Yesterday in Montreal, the Société de développement social (SDS) launched the first platform in Canada dedicated to the employability of people isolated from the labour market.

Destination Emploi connects employers and employment reintegration agencies with the goal of offering job opportunities to people who have been out of the workforce due to homelessness, dropping out of school or experiencing problems with addiction. The platform allows candidates to post an online profile highlighting their skills and background, while employment reintegration agencies can assign a mentor to each candidate to help them with the process and monitor their progress. Companies can post their job openings online, review candidate profiles and receive support throughout the hiring process from a certified mentor. Starbucks, Communauto and the Quartier des spectacles are just a few of the first organizations that have used the service and posted job openings.

« This represents the next step in our pairing activities that we initiated in 2010, whereby we act as an intermediary between employers looking for workers and social partners assisting candidates who have been isolated from the labour market. Today, 9 out of 10 companies use the internet to recruit, and many of our candidates are not very familiar with computers. We needed a platform like Destination Emploi to continue our work and give these job seekers more visibility,» explained Émile Roux, general manager of SDS. Through its role as a social broker, the organization has generated over 650 contracts, representing a total of 150,000 hours of work.

In 2015, 51,000 people in Montreal with no barriers to employment were recipients of social assistance; 13.6% of youth under age 25 were unemployed, and of them, the number of new people applying for social assistance rose 14% during the past year. “We firmly believe that employment is a sustainable response to the problems of homelessness and social exclusion, but for that to happen, we need more companies to come onboard,” added Roux.

With the launch of this platform, SDS hopes to generate 1,000 job opportunities over the next 3 years in Montreal. In the future, the organization would like to bring the Destination Emploi model to other Canadian cities experiencing similar problems.

We would like to remind readers that several months ago, Destination Emploi, then in the process of being set up, was one of the 10 social innovation finalists in Novae’s Movement contest.

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