Mayor Tory praises feds for giving $8.6M to Toronto youth program, but wants much more

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Mayor Tory praises feds for giving $8.6M to Toronto youth program, but wants much more

Mayor John Tory lauded the federal government Tuesday for spending $8.6 million on a City of Toronto youth employment program, while also stating his "fervent hope" that the upcoming federal budget will include "substantial investments" in housing and transit.

Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu made the funding announcement with Liberal MP Adam Vaughan Tuesday morning.

"Too often as a society we're too quick to blame young people for those struggles, without recognizing the often significant barriers that prevent them from continuing in school or finding work," Hajdu said.

The $8.6 million will go towards Toronto Youth Job Corps, a decades-old paid-employment program designed to help disadvantaged young people gain skills and jobs.

In total, the program is getting $11.6 million over three years, $2 million of which will come from the city. Hajdu says the federal government increased its funding for the program by 50 per cent.

Tory said Toronto Youth Job Corps has an emphasis on people who are visible minorities, have disabilities, or lack a high school education.

"The program literally helps to tear down these roadblocks that exist and make it possible for these young people to have a sense of hope, to have a sense of purpose," he said.

Tory said more than 1,300 young people will benefit from the combined funding.

Tory contrasts feds and province

After Tory thanked the federal government, he said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask for housing and transit funding in the upcoming budget, which is slated for next Wednesday. He said that based on their previous actions, he's "optimistic" that the Trudeau Liberals will be supportive, but said the city's relationship with the province has been less encouraging.

Earlier this week, Tory said the city's relationship with the province was "substantially impacted" when Premier Kathleen Wynne rejected Toronto's request for tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

He said he hopes the federal budget will set a good example for the province, and encourage the provincial government to get "swept along in this wave of common sense thinking."

Mayor India-bound

Tory heads to India and Sri Lanka Tuesday evening to lead a 10-day trade mission.

He said the trip will focus on both attracting Indian investment in Toronto, as well as harnessing part of India's prolific film industry.

"In India they produce 2,300 feature films per year," Tory said, comparing that figure with Hollywood's production rate of 300 films-per-year.

"If we could just get the tiniest little fraction of those Indian film productions ... then that would make a huge contribution to our film industry."

Tory said he will respond to the federal budget from abroad.