ACCES Employment
Annual Report



ACCES Employment is ready for the future. We have used our agility and innovation to meet and address significant societal shifts, responding to the emerging needs of our communities, clients, and employers with flexibility and urgency. We are well positioned to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

We know the many challenges facing Canada today: inflation and the rising cost of living, rapid digitalization, and the growing skills gaps across key sectors, such as healthcare and the trades. These are some of the trends impacting our services and our work, and we know that greater immigration levels will help our country to address some of these challenges.

In preparation, we are proud to launch our new three-year strategic plan. The plan builds on our strengths and success in connecting our clients to the labour market and working with our partners to prepare them for the jobs of the future. The plan focuses on three key themes that embody our ACCES values: Impact, Innovation, and Inclusion. It serves as a roadmap for the next three years and ensures ACCES Employment will remain diligent in driving positive change in the employment sector and continue to make a World of Difference in the lives of those we serve.


Allison Pond
President & CEO,
ACCES Employment

Brian G. Bachand
Chair of the Board,
ACCES Employment

Leadership Report:
Impact, Innovation, and Inclusion

ACCES Employment is ready for the future. We have used our agility and innovation to meet and address significant societal shifts, responding to the emerging needs of our communities, clients, and employers with flexibility and urgency. We are well positioned to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

We know the many challenges facing Canada today: inflation and the rising cost of living, rapid digitalization, and the growing skills gaps across key sectors, such as healthcare and the trades. These are some of the trends impacting our services and our work, and we know that greater immigration levels will help our country to address some of these challenges.

In preparation, we are proud to launch our new three-year strategic plan. The plan builds on our strengths and success in connecting our clients to the labour market and working with our partners to prepare them for the jobs of the future. The plan focuses on three key themes that embody our ACCES values: Impact, Innovation, and Inclusion. It serves as a roadmap for the next three years and ensures ACCES Employment will remain diligent in driving positive change in the employment sector and continue to make a World of Difference in the lives of those we serve.


In 2022-23, we helped over 42,000 people access training, connect to workplaces, and achieve their employment goals in Canada. We expanded our employer and community networks, and we served many more jobseekers, all deepening our impact.

ACCES joined the global response to the humanitarian crises caused by war and unrest in Afghanistan and Ukraine. We reached out to the local Ukrainian and Afghan communities to offer support to the thousands of newcomers and refugees arriving here. In the end, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provided funding that enabled us to enhance two program streams of Connecting Newcomers to Good Jobs to help Ukrainians and Afghans in their journey to employment and settlement in Canada.

In 2022, we worked with our provincial funder to implement the transformation of Employment Ontario in Peel and York regions. The new integrated service delivery model, led by our partner, WCG Services, is designed to be more responsive to the needs of jobseekers, businesses, and local communities. At ACCES, we see this transformation as an opportunity to broaden our impact. In collaboration with WCG Services in Markham, we have introduced employment services for individuals who receive assistance through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). By providing dedicated resources and tailored services, we will empower individuals with disabilities giving them access to meaningful employment opportunities.

Through our 2022 World of Difference Fundraising Campaign, we raised over $200,000 to develop dedicated resources and establish a specialized online hub to provide health and wellness supports to all those we serve. We are so grateful to our donors and sponsors whose support allows us to empower more clients to succeed, and ultimately make a greater impact in their lives and the communities we serve.


ACCES continues to develop leading-edge employer partnerships to create new programs and deliver innovative initiatives to our jobseekers. This year, ACCES worked alongside TD Bank, Sephora Canada, Interac, RBC, and others, to expand the engagement of Corporate Canada and ensure our services for jobseekers are relevant to today’s labour market demand.

We have introduced a unique partnership with IBM Canada, integrating self-directed learning modules on their SkillsBuild platform across all our programs. Through this partnership, our clients receive access to free upskilling that is foundational for the workplace, and jobseekers gain digital credentials to demonstrate what they’ve learned.

Our collaboration with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has led to the creation of the Toronto Pearson ready-to-work Program, an airport-wide workforce development project, working with employers and ACCES clients to deliver skills development and define career pathways, improving overall employee retention, building a talent pipeline, and making the airport a workplace of choice.

Of course, our innovation and our impact would not be possible without the strong investment of our government and funding partners. We are so grateful to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training & Skills Development (MLITSD), Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC), United Way Greater Toronto, the City of Toronto, and the Metcalf Foundation for believing in us and for being true champions of our work to strengthen and employ our communities.

A notable example this year is ESDC’s support of our Healthcare Connections: Connecting Diversity program, an affiliate program of a pan-Canada consortium delivered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, called Team Primary Care. Through this initiative, ACCES aligns internationally educated healthcare professionals (IEHPs) with the primary healthcare sector. This serves to minimize workforce shortages within the broader healthcare system while better positioning ACCES to ensure licensure pathways for the IEHPs that we serve.


Inclusion remains at the heart of our work. We recognize the importance of prioritizing inclusion in serving our mission and we have made it a priority in our operations and our customer service.

ACCES One, our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council, champions our EDI strategy and cultivates an organizational culture that values and integrates equity, diversity, and inclusion into all aspects of our operations and service delivery. Our Employee Resource Group (ERG), Black Action Coalition for Change (BACC) continues to provide leadership and insight in addressing anti-black racism. Along with internal staff training and events, the work has now expanded to support Black clients and our employer partners. Through BACC, we have delivered workshops to broaden employers’ understanding of the effects of anti-black racism and organized mentoring sessions and hiring events to connect Black clients with corporate employers.

This year, ACCES launched Pride A+, an ERG to raise awareness about the importance of 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion in our workplace and in our work. Pride A+ provides education and training for staff on 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion strategies and engages ACCES in Pride Month celebrations and activities to promote inclusive workplace culture and to reach out to 2SLGBTQIA+ clients and employers.

The Future

We know we have a real opportunity to increase our impact while continuing to demonstrate our commitment and passion for the important work we do. Our Board, our leadership team, and our staff reaffirm our commitment to achieving meaningful impact and our deep belief in the power of inclusion and innovation.

We extend our deepest gratitude to our Board of Directors for their dedication to ACCES Employment’s mission and vision. We are also grateful to our exceptional volunteers, partners, donors, funders, stakeholders and, of course, to our incredible staff, for their unwavering support and commitment to create a future where everyone has access to meaningful employment and the chance to thrive.

Thank you for the trust the community has placed in us. We are ready to support Canada’s plan to welcome hundreds of thousands of newcomers to integrate into our communities and our workplaces, and to help prepare our country’s workforce with the skills needed for the future.

Allison Pond, President and CEO, ACCES Employment
Brian G. Bachand, Chair of the Board, ACCES Employment


ACCES Services
for Jobseekers

At ACCES, we work closely with each client to thoroughly understand their unique needs, experience, and career goals. We help them develop their skills and talent, make connections, and enhance their profile. We leverage our strong employer relationships to connect diverse and talented jobseekers with employment opportunities that lead to their success and continued growth. Even after they are hired, we stay connected with our clients to support and advise them on their journey.

Highlights of Results - Hybrid Service Delivery


Increased digital capacity and increased in-person support


Flexible learning options for ACCES clients


An increase of 5% from previous year



(a 3% increase over last year)

ACCES delivers Employment Ontario services across seven locations in the GTA, including Brampton, Mississauga, Newmarket, North York, Scarborough, and Toronto.



(a 2% increase over last year)





The businesses they started were in the following areas:

  1. Sales and Services 25%
  2. Importing 15%
  3. Consultation Services 13%
  4. IT Services/Development 11%
  5. Exporting 8%
  6. Recreation/Health care related 7%
  7. Education and Services 6%
  8. Arts related 4%
  9. Travel services 4%
  10. Construction/Real Estate/Trades 3%
  11. Farming 1%
  12. Logistics 1%
  13. Production (goods, audio/visual) 1%
  14. Catering/Food Production 1%



graduates from ‘Digital’ programs at ACCES



Success Stories
Innovation for Impact and Inclusion

ACCES is always innovating so jobseekers can confidently navigate the complexities of the job market, secure employment aligned with their career goals, and embark on a journey of continuous growth and achievement. Employers, in turn, can tap into a diverse pool of talent, leveraging ACCES's expertise to build dynamic and inclusive workforces that thrive in the face of change.

Scroll through some of our success stories.

Maria Chenzhen Qin


Thank you, so much, to everyone in the Women in Technology group and to everyone at ACCES. You really helped me to build confidence. I could not have done this without your help!

Read more

Morrad Baig Aman

Shelina Lalji Professional Corporation

I would like to say thanks to ACCES Employment. I truly appreciate all their support and help.

Read more

Khalid Munir

Prime Methods Inc.

The true value of ACCES lies in the connections made with the right resources and partners who can help overcome challenges.

Read more

Geetika Kour

THinK Best Practice Services

I can’t thank ACCES enough for the support and guidance they provided me during my job search.

Read more

Sabina Bhagat

National Carwash Solutions

ACCES understood my needs. I learned about CV writing, interview preparation, and benefitted from multiple practice sessions. ACCES gave me a morale boost and addressed all the things a newcomer goes through.

Read more

Ayo Ajayi


ACCES really helped boost my confidence. I appreciated meeting with experts from different fields. With ACCES, I know that I always have a place to help me get answers or if I need help with anything job related.

Read more


Jointly funded by IRCC and TD Bank, and delivered in partnership with IBM, our Women in Technology Program helps newcomer women to pursue their career in IT by building essential technology skills in areas such as programming, web development and coding.

Maria Chenzhen Qin
Product Manager, Moneris

Maria Chenzhen Qin came to Canada because of our country’s reputation for cultural diversity and great opportunity. Maria discovered ACCES and the Women in Technology program through a post by a past graduate in an online forum. Maria explains that through the Women in Technology program she learned how to network effectively, create a targeted resume, and build an effective LinkedIn profile. She also appreciated the opportunity for technical skills development through the IBM SkillsBuild platform. With the support of ACCES, Maria interviewed with Moneris and was hired in a full-time, permanent role as a Product Manager.

“Thank you, so much, to everyone in the Women in Technology group and to everyone at ACCES. You really helped me to build confidence. I could not have done this without your help!”

Connecting Newcomers to Good Jobs (Afghan and Ukrainian Streams)

Funded by IRCC, this program provides one-on-one employment counselling and English language coaching to newcomers. Customized referrals and resources are provided to help clients achieve success, including mental health support, coaching workshops, upskilling opportunities, as well as a variety of networking, mentoring, and hiring events.

Morrad Baig Aman
Legal Assistant,
Shelina Lalji Professional Corporation

Morrad Baig Aman arrived in Canada with his family after fleeing from Taliban control in Afghanistan. After learning about services available to help newcomers in Canada, Morrad registered with the Connecting Newcomers to Good Jobs program (Afghan Stream) to receive job search support. ACCES helped him to obtain a WES (World Education Services) Gateway credential assessment, which verified the Canadian equivalency of his education. He attended various networking events and job fairs to connect with other professionals in his field, and potential employers. This helped him to secure a role as a Legal Assistant at Shelina Lalji Professional Corporation.

“I would like to say thanks to ACCES Employment. I truly appreciate all their support and help”

Entrepreneurship Connections

Entrepreneurship Connections is designed for newcomers who plan to start a business in Canada. Funded by IRCC, it is a free, intensive training program that provides coaching on how to start a business including legal considerations, how to develop a business plan, and support from an established mentor.

Khalid Munir
Co-Founder, Prime Methods Inc.

Khalid Munir, embarked on his journey to Canada with the goal of working in the North American software market. A seasoned professional with an MSc in Computer Science and many years of experience as the Owner of Prime Methods Inc., Khalid enrolled in two programs at ACCES: Cybersecurity Connections and Entrepreneurship Connections. Khalid moved his business from Pakistan to Toronto and credits the Entrepreneurship program with “clarifying his sales strategy,” and praises ACCES staff for “their dedication and motivation, and for serving as true role models.”

“The true value of ACCES lies in the connections made with the right resources and partners who can help overcome challenges.”

Supply Chain Connections

The Supply Chain Connections program assists internationally trained professionals with securing a range of positions within the sector. The program features an orientation to the supply chain sector in Canada, sector-specific workplace skills, and connections with employers.

Geetika Kour
Executive Consultant, THinK Best Practice Services

Geetika Kour arrived in Canada as an IT professional with over three years of experience in ERP software implementation, specicically in warehouse management systems. She had always wanted to explore the opportunities that Canada had to offer. When she arrived, she started looking for programs that could help her better understand the Canadian workplace and bridge the gap between her international experience and the Canadian job market. Through her participation in Supply Chain Connections at ACCES, Geetika greatly valued the opportunities she had to connect with professionals in her field. Soon after completing the program, she landed a full-time role as an Executive Consultant with THinK Best Practice Services. She is now excited about her future in Canada and the opportunities that lay ahead.

"I can’t thank ACCES enough for the support and guidance they provided me during my job search.”

Job Search Workshops

Our Job Search Workshops (JSW) Program provides newcomers with the opportunity to meet and network as they learn job search skills and gather information about the Canadian labour market, including trends in various sectors, and insights on Canadian workplace culture.

Sabina Bhagat
Corporate Marketing Communications Manager, National Carwash Solutions

Sabina Bhagat is from Pakistan; she came to Canada with a background in Marketing and was hoping to find work in her field. Sabina heard about ACCES from family friends and mentors and decided to join the Job Search Workshop (JSW) program. From the outset, it was clear that Sabina was motivated to succeed. She took advantage of the learning and resources that were available to her and was appreciative of the support and guidance. Sabina obtained her first role in Canada soon after completing the program, as a Digital Marketing Specialist. She has since been promoted to the role of Corporate Marketing Communications Manager.

"ACCES understood my needs. I learned about CV writing, interview preparation, and benefitted from multiple practice sessions. ACCES gave me a morale boost and addressed all the things a newcomer goes through.”

Speed Mentoring

The Speed Mentoring® program at ACCES enables participants to network with professionals in their field, receive advice about their job search activities, meet employer contacts and obtain job leads. We host over 75 Speed Mentoring® events each year in various sectors.

Ayo Ajayi
Azure Technical Advisor

Ayo Ajayi first joined ACCES as a Youth Job Connections client. The ACCES staff noticed immediately that Ayo was highly motivated and focused on moving forward in his young career. Ayo has a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing and is passionate about technology. Ayo joined ACCES hoping to receive guidance on his career path and help with building his professional network—it turns out he was able to get much more! At ACCES’s annual Speed Mentoring Marathon, Ayo was introduced to a senior leader at Accenture and was able to turn that connection into a one-year placement at Accenture, where he helps clients with technology implementation.

"ACCES really helped boost my confidence. I appreciated meeting with experts from different fields. With ACCES, I know that I always have a place to help me get answers or if I need help with anything job related.”


At ACCES, we provide tailored services to each client, helping them to overcome challenges and successfully secure meaningful employment. Our diverse client base includes newcomers to Canada, racialized individuals and other underrepresented jobseekers who need our support to achieve their employment objectives.


1 2 3 4 5
  1. Post Graduate 38%
  2. Bachelors Degree 28%
  3. High School or less 14%
  4. Certificate/Diploma 10%
  5. Other 10%


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  1. Business, finance, administration 27%
  2. Sales and service 16%
  3. Management occupations 11%
  4. Natural and applied sciences 10%
  5. Social science, education, government service 9%
  6. Health occupations 8%
  7. Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing 7%
  8. Trades, transport and equipment operators 5%
  9. Occupations unique to primary industry 4%
  10. Arts, recreation and sport 3%



WOMEN: 51%

MEN: 49%



Innovation for Clients Before they Arrive in Canada

ACCES is a leader in delivering services to pre-arrival newcomers. The job search journey and settlement process is accelerated when newcomers receive guidance and support prior to landing in Canada. Through innovative pre-arrival programs, and our expanding digital capacity, ACCES delivered online learning events, workshops and job search support to participants located in 112 countries around the world.

Canada Project

The Connecting Canada project is helping pre-arrival immigrants to learn about opportunities to live, work, and settle in smaller urban and rural communities across Canada. Through this project, we have introduced pre-arrival immigrants to communities in 9 provinces and 2 territories, allowing employers in smaller communities to find talent to fill their labour market needs. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the project also works with the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) to evaluate how making connections with employers and communities prior to landing in Canada influences pre-arrival immigrants’ settlement choices.

Athira Thandassery Jayanandalal

Design Technologist,
Scouten Engineering
Prince George, BC

ACCES helped me discover opportunities across the whole country. This opened up so many more possibilities for me, and I chose Prince George to launch my career and begin my new life in Canada.

Alvan Ubah

Banking Advisor, RBC,
Moncton, NB

During the time I was preparing to immigrate to Canada, my major concern was finding a job. I was very excited to be part of the Greater Moncton Hiring Event as I had the opportunity to meet and interact one-on-one with high-profile representatives from different companies including Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Tangerine Bank, and others. I made connections and landed an exciting job offer from Royal Bank of Canada. I landed in Moncton in the summer, and I am loving it here and enjoying my job with RBC. I appreciate ACCES Employment for creating a platform for career connections.

Mike Prociw

Market Intelligence Advisor, Economic Development Lethbridge

Economic Development Lethbridge has been partnering with ACCES Employment to utilize the Connecting Canada program to highlight our community as a place where pre-arrival newcomers could settle in Canada. We look forward to continuing this process through upcoming hiring events, where pre-arrival newcomers will meet with Lethbridge employers as a means of addressing local labour market needs.


pre-arrival immigrants accessed our services before coming to Canada



Communities Where Our
Pre-arrival Clients Settled:

Toronto, ON
Calgary, AB
Saskatoon, SK
Mississauga, ON
Ottawa, ON
Winnipeg, MB
Vancouver, BC
Edmonton, AB
Regina, SK
Brampton, ON
Montreal, QC
Greater Moncton, NB
Oakville, ON
Halifax, NS
Hamilton, ON
Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Surrey, BC
Markham, ON
London, ON
Milton, ON
Brandon, MB
Richmond Hill, ON
Quebec City, QC
Oshawa, ON
Vaughan, ON
Saint John, NB
Fredericton, NB
Guelph, ON
Windsor, ON
Brantford, ON
Gatineau, QC
Lethbridge, AB
Whitby, ON
Sudbury, ON
Langley, BC
Moose Jaw, SK
Brockville, ON
Kingston, ON
St. John’s, NL
Gibson, BC
Prince George, BC
Richmond, BC
Victoria, BC
Westminster, BC
Fort McMurray, AB
Hanna, AB
Maple Creek, SK
Portage La Prairie, MB
Dauphin, MB
Winkler, MB
Laval, QC
Mount Royal, QC
Bowmanville, ON
Newcastle, ON
Pickering, ON
Burlington, ON
Ajax, ON
Alliston, ON
Barrie, ON
Caledon, ON
Niagara Falls, ON
Port Elgin, ON
Sarnia, ON
Thorold, ON
Tottenham, ON

ACCES Services
for Employers

Collaboration is a key factor to our success and impact. ACCES engages our employer partners in all stages of our service-continuum, from program development to service delivery and evaluation. It is essential for us to understand industry and workforce needs; therefore, we actively seek input from our employer partners regarding the skills and training clients will need to be successful in their businesses. We focus on achieving positive outcomes, and we aim for long-term success for our clients and our employer network.



(a 13% increase from last year)



(51-500 EMPLOYEES)






TOTAL NUMBER OF guest speakers and subject matter experts who contributed to programming at ACCES


Mentoring at ACCES

At ACCES, our service delivery model includes a range of highly effective, integrated mentoring options that provide our clients with important connections and authentic interactions with established professionals. We take the time to understand our clients’ career aspirations and we customize our services to their needs and their goals. We pair mentors and mentees to help build knowledge and networks, and to open new opportunities. Our hybrid approach (virtual and in-person) is creating more flexible and dynamic ways for mentorship to occur.

Our Speed Mentoring® and Speed Mentoring® en Français programs provide opportunities for jobseekers to meet with many mentors who can respond to questions about their sector, receive advice about their resume and job search, and to build their network of professional contacts.

The TRIEC Mentoring Partnership helps immigrant professionals to succeed in their careers in Canada through the support of a one-to-one mentoring relationship.

Our Connector Program helps immigrants to build their professional network and secure meaningful employment in their community (delivered by ACCES in conjunction with the Halifax Partnership).

Recently, ACCES launched a new research project, Mentorship for Success. This project is funded by The Metcalf Foundation and aims to assess how resources can most effectively be utilized to create purposeful mentorship opportunities for low-income and newcomer entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). ACCES is the project lead on this initiative, and we are bringing together partner organizations such as Access Community Capital Fund, Business in the Streets, North York Community House, Rise Asset Development, Scadding Court Community Centre, YSpace (York University), and United Way Greater Toronto. These partners offer valuable expertise, extensive networks, and a deep understanding of the unique needs of distinct, low-income entrepreneur groups.








At ACCES, our success and impact directly correlate with the strength of our partnerships and commitment to collaboration. We work together with organizations that have shared values to strengthen our services and more effectively serve our communities. During the past year, our accomplishments have come through our close work with employer partners, sponsors, funders, and other community-service organizations. What follows are some highlights of how ACCES has collaborated to spark innovation, improve inclusion and strengthen our impact.

Toronto Pearson ready-to-work program

ACCES Employment and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) have come together to create the Toronto Pearson ready-to-work program. Through our collaboration with the GTAA, we support jobseekers who face a range of barriers to receive comprehensive training that focuses on aviation industry skills that are essential for contributing to safe and successful passenger journeys.

The GTAA, ACCES Employment, and Transport Canada are testing innovative methods that fast-track participants’ Transport Canada Security Clearance application process, a critical component of working in a highly secure environment. Customer Service Excellence training and customized job-readiness support has helped participants to build skills to thrive in dynamic work settings. The program facilitates regular connections with employers and mentors through events hosted at Toronto Pearson, ensuring that participants build a strong network of connections to help contribute to their success. To ensure that financial limitations and other barriers don’t prevent client engagement and registration, participants receive a program completion bonus and ongoing coaching and support after employment.

Through our collaboration, ACCES is supporting the GTAA to address the workforce development issues that are faced by Canada’s largest airport. By creating a talent pipeline and providing comprehensive support, this initiative opens doors for barriered jobseekers, while also fostering diversity, resilience, and career growth in the aviation industry.

Team Primary Care

During the past year, ACCES has developed many new partnerships through the Team Primary Care project to support Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals (IEHPs) in Canada. With leadership from the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Health Workforce Network, and funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, Team Primary Care brings more than 65 leading health professional and health education organizations from across Canada into a network whose mutual work will accelerate transformative change in the way comprehensive primary health teams work together.

ACCES is working within Team Primary Care to provide IEHPs with the training and support they need to contribute their skills in comprehensive primary health settings. By aligning with the growing focus on interprofessional care and maximizing the contribution of IEHPs, this collaboration will mobilize currently underutilized skills and experience.

Employment Ontario Transformation in York Region

During the past year, The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development continued its transformation of Employment Ontario services which places a greater emphasis on serving clients who are farthest removed from the labour market. ACCES has worked closely with WCG Services, the Service System Manager (SSM) for EO in Peel and York region, to build on our success in Peel and through the implementation of this new integrated service (IES) model in York Region.

We have leveraged our extensive experience in delivering Employment Ontario services to plan and adapt to effective service delivery under the new model. We have continued to strengthen our partnerships through the Employment Ontario service delivery network, to share knowledge, achieve positive outcomes and facilitate communication within our network. WCG Services has supported ACCES with the rollout of the new IES model in our Newmarket location, and with the launch of new specialized services for clients receiving support through ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) at our Markham location. This involves prioritizing client satisfaction, responsiveness to local community requirements, and a results-oriented approach based on data and evidence.

United Way Greater Toronto, ACCES, and Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO)

ACCES has continued with our active involvement in the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) initiative convened by the United Way Greater Toronto and BMO Financial Group. Our President and CEO, Allison Pond, is a member of the Leadership Table for ILEO, and we have continued to play a key partner role in the Good Jobs and Storefront programs, and as a member of CIEO (Centre for Inclusive Economic Opportunities).

With the ILEO Good Jobs program, ACCES has worked closely with Sun Life and IBM to build a scalable workforce development model that provides training and support to residents of the Greater Golden Mile (GGM) neighbourhood, preparing them for jobs at Sun Life. The ILEO Storefront Starter is designed to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners from the Greater Golden Mile launch their business idea.

Connecting Newcomers to Good Jobs – Ukrainian and Afghan Streams

With extended funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), ACCES has enhanced the Ukrainian and Afghan streams of our Connecting Newcomers to Good Jobs services.

ACCES has directly helped more than 2,255 Ukrainian and Afghan clients and we’ve collaborated with both corporate and community partners to help these newcomers connect to meaningful employment opportunities in Canada. Community partners such as Polycultural, The Neighbourhood Organization, The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ukrainian National Federation, CUIAS Immigrant Services, CultureLink, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited, and BCU Financial have helped us to engage with clients. Employer partners such as Starbucks, BMO, and IBM, have mentored and hired newcomers from these targeted client groups, and provided them with a fresh start in their new home in Canada. ACCES also continued to host several events each month for Ukrainian and Afghan jobseekers including job search prep sessions, hiring events, English language training, program information sessions and more.

World of Difference

With our 2022 World of Difference campaign, ACCES focused on supporting self-care and wellness for employment. According to the Mental Health Commission, on any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians are unable to go to work due to mental health problems. Stress, anxiety, and depression are particularly high for newcomers and racialized jobseekers and self-esteem and self-confidence are critical to succeeding in one’s job search and career. This was our most successful World of Difference campaign to date, thanks to the generous support of key corporate donors such as RBC, Accenture, IBM Skillsbuild, and Interac.

One of our goals for the campaign was to use the funds raised to build a Health & Wellness Hub—a centralized, online location where members of the ACCES community could access helpful resources on topics such as Stress Management, Work-Life Balance, Nutrition, Meditation, and more. We also wanted it to be a place where jobseekers and alumni could discover and participate in upcoming events focused on health and wellness and enroll in some online learning opportunities through some of our partners. With our donors support and the help of Accenture’s pro bono services, we were able to launch our Health & Wellness Hub in early 2023.

Using AI and Technology to Enhance Service Delivery

ACCES continues to develop our digital capacity to deliver better services for more people. We’ve expanded on the capabilities of VERA, our AI-powered virtual employment assistant, to help direct clients into tailored services. The direct integration between VERA and Salesforce, our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, has improved our ability to convert online interactions into client registrations for service. VERA now collects client data through contact forms and event registrations, which are passed directly into our primary stakeholder database. Our staff can pursue client and employer leads from VERA, alongside the leads that come in through traditional channels. With this technology we are also able to better track impact. We’ve started to refine the way we collect and manage our client data to give us more insight, and to improve how we serve our communities.

We’ve begun to use AI-powered technology to mine content from longer learning sessions and digital sources to serve more clients, thereby expanding our reach.

We have also developed more online learning courses to enhance our already strong curricula across sectors and service points, and we’ve partnered with IBM to provide our jobseekers with access to IBM SkillsBuild, a free platform with various learning pathways to help users build skills to empower their job search and their career.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at ACCES

ACCES continues to build on our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion both within our internal operations and as a central focus of our service delivery and engagement within our communities. ACCES One, our internal EDI Council, leads and supports all internal and external EDI initiatives, including our Employee Resource Groups (ERG).

This year, our Black Action Coalition for Change (BACC) continued to provide learning opportunities for staff and for clients including Black-focused professional panels, and training sessions on topics such as anti-Black racism, microaggressions, and imposter syndrome.

We formally launched our second Employee Resource Group called Pride A+ to provide learning opportunities and develop a sense of belonging for staff and allies of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We hosted and participated in several events which addressed transphobia, homophobia, global issues related to anti-LGBTQ human rights violations, and the challenges faced by individuals who are Black and queer.

ACCES also included several Indigenous speakers at various internal and external events, and we participated in National Truth and Reconciliation Day where one Indigenous keynote speaker shared an authentic and gripping account of her experiences growing up in a Residential School.

Through our hard work, ACCES is helping to shape a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future for Canada, and we are committed to continuing to pursue these ideals.



AS AT MARCH 31, 2023



*The financial statements also include other schedules and footnotes that are integral to the report as a whole. The full report is available online here.

Geoff Rush, National Industry Leader, Financial Services, KPMG Canada (Chair)

Geoff is KPMG Canada’s National Leader for Financial Services. Geoff has over 25 years of experience leading large transformation programs in the banking, insurance, and wealth management industries. Geoff brings a global perspective and deep industry knowledge to his engagements having worked with leading institutions worldwide.    

Andreea Amariei, Associate Vice President, Associate Vice President, Wealth Governance and Control, TD Wealth, TD Bank (Co- Chair)

Andreea Amariei is a banking executive with more than 20 years of experience and a successful track record of leading complex business and regulatory initiatives and building effective teams. A tireless inclusion advocate, Andreea strives for better outcomes for women and minorities in finance.    

Abe Salam, Sr. Manager, Workforce of the Future, PwC

Abe is a multi-faceted, strategic, and hands-on organizational development professional with 20+ years of experience in change management and Lean Sigma process re-engineering in diverse public and private sectors, including government, military, education, banking, telecommunication, and energy. 

Alex Tom, Head of Private Sector Partnerships and PSP Officer – Canada Philanthropy, Marketing and Community Engagement, UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency (Canada)

Alex Tom is a seasoned marketing professional with over 20 years of experience. He started his career in the corporate sector. However, His love for building relationships coupled with his passion for philanthropy led him to move to the non-profit sector. Currently, he is with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, where he is responsible for developing and overseeing UNHCR Canada’s private sector partnerships program.    

Alida Meghji, Associate Partner, Digital and Emerging Technologies, EY

Alida is an Associate Partner at Ernst & Young within the Digital and Emerging Technologies (D&ET) practice. She leads D&ET for all Government and Public Sector clients across Canada. Alida’s background is in international development—she spent four years in Afghanistan, as well as two years in South Sudan, and has a special connection to supporting the communities that ACCES serves. Alida’s parents immigrated to Canada in the 1970s, her mother escaping the Ugandan genocide. Her husband, also a refugee in the 1990s, made his way to Canada from Somalia. She currently serves as EY’s national immigration leader and is committed to continuing to help individuals, families and communities settle in Canada and build a strong and productive future. 

Danielle Short, Director, HR, Bruce Power 

Danielle has been working in Human Resources at Bruce Power since 2011. During her tenure she has held roles such as Recruiter, HR Business Partner and is currently Director of Talent Management since Oct 2021. As the Director of Talent Management, Danielle has oversight for Bruce Power’s Recruitment, DEI, and Leadership Development teams.    

Deborah Swartz, Corporate Responsibility Lead, Accenture

Deb leads the Corporate Citizenship Sustainability strategy for Accenture’s Canadian practice. One of a small team of experts globally, driving Accenture’s global strategy for nearly 720,000 employees, more than 4000 clients in over 120 countries. She is a respected Social Innovation Trail Blazer and acknowledged as one of Accenture’s High Performing Women within North America.    

Hali Farah, Manager, Diversity & Inclusion – People Experience, City of Toronto

Hali Farah is an award winning, results-oriented, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) leader with an excellent track record for driving change. In her current role at the City of Toronto leading the Diversity and Inclusion Unit, Hali is fortunate to lead a team of professionals focused on advancing the City of Toronto Workforce and Equity commitments.    

Jason Thompson, Owner/Consultant, Superior Strategies

A proud member of the Red Rock Indian Band, Jason Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Superior Strategies Inc. and Warrior Engineering Ltd teams. With over 20 years of business and management experience, Mr. Thompson has proven to be a skilled executive and visionary entrepreneur. Jason remains a very strong advocate for meaningful participation of Indigenous People and Businesses on a local and National level.  

Kelechi Uzoma, (alum), Senior Product Manager, VMware

Kelechi Uzoma is a self-driven user-centric Product professional with a passion for fresh situations and driven by the deliberate journey from ignorance (unknown) to competence (known). He currently works as a Senior Product Manager (B2B Cloud and Data Management) where he identifies and prioritizes problems to be solved, in partnership with the C-Suite leadership, while driving the execution of product roadmaps to achieve strategic growth goals for the organization.    

Manisha Singh, Manager, Data Protection & Privacy, Deloitte

Manisha M. Singh is a leading expert in the Cybersecurity and Privacy space, specializing in the Healthcare & Life Science Sector. She has over 10 years of experience in leadership, healthcare, AI, and customer management, including her prior experience as a Clinical Pharmacist. Manisha currently works for the Data Protection & Privacy team at Deloitte specializing in cybersecurity, data protection, and information privacy. Manisha is a passionate advocate for women in cybersecurity and people new to Canada. 

Mohsin Khan, Sr. Program Manager, Privacy & Innovation – Data & Trust, TELUS

Mohsin N. Khan is a process improvement and change management leader with over 10 years of experience managing projects across North America, Europe, and South-East Asia, resulting in the delivery of over 35 million dollars of financial benefits. Mohsin grew up in Regent Park, a vibrant immigrant community and empathizes with the challenges of overcoming socioeconomic barriers. Today, he dedicates his time to mentoring and giving back to the community to support others in their path to success.    

Dr. Patience Adamu, Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, AECON Group Inc.

Patience Adamu is the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Aecon Group Inc. Originally a public policy researcher astute in Canadian public policy, with a PhD in Policy Studies from Ryerson University, Patience brings extensive knowledge of employment equity, human rights legislation, and anti-oppression. Professionally, she has spent her career working across the sports, education, and construction industries, and made a name for herself in construction by designing and implementing Canada’s first community benefits program for Metrolinx’s Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit Project.    

Ross Anderson, People & Equity Division, Starbucks

Ross Anderson has the enviable role of being responsible for the national social impact and community programming that Starbucks creates and supports across Canada. Ross and his colleagues in Canada deliver the Starbucks social impact agenda through collective impact, including major initiatives in Sustainability, Inclusion & Diversity, Equity and Community Capacity & Community Development. Ross is passionate about creating a fair shot at opportunity for those in need and in supporting the community connections Starbucks stores and partners (employees) make across the country.    

Stewart Nam, Director, Business Development, Shoppers Drug Mart - Health Solutions

Stewart Nam is an experienced business professional with 20+ years of experience through a mosaic of industries including printing & publishing, capital engineering projects, financial services, health tech and insurance in both private and public sectors. His core principle is the belief that all people, businesses, and industries are connected, regardless of the sector in which they operate. 

Accenture’s pro-bono “Refugee Outreach Project” helped to create a robust connection strategy focused on refugee outreach and intake for ACCES Employment. While identifying challenges and future opportunities, Accenture gathered marketing and communication industry practices from other organizations. They synthesized insights, findings, and opportunities to connect with the refugee community. The result was a concise guide which will be re-purposed for other migrant groups.

“Accenture was thrilled to contribute and support ACCES on this pro-bono success. The 8-week project was timely and unique in that it tackled the current refugee crisis and gave ACCES tangible and immediate opportunities to reach more refugees for employment support -- a huge success with many new ideas shared and a strategy that can and will be repurposed for future projects.”

Deborah Swartz, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, Accenture    

Through sponsorship from Toronto Pearson, as Ukrainian newcomers arrive, we are providing job search support, creating mentor-mentee introductions, offering language training and other supports, as well as the loan of laptops to ensure virtual training is accessible. Through strong community engagement with our partners and stakeholders, ACCES will be helping 200 Ukrainian newcomers with inclusivity and belonging, helping them to integrate into Canada.

“Toronto Pearson is proud of our role as Canada’s front door, often the first place of welcome and refuge for those arriving to their new home. It only makes sense that the partnerships and opportunities we support through the Propeller Project – our Community Investment Program – help those new to Canada get off to a strong start. We are proud to stand next to ACCES Employment as they design and deliver exceptional programming to guide New Canadians towards meaningful careers and a bright future in Canada.”

Ruba Al-Nazer, Manager, Community Investment, Toronto Pearson International Airport

Starbucks Foundation was the first to work with ACCES on a grant to support the Afghan refugee families as they arrived in Canada. Our program offered communication training, loaner laptops, access to CMHA’s mental health workshops, mentoring, upskilling through IBM SkillsBuild and referrals into other ACCES programs. This grant made it possible for ACCES to immediately begin serving Afghan refugees as they arrived, and ensure they received tailored job search support.

“The Starbucks Foundation was pleased to support ACCES and its work with Afghan refugees in Canada.

The Foundation’s funding complements the long-standing collaboration between Starbucks Canada and ACCES to help refugees prepare and integrate into employment.

Starbucks continues to plan mentoring and hiring events, in conjunction with ACCES, to provide refugees employment at our stores across Canada.”

Ross Anderson, People & Equity Division, Starbucks  

The IKEA Canada Customer Experience Training program, facilitated virtually by ACCES, is part of the Refugee Skills for Employment Initiative (RSEI) and is specifically designed for clients with lived-refugee experience who are looking for training and employment opportunities with IKEA or elsewhere. ACCES’s outreach for the program includes collaborating with a variety of national community organizations.

“Working with the ACCES team has been a joyful and rewarding experience. They always put their clients’ first and have been instrumental in the success of the RSEI as well as providing IKEA with invaluable guidance and resources. Particularly through the challenging times of the pandemic and an ever-changing labour market, it’s been a truly cooperative effort in generating creative solutions and positive outcomes.”

Ann Kameoka, RSEI Project Leader    

The Private Giving Foundation at TD stepped up early with a grant to support Afghan refugee women and girls, ensuring they received immediate supports as they arrived in Canada. This included communication training, referrals into programming, employment supports, mentoring, access to laptops on loan to attend online events, and helping them integrate into the community. TD’s support allowed ACCES to reach out and receive referrals from settlement partners and begin growing our client group. Employers (including TD) were also interested in supporting Afghan refugees by offering mock interviews and mentoring support as well as hiring.

“As a granting committee, we were moved by the plight of Afghan women and girls, and we searched for an impactful way to support them. ACCES was the perfect partner in that they had a team ready to begin offering services and supports to help launch their new life in Canada. Some of the Afghan women were referred into the TD-sponsored “Empowering Women” program and the refugee girls were supported through ACCES’ Youth Job Connection program. Overall, these programs immediately allowed these women and girls to begin to integrate into our Canadian landscape and build their own connections within our community. The Private Giving Foundation is so happy we could help.”

Andrea Robertson, Vice President, TD Wealth, Not-for-Profit and Responsible Investing Services


Special Thanks and

  • Brian G. Bachand, evolution evolution, Chairperson
  • Andrea Robertson, TD Bank Group, Vice-Chairperson
  • Lucille D’Souza, RBC, Secretary
  • Tolu Ajise, City of Burlington, Treasurer
  • Alan Ng, Move to Where Inc.
  • Annayah Jean (AJ) Fernandez Rivera, Accenture
  • Elliot Pobjoy, Clinical Pulse Media Corp
  • Enrique Cuyegkeng, Acc. Dir., MBA, CFA
  • Miguel A. Lopez, SciCan Canada
  • Raly Chakarova
  • Sharon Connolly
  • Titi Akinsanmi, Google

  • Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD)
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
  • WCG Employment Ontario
  • Toronto Employment & Social Services (TESS)
  • United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT)
  • Social Research and Demonstration Corporation Canada (SRDC)
  • Accenture – IT Connections, Youth & Wellness Hub development, Speed Mentoring® Marathon
  • BMO Financial Group – Hiring Event Series, Speed Mentoring® Marathon 
  • CPA Ontario – Event and Webinar Series 
  • GTAA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority) – Toronto Pearson ready-to-work program, Speed Mentoring® (Peel region), Ukrainian Newcomer Assistance Program  
  • HSBC – Entrepreneurship Hub
  • IBM Canada Ltd. – SkillsBuild Platform
  • KPMG – Empowering Women
  • McCain Foods Ltd. – Event Series Sponsorship
  • RBC Royal Bank of Canada – Financial Literacy, and Financial Services Connections in a Digital World
  • Sephora Canada – Classes for Confidence
  • TD Bank Group, TD Ready Commitment – Empowering Women, Women in Technology and Cybersecurity Connections