultaneously?

No. Youth cannot access incentives for more than one program simultaneously.

How can youth and employers find out about Youth Job Link and how to access the program?

Service providers are responsible for doing community outreach and making necessary linkages with employers, schools, youth and other community groups to build awareness of the program.

Program information, including where to access the program, is available to the general public through the Employment Ontario website.

In addition, the Employment Ontario Contact Centre, available at 1-800-387-5656, offers up-to-date information on employment and training services in Ontario.

What supports are available for employers to start their summer hiring process?

Employers can post job opportunities through the Employment Service (ES), as well as access support for their human resource planning, recruitment and workplace training.

In addition, Youth Job Connection: Summer (YJCS) offers financial incentives to encourage employers to provide job placements and to offset expenses incurred by the employer during the placement.

YJCS assists high school students facing challenging life circumstances with more intensive services and supports to help them secure a part-time or summer job.

Employers can also use the Ontario Job Bank to advertise job opportunities to all individuals, including specific groups of job seekers such as students.

What other employer supports are available through Employment Ontario?

The year-round component of Youth Job Connection offers financial incentives to encourage employers to provide job placements to youth with multiple barriers to employment and to offset expenses incurred by the employer during the placement.

Employers can also benefit from financial incentives through the Employment Service to provide on-the-job training for individuals experiencing some barriers to employment.

Employment Ontario also offers employer supports through the following programs:

    • Canada-Ontario Job Grant
    • Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit
    • Employer Apprentice Completion Bonus

A memo template and list of employer supports is now available on the Youth Job Link page on the Employment Ontario Partners’ Gateway (EOPG). These materials are intended to help service providers in sharing information with employers regarding all employer supports available through Employment Ontario.

Program Funding

How much funding is the Ontario government investing in Youth Job Link?

Youth Job Link will receive $13.5 million per year in base funding, and the program is expected to serve approximately 18,000 clients each year.

Is funding for Youth Job Link sufficient to address the needs of youth formerly served by the Summer Jobs Service?

Our number one priority is to provide the best service possible to our clients. We can achieve this better and more effectively through a new, more comprehensive suite of programs that serve young people across a broader spectrum of needs, at more locations.

This new approach represents a shift in the way program funds are allocated. We are shifting resources to areas where they will have the greatest impact and help clients who need the most help.

Research shows that youth facing significant barriers to employment require more intensive and longer-term supports, such as pre-employment and job readiness supports, job placements and ongoing coaching. Youth with fewer barriers may only require lower intensity employment supports such as job search assistance and access to targeted labour market information to support their choice of career path. 

The new mix of programs offers more year-round employment services for young people, and targets incentives and supports to youth that may have more difficulty finding employment on their own and employers who might not have otherwise hired youth.

Policy Direction

What approach is the government taking to its youth employment programs?

The Ontario government is deeply committed to investing in the talent and skills of our greatest asset: our people.

We believe that all people, regardless of background or circumstance, should have access to effective employment and training programs that give them the skills they need to succeed.

With this goal in mind, we are working hard to deliver two major commitments:

  • An evidence-based approach to modernize and transform our employment and training programs and services to make them better coordinated, more targeted and more effective for people across the province, especially younger Ontarians.
  • A major re-investment in our Youth Jobs Strategy to support several new youth employment programs, including Youth Job Connection, Youth Job Link, an additional investment in the Employment Service, and Experience Ontario ($250 million over two years to renew the Youth Jobs Strategy as part of Budget 2015).

As part of the transformation process, we are conducting ongoing research, consultations and evaluations of our programs and services to ensure we are building on best practices and serving Ontarians as effectively as possible, while also ensuring our resources are used in the most cost-effective way and targeted toward those who need them most.

Through a series of consultations to inform the design of the new programs, we heard from many stakeholders that our youth employment and training services should target young people across a broader spectrum of needs.

Research shows that youth facing significant barriers to employment require more intensive and longer-term supports, such as pre-employment and job readiness supports, job placements and ongoing coaching. Youth with fewer barriers may only require lower intensity employment supports such as job search assistance and access to targeted labour market information to support their choice of career path. 

Our number one priority throughout this process is to provide the best service possible to our clients. We can achieve this better and more effectively through a new, more comprehensive suite of programs that serve young people across a broader spectrum of needs, at more locations.

In fact, youth employment and training funding is increasing from 2015/16 to 2016/17.

Why is the government shifting its focus to serving different groups of youth with different services?

Through a series of consultations to inform the design of new programs, we heard from many stakeholders that our youth employment and training services should target young people across a broader spectrum.

Research shows that youth facing significant barriers to employment require more intensive and longer-term supports, such as pre-employment and job readiness supports, job placements and ongoing coaching. Youth with fewer barriers may only require lower intensity employment supports such as job search assistance and access to targeted labour market information to support their choice of career path. 

The shift in focus invests the government’s resources where they are most needed, ensures all youth who need employability supports get the appropriate level of intervention based on their needs, and helps support the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

How does Youth Job Link fit within the government’s initiative to transform employment and training services?

As part of the government’s initiative to transform employment and training services, we are using an evidence-based approach to integrating and redesigning youth employment programming, and introducing a new, more comprehensive and targeted suite of employment programs and services for youth with a broad spectrum of needs. This includes:

  • Youth Job Link, which launched in April 2016 and provides non-intensive services for youth who face few barriers to employment.
  • Youth Job Connection, which launched in October 2015 and provides more intensive, wrap-around supports for youth facing multiple and/or complex barriers to employment.
  • Youth Job Connection: Summer, which launched in April 2016 and provides summer job opportunities and part-time job placements during the school year for high school students facing challenging life circumstances; and
  • The existing Employment Service, which provides employment services and supports to a wide range of individuals, including youth who may be facing some barriers to employment, and may benefit from assisted supports.

How does Youth Job Link fit within the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy?

In Budget 2013, the province announced the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy to support job opportunities for young people through four funds totalling $295 million over two years. Significant progress has been made in advancing youth employment across the province. However, young Ontarians still face challenges in finding jobs, and youth unemployment remains high.

Recognizing this, the government renewed the Youth Jobs Strategy in Budget 2015 with a major reinvestment of $250 million over two years to support several new youth employment programs. This was reaffirmed in Budget 2016 and includes:

  • Youth Job Link, which launched in April 2016 and provides non-intensive services for youth who face few barriers to employment.
  • Youth Job Connection, which launched in October 2015 and provides more intensive, wrap-around supports for youth facing multiple and/or complex barriers to employment.
  • Youth Job Connection: Summer, which launched in April 2016 and provides summer job opportunities and part-time job placements during the school year for high school students facing challenging life circumstances.

Along with the existing Employment Service, these programs form a new, more comprehensive and targeted suite of employment programs to help youth across a broader spectrum of needs determine their career direction, obtain meaningful employment and succeed in the labour market.

More Information

Who can I contact for more information about Youth Job Link?

For more information, please contact your Employment and Training Consultant.