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What Would It Take? A Longitudinal Study of the Long Term Unemployed in Toronto

This project will assess the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal study of job seekers in the City of Toronto. The goal is to discover, describe and document the “life-experiences” of people who have encountered workforce development programming, and those who should be able to benefit from employment services. According to the 2016 workforce development annual report by Toronto Employment and Social Services, (TESS), the average length of stay on Ontario Works (OW) is 35.5months. The report also notes that for all OW clients, 44% remain on assistance over 2 years, 34% between 6 months to 2 years and 22% under 6 months. A 2017 action report by (TESS) states that the proportion of cases on assistance for less than a year dropped from 43% to 38% while the proportion of cases on assistance for more than 36 months rose from 22% to 34%.

Barriers to exiting assistance and remaining off of assistance include: limited education and skills; language; persistent health challenges; the lack of affordable, accessible childcare; intimate partner violence; lack of housing; inability to access transit; lack of motivation to work, indifference to visiting an employment service, the low level of minimum wage and fear of losing benefits and discrimination.The reality of people who continue to be unemployed for prolonged periods suggests that (a) the barriers to employment were perhaps misidentified, (b) the barriers were correctly identified but the interventions were inappropriate or ineffective, or (c) the interventions were correct but the implementation was not effective. Only by collecting information from the Long Term Unemployed (LTU) themselves it is possible to determine what is not working for these job seekers.

Information from and about these job seekers will provide an understanding of their common characteristics, their short and medium term adjustments after job loss, their job search strategies and how these strategies change over time, how income support may have helped them cope with financial hardship and whether or not involvement in job search interventions was beneficial. This knowledge will help policy makers design appropriate interventions and effectively support the transition of the LTU into meaningful employment.

A longitudinal study is the most effective way to gather this information as it offers several observations of the same subject(s) over a period of time. This allows for detecting changes in the characteristics of the target group and establishing sequences of events. To assess the feasibility of a longitudinal study in the context of the City of Toronto, this
project will determine the following:

1. The stakeholders and partners necessary to implement a longitudinal study?
2. The types of information to uncover?
3. The parameters to be taken into account?
4. The most appropriate methodology and why?
5. Implementation and support to maintain the study.
6. The financial resources required to support this type of work and the organization(s) with the capacity to do
it.

 

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Link: http://workforceinnovation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/What-Would-It-Take_V2.pdf

Publisher: Toronto Workforce Innovation Group

About Lucie Morillon

Lucie Morillon is the Bilingual Content & Communications Co-ordinator for CERIC. With a passion for quality content, she connects with her online communities and provides strong resources to engage members – and always encourages new ones to get involved. She identifies, creates and curates the content destined for the ContactPoint website, the weekly CareerWise newsletter and Careering magazine.

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