“Harry” is a 45-year-old man with an eclectic work history; he has worked as a software teacher, a carpenter, a warehouse shipper/receiver, construction labourer, a painter and a landscaper. When he first registered with us in April of 2002, he was homeless and living in a shelter. He came from a farm family outside of Toronto, and after a failed relationship, he suffered a serious depression and was out of work for quite a while. Through a variety of short-term jobs, he was able to find a small room and began working on a more regular basis. Because of his work ethic and many skills, we found him to be one of our most realizable workers. He resisted being placed in a full position, but in August of 2004, a building maintenance position came open in one of the city co-op housing complexes and after trying Harry out for a brief probationary period, he was offered the position of assistant superintendent in January of 2005. He has successfully kept the job ever since.
“Anne” is a 50-year-old single mother from the Regent Park area who registered with LabourLink in February 2004. She had previously been employed in building maintenance positions in large apartment buildings in the GTA, but after a difficult divorce and some challenges with alcohol, she went on Social Assistance for a number of years. Initially, she was happy to take the odd cleaning job with us, but after some encouragement and assistance from the staff, she began to work on a more regular basis. When the recruitment officers for the Regent Park Redevelopment Project requested that LabourLink submit the names of 20 workers, Anne was one of the successful candidates. She participated in a 7 week training program with the USWA, joined the union and worked on a variety of building sites since then. She is presently enrolled in the Air Conditioning/Furnace Repair and Maintenance course at George Brown College.
“Ricardo” is a 49-year-old man, originally from Colombia, who arrived in Canada with his wife and 2 children, with his entire savings, in January of 2004. He was the manager of a large French international petroleum company in Bogotá, with a Masters degree in Business Administration. As a newcomer to Canada, with no Canadian work experience and lack of a support system to help him find work, he struggled to find a job. He registered with LabourLink in August of 2004 and we assisted him with a resume and cover letter, and information about the job search and interview process. And after a few days in a temporary warehouse job, he was offered a full time position with the company. When a better opportunity came up with another of our employers, a large plastics company in Vaughan, he accepted with a starting salary of $12.00 per hour. In a very short time, he was promoted to site supervisor with a corresponding wage, and has since purchased a home and a new vehicle for his family.
“A few years ago Canada went through a recession. Not only did I lose a job, but a roof over my head as well. I was shocked, grief-stricken and ruined completely. In vain I knocked at employers’ doors for what seemed like an eternity…. One very fortunate day, fate brought me to LabourLink… My needs were clearly understood… I will never forget my first day at an actual LabourLink job… LabourLink staff go out of their way to help needy people. Their intelligent guidance in thoughts, words and deeds directs participants in an appropriate manner. It is a perfect project with kind, caring people, which I know are only a phone call away. And I am not alone. The kindness of LabourLink staff seems to have illuminated my path. I don’t know how and in what words to thank them, except with tearful gratitude and a prayer, because I know goodness is its own reward. Life would be a better place if there were more LabourLinks.”
“Joe” is a 42-year-old male, originally a teacher of computer sciences in Kingston. At Christmas time in 2000, his wife and 5 year old daughter were killed in a traffic accident and as he phrased it “ … I fell into the bottle”, despite having no problems with alcohol or drugs to that point. He lost his job, his home, and his car and ended up coming to Toronto, finally entered the shelter system in early 2005. He registered with our program in August of 2005 and literally from day one began working at a variety of temp jobs. Wherever we sent Joe to work, we got positive feedback from the employers. He worked on a fairly regular basis with one of our moving companies and then was employed full time with a carpet cleaning company. He has been working there now for over a year and a half, with full benefits and has secured housing.