If Olivia Chow becomes the next mayor of Toronto, she intends to make the training and hiring of young workers a key requirement for companies bidding on big city contracts.
During a campaign announcement on Tuesday morning, Chow laid out her plan to tackle youth unemployment, which she said stands at 22 per cent in Toronto.
These young Torontonians are in a position where they can’t find a job to get the experience they need to move on and move up, Chow said.
"It's a vicious cycle," said Chow.
To combat this challenge, Chow proposes negotiating so-called community benefits agreements that would require companies working on major infrastructure and capital projects valued at $50 million or more, to include apprenticeships and jobs for young people.
"We're asking companies that bid for these projects… that they hire young people and that that’s one of the criteria in order for them to win city contracts," Chow said.
Chow said this strategy has been used during the revitalization of Regent Park and has generated 500 jobs for local residents as a result.
"We just need to expand that scale," she said.
It's Chow's goal to generate some 5,000 jobs for youth, over a four-year period, as a result of these community benefits agreements — that’s roughly the same number of youth the city directly employs each year.
Chow is one of more than 50 candidates who have registered to run for mayor this fall.
The former Trinity-Spadina MP stepped down from Parliament so that she could pursue a mayoral bid.
Toronto's Oct. 27 election is just over five months away.