John Tory thinks the next mayor of Toronto should be encouraging businesses to hire young people, rather than forcing them to do so.

The mayoral hopeful said that if he wins the election, he would seek to be an "ambassador" for getting companies to hire youth. Tory said that includes working to convince companies, one by one, to take part in programs that are designed to get youth jobs and the experience they need to start careers.

"I'm going to be the leading ambassador in this city, to get employers to join the program and decide that they have a business and a civic responsibility to offer a chance to young people," he said Wednesday, when speaking with reporters.

Asked about proposals for tackling youth unemployment that have been put forward by Olivia Chow, a fellow mayoral contender and the former NDP MP for the riding of Trinity-Spadina, Tory was critical.

"If we're going to try and attract jobs and investment to Toronto, I think we have to be very careful about setting up these kind of NDP-style bureaucracies that are going to order people to do things and then sort of be all over them in terms of administration and rules," he said.

Tory said a better strategy is to convince employers to hire young people of their own volition. And that’s why he intends to push in that direction if he becomes the city’s next mayor.

"I think that’s the better way to go, in terms of getting businesses to sign on voluntarily and happily because it's in their own best interests to do so," he said.

Tory and Chow are two of the most high-profile candidates seeking to be elected as mayor on Oct. 27.

Others include the incumbent, Mayor Rob Ford, as well as Coun. Karen Stintz, former city councillor David Soknacki and Sarah Thomson, who is in the midst of her second mayoral run — as is Tory.

More than 50 people, in total, have registered to run for mayor this fall.