DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Ontario Gov't to launch pilot program to help people leave Welfare for Work

- Part of Ontario's Plan to Restore Integrity
to Social Assistance Programs

April 20, 2005

TORONTO, April 20 - The McGuinty government is launching an innovative pilot project that will help people move from working for welfare to working for a living, Minister of Community and Social Services Sandra Pupatello announced today.

JobsNow will provide ongoing, individualized employment counselling, job placement and retention support to help people find jobs so that they can leave welfare for good.

"Social assistance recipients are not statistics - they are real people who want to work. It's time our welfare programs worked, too," said Pupatello. "Our plan will get thousands of people into the workforce, and that's good for our clients, our economy and our taxpayers."

WCG International, in cooperation with municipal Ontario Works offices, will run the JobsNow pilot in six pilot communities: Peel Region, Durham Region, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa and Nipissing. Through their employment partnership with the government of British Columbia, WCG has helped 30,000 social assistance clients return to the workforce by providing one-on-one support and leveraging partnerships with local businesses and employers.

"JobsNow will act as a network to help income assistance recipients connect with the hidden job market," said Ian Ferguson, president and CEO of WCG International. "We're not finding make-work jobs - we're finding sustainable, long-term employment for people who just need extra support to get back to work. We have already identified nearly 1,000 jobs and have the first people back to work."

"We are pleased that the government has created an employment support program that will make a real difference in the lives of our long-term Ontario Works clients. JobsNow will also free up existing municipal employment services so we can concentrate on supporting those who have been on Ontario Works for less than a year," said Roger Anderson, Chair, Regional Municipality of Durham and president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

The made-for-Ontario JobsNow is focussed specifically on people who have been on social assistance for 12 months or more, providing them with intensive support to get back into the labour force and into long-term employment.

This initiative is part of the provincial government's plan to restore integrity to Ontario's social assistance programs by streamlining administration, improving accountability and moving people off welfare into steady jobs. It responds to the recommendations of London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews' December 2004 report that found current social assistance programs are not doing enough to help people get back into the workforce.

"Helping people get back to work is good social policy, good economic policy and good fiscal policy," said Pupatello. "Our people are our greatest resource. When they can fulfill their potential, the entire province benefits."

Disponible en français


April 20, 2005


The Ontario government's JobsNow pilot program will help people who are
currently on Ontario Works find and keep sustainable jobs. The program is a
partnership between the province, WCG International and municipal social
services offices.

WCG will run employment placement pilot projects in six municipal areas:
Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor, Nipissing, Peel and Durham. The job referrals will
be aimed at Ontario Works clients who have been receiving social assistance
for over a year and have been unsuccessful in finding long-term employment.
JobsNow will provide participants with individualized:

  • job matching services
  • pre-employment supports
  • job orientation information and
  • follow-up on any job related issues.

JobsNow is based on the principle that different people need different
supports to find and keep a job. The program will work one-on-one with
individual social assistance clients and employers to match the right person
to the right job. JobsNow focuses on helping people who have been on social
assistance for more than 12 months to re-enter the job market through a
combination of access to job opportunities and longer-term job retention

JobsNow places an aggressive emphasis on job retention because research
has shown that individuals who are employed for a period of more than
12 months have a higher likelihood of remaining in a job. Current Ontario
Works employment supports include up to six months of job retention services.
While this approach works for some clients, it has proven less successful in
helping longer-term unemployed individuals return to the workforce.

JobsNow begins in April 2005 and continues to May 31, 2007, with a target
of 12,000 participants referred to the JobsNow service. An independent third
party will conduct a thorough, ongoing evaluation to measure at six-month
intervals the success of JobsNow in helping people find and keep long-term

WCG is a leading Canadian firm in workforce development and job placement
and retention services. WCG was selected to run JobsNow based on its
successful employment partnership with the government of British Columbia.
Because WCG's payment will be based on actual savings that result from moving
clients off of Ontario Works and into sustainable jobs, JobsNow will produce a
net savings for both the province and participating municipalities.

JobsNow further restores integrity to social assistance by building on
the improvements the McGuinty government has already made, improvements that
emphasize treating social assistance recipients with dignity and respect,
improving employment outcomes and making the welfare system more efficient and

Disponible en français



Le gouvernement McGuinty lance un projet pilote innovateur pour aider les gens à passer de l’aide sociale au marché du travail
URL: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/CFCS/fr/newsRoom/newsReleases/050420.htm

(this URL forwards to the MCSS site -- yes, they're back to that acronym again)

WCG International

[Anxious to hear what BC's experience was with WCG International]



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