Different experiences, cultures, and worldviews are what make Toronto such a great city. They help to shape the social fabric of our city and make our society stronger.
I think that’s why I found Tahir’s story so compelling. It’s worrying that with so much talent and experience to offer our country and community, newcomers like him continue to find it difficult to meet their full potential.
In my job, I meet many people like Tahir; people with similar stories and challenges. I think everyone has. They come here with a lot to offer and hearts full of hope for a better life, but get stuck in low-paying jobs beneath their skills level, eventually giving up on their dreams.
You’ll be able to read more about what precarious employment — part-time, contract, low-paying work — means for our community in next week’s post by Wayne Lewchuk, who is leading the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario research group. He’ll talk about the importance of jobs with a future, for newcomers and for everyone.
What I find particularly tough is that so many newcomers who have precarious jobs are parents hoping to improve life for their children and families. Often their children find success, but it seems unfair that one generation must give up so much to allow the next to thrive.
The good news is there are exceptions. Jehad, our guest blogger for this week, is a great example of someone who came to Canada from another country, overcame some of the barriers faced by his peers, and is now giving back to our community in a meaningful and powerful way.
People like Jehad remind me why United Way — and organizations like Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office — continue to work to create the opportunities newcomers need to, as he put it, be “connected, included and successful.”
I’ve also started to see the progress that newcomer youth are making — these second and third generations have really found their voice and footing as drivers of change.
Last week, I was at an event where youth from across our city were excited to participate in dialogue. When I walked into the room I was struck by the incredible diversity of the group and I thought to myself: this is Toronto.
Their insights, opinions and engagement with our community were truly inspiring. And after the fulsome and valuable discussions they had, I am looking forward to seeing where these young leaders will take us.