The Labour Community Services of Metropolitan Toronto Inc. was created as an active partnership between United Way and the Toronto Labour Council. The intent was to build a continuous alliance that would bridge community outreach with labour activism, which often share the same goals.
Our aspirations are simple but high. We believe that in order to attain a society wherein everyone is able to fully to participate, we must set lofty goals.
Since its inception more than 60 years ago, LCS has not missed an opportunity to work alongside prominent community groups to fulfill its mission. In 2015, we worked with the City of Toronto along with others to bring to life a poverty reduction strategy. We partnered with Positive Change Toronto to address youth violence in Rexdale, a neighbourhood with a significant Somali population, which resulted in a significant increase in access to parks and recreation facilities.
We have supported Urban Alliance on Race Relations in their work on policies of carding and racial profiling, in calling for a stop to the dismantling of OMNI TV that provides multi-lingual programming accessed by many newcomers, and the completion of the 360 Project: Addressing Racism in Toronto, which examined issues of access, equity, and inclusion for two highly vulnerable and marginalized groups in Toronto – the Somali Canadian community and racialized LGBTQ homeless youth.
Over the years, our staff has continued to chair George Brown College’s Community Program Advisory Committee, which connects with post-secondary institutions as they prepare students to work in the community social services sector. We know that good employment options can be the key to transcending poverty, which is why the work we do with Good Jobs For All is essential, such as our advocacy for changes to Employment Insurance. Working with union leaders in York Region, we are leveraging their capacity to address social issues as part of the full development of York Region Social Planning Council.
Perhaps the highlight and most long-lasting of our work have been through the Labour Community Advocate Training program, which in its early years was called the Union Counselling program. Over ten weeks, participants from a variety of union backgrounds listened to speakers and discussed the tools and mechanisms by which they could better offer support to their coworkers, family members, and communities. The LCAT programme continues to this day and has now taught tens of thousands of participants through three different course modules.
Our partnership with United Way is a major source of our funding. In the coming years, we will continue to push for the practice of carding to be truly abolished and to build up the communities in which we serve. It was with the initial support of local unions that allowed us to advance the initial growth of the Diverse Workers’ Networks as they became active in advocating for the Employment Standards Act reform under the Changing Workplaces Review. In 2015, we were fortunate to receive funding from both the Atkinson and Metcalf Foundations to advance our work on Community Benefits.
We have a lot of projects in the years ahead, and we’re excited to share our work with you. Enjoy exploring our website. We hope to work with you to advance the interests of the many communities in Toronto. Together, we can strive to build a just and equitable society for all.