Building an
Inclusive Workforce
for a Better Future

ACCES Employment
Annual Report



In 2021-22, ACCES continued to deliver on our mission of assisting jobseekers facing barriers to employment to integrate into the Canadian labour market. We relied on our ability to adapt and innovate, as world events and demographic trends collided, transforming our world in complex ways. The year marked the beginning of our recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, we saw hundreds of thousands of individuals flee war and violence in their home countries of Afghanistan and Ukraine, and Canada experienced the greatest demand for employees since 1970. ACCES was ready to respond immediately to these transformative world events by customizing our services to the emerging needs in our communities...


Allison Pond
President & CEO,
ACCES Employment

Brian G. Bachand
Chair of the Board,
ACCES Employment

Leadership Report:
Building an Inclusive Workforce for a Better Future

In 2021-22, ACCES continued to deliver on our mission of assisting jobseekers facing barriers to employment to integrate into the Canadian labour market. We relied on our ability to adapt and innovate, as world events and demographic trends collided, transforming our world in complex ways. The year marked the beginning of our recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, we saw hundreds of thousands of individuals flee war and violence in their home countries of Afghanistan and Ukraine, and Canada experienced the greatest demand for employees since 1970. ACCES was ready to respond immediately to these transformative world events by customizing our services to the emerging needs in our communities.

ACCES began working with our community partners to help in the settlement of thousands of Afghan refugees and Ukrainian nationals who have sought refuge and a new home in Canada. We developed and launched two new programs tailored to support Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers to connect with good jobs as they settled in Canada. These programs are funded by our federal government through IRCC and offer targeted services, such as hiring events, networking and mentoring events, to help build professional networks, language coaching, upskilling, and post-hire supports.

As workplaces began to open during the recovery from the pandemic, we launched important new programs and redesigned others in order to connect our newcomer clients with workplaces in high-demand sectors, including Community Healthcare, Construction Trades, IT (Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity), Engineering and Finance, to name only a few. In addition, we expanded and enhanced our programs to the specific needs of underrepresented groups most impacted by the pandemic including women, youth, and racialized individuals.

Finally, we increased our pre-arrival services that prepare newcomers for employment in advance of their arrival to Canada. This year, we initiated the Connecting to Canada: Employer Engagement Driving Settlement in Smaller Communities project, where we work with smaller urban and rural centres, local employers and stakeholders, to help pre-arrival immigrants learn about the wide range of communities in which they could choose to settle and the local services available to them.

Of course, to deliver all of these services, we depend heavily on the engagement of our employer partners. We help our employers to meet the demand for talent in their workplaces by creating a pipeline of newcomer talent with in-demand skills, across almost all sectors in the Canadian labour market. At the same time, our employer partners contribute their time, their financial and human resources, and their expertise to ensure the success of our clients. A special thank you to Ikea Canada, Starbucks Canada, TD Bank and Accenture, companies that immediately stepped up to support our work with Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers, and who continue to hire many of our newcomer and refugee clients.

Strong employer partnerships like these are critical for us to achieve our mission. We are therefore especially pleased to announce the formation of the ACCES Stakeholder Advisory Council. This council will enhance the engagement of our employer partners and their input into our programs and services. Our thanks to the members of the Council—leaders from influential and dedicated organizations who want to help ACCES build a more inclusive and sustainable future for Canada.

Of course, the new programming and the positive outcomes for the thousands of clients and employers we serve would not be possible without the support of our funders, including the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD); WCG and Employment Ontario (EO); Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Ministry of Education; Canadian Heritage; United Way Greater Toronto; and the City of Toronto. We want to thank you for your ongoing commitment and your confidence in ACCES.

We also wish to thank all our employer partners, sponsors, our donors, and our volunteers for their generous support this past year. Together, we can take pride in the work we do in rebuilding our workforce for a better future.

It is both an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to our communities and to help improve the lives of all those we serve. We proudly offer this, our 2021-2022 Annual Report, as a reflection on our impact and as a commitment to stay agile and innovative so we can continue to make a world of difference going forward.

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


ACCES Services for Jobseekers

The Future of Canada’s Workforce

At ACCES, we know that the clients we serve represent the future of our workforce. They provide in-demand skills and talent that is needed by businesses across Canada to succeed and prosper. Our goal is to support each jobseeker client at ACCES with finding meaningful work that aligns with their education, experience, and career aspirations. We provide continued support to clients after they are hired, helping them and their employers to sustain success throughout the career journey. Together, with our employers, we are preparing our clients for long-term success and prosperity.

Highlights of Results


Increased digital capacity and the return of in-person support


Flexible learning options for ACCES clients


An increase of 2.5% from previous year




OF CLIENTS ACHIEVED A POSITIVE OUTCOME (Including Employment, Placement, Training or Education)




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








The businesses they started were in the following areas:

  1. Sales and Services 30%
  2. Importing 14%
  3. Catering/Food Production 11%
  4. Consultation Services 10%
  5. Education and Services 8%
  6. Construction/Real Estate/Trades 8%
  7. Production (goods, audio/visual) 7%
  8. IT Services/Development 5%
  9. Arts related 3%
  10. Logistics 2%
  11. Exporting 1%
  12. Recreation 1%





graduates from ‘digital-only’ programs at ACCES

Building our Workforce for a More Inclusive, Prosperous Economy

ACCES is helping to build a workforce that is more inclusive and more resilient in our rapidly changing environment. We prepare and train clients for high-demand roles in our labour market.

Scroll through some of our success stories.

Tülin Kuzulu

Front-end Developer, CoinSmart

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

Tülin arrived in Canada from Turkey with a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering. With the help of ACCES Employment’s Women in Technology program she was able to build her self-confidence, improve her interviewing skills, and build a professional network. She learned about the IT sector in Canada and was able to land her first role in Canada as a Front-end Developer with CoinSmart.

"ACCES’s Women in Technology program played a key role in my job search success. Before joining the program, I always doubted my skills and found it difficult to face interviews. ACCES helped me with my resume and prepared me for interviews. Connecting with mentors was a huge help and I was able to gain confidence in my skills, which landed me a job I’ve always wanted. It jumpstarted my career in Canada and paved the path for years to come."


Project Coordinator, Mount Sinai Hospital - Health Commons Solutions Lab

Healthcare Connections supports internationally educated healthcare professionals in securing non-licensed employment in the broader healthcare sector.

Binish was a dedicated nurse in her home country of Pakistan. After arriving in Canada, she enrolled in the Healthcare Connections program and learned about alternative healthcare careers. She is now successfully employed at Mt. Sinai hospital as a Project Coordinator in their Health Commons Solutions Lab and she supports other newcomers by telling her inspirational story as an ACCES guest speaker.

“The staff at ACCES was the most awesome and encouraging team I’ve ever worked with! They were so supportive and helped me to adjust to my new work environment.”

Tessa Nejla Ayvazoglu

Cybersecurity Connections helps internationally trained IT professionals connect with employers while also gaining a better understanding of Canadian workplace culture, cybersecurity concepts, Canadian industry best practices for information security and key security concepts.

Tessa arrived from Turkey with experience in software development along with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and a Graduate Degree in Computer Engineering. After working with ACCES, Tessa had a renewed sense of confidence and realized the value of her skillset in the IT field in Canada. She had multiple interviews with several reputable companies before accepting an offer with TD Bank as a Senior IT Developer in May 2022.

"I am so happy working at TD! I have found a new level of confidence and belief in myself, and I was empowered by ACCES and how the entire team trusted my skills and abilities to succeed."

Amandeep Verma

Junior Estimator, Onit Construction

The Trades Connections program offers sector specific and essential skills training designed to support jobseekers interested in a career in the trades.

Amandeep joined our Trades Connections program with the dream of pursuing his passion and developing his career in the construction industry, which he started in his home country of India. With the help of ACCES, he completed various certifications including Workplace Health and Safety and Soft Skills Solutions, and he was introduced to the apprenticeship pathway. Amandeep has secured employment as a Junior Estimator and is excited about his prospects and success in Canada.

“I am now happy and doing well. Trades Connections at ACCES helped me gain the right certifications and knowledge for my career in Canada.”

Sayed Nazeer Hashimi

Financial Services Representative, CIBC

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.

Sayed came to Canada from Afghanistan following the political turmoil and the global pandemic. Sayed felt that a lack of Canadian experience was holding him back. After coaching from ACCES staff, he enhanced his resume, his online profile, and his interview skills. He also made use of our many networking opportunities, and quickly obtained a role as a Financial Services Representative with CIBC.

“The ACCES Employment team is brilliant. As a newcomer from Afghanistan, I have received so much support. I learned how to present myself during interviews and the importance of networking during my job search. Thank you, ACCES!”

Shifa Afthab

Azure Technical Advisor

Engineering Connections helps internationally trained engineering professionals to succeed in the Canadian labour market. In partnership with Humber College and Seneca College, the program provides participants with important insights into Canadian workplace culture, engineering codes and standards, and professional licensing in Ontario.

Originally from India, Shifa and her family arrived in Canada with hopes for a better lifestyle and job security. She was referred to ACCES through her settlement counsellor and enrolled in the Engineering Connections program. Shifa had a strong background as a Computer Engineer but needed help in marketing her skills to Canadian employers. With ACCES, she overhauled her job search strategies, was able to land multiple interviews, and was hired as an Azure Technical Advisor with SherWeb.

“The encouragement, support, and resources at ACCES made a tremendous difference in my job search success and their personalized approach helped me to overcome my challenges quickly after my arrival in Canada.”


At ACCES, our work is rooted in diversity and inclusion. We provide specialized services to support underrepresented communities, and we deliver customized programs to jobseekers within different sectors of work and across all demographics. We assess and identify the unique job search needs and goals of each individual we serve, then provide tailored support to help them achieve employment success.


1 2 3 4 5
  1. Post Graduate 39%
  2. Bachelors Degree 28%
  3. High School or less 14%
  4. Certificate/Diploma 9%
  5. Other 10%


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  1. Business, finance, administration 33%
  2. Natural and applied sciences 13%
  3. Sales and service 12%
  4. Management occupations 10%
  5. Health occupations 8%
  6. Social science, education, government service 8%
  7. Trades, transport and equipment operators 6%
  8. Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing 5%
  9. Occupations unique to primary industry 3%
  10. Art, culture, recreation and sport 2%



WOMEN: 52%

MEN: 48%



ACCES delivers programs specifically for women including Career Pathways for Newcomer Women, Empowering Women, The START Customer Care program, and Women in Technology, which is reflected in the higher number of women supported in 2021-2022.

TOP 10


  1. India
  2. Nigeria
  3. Iran
  4. Pakistan
  5. Bangladesh
  6. China
  7. Afghanistan
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Syria
  10. Philipines



TOP 10

  1. English
  2. Hindi
  3. Farsi
  4. Urdu
  5. Bengali
  1. Arabic
  2. Tamil
  3. Spanish
  4. Mandarin
  5. Punjabi

Building Success for Pre-Arrival Clients

The job search journey and settlement process can happen more quickly when newcomers receive guidance and support prior to their arrival in Canada. Through our pre-arrival programs, and our expanding digital capacity, ACCES delivered online learning events, workshops and job search support to participants located in 89 countries around the world.

Connecting Canada Project

This past year, ACCES has launched the Connecting Canada Project. This initiative is helping pre-arrival immigrants learn more about opportunities to live, work, and settle in smaller urban and rural communities in Canada. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the project also works with the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) to actively create evidence of how making connections with employers and communities prior to landing in Canada influences pre-arrival immigrants’ settlement choices.

"Participating in the Connecting Canada Project has enabled rural communities like Lanark and Renfrew Counties to reach a highly skilled newcomer audience and share the many opportunities that await them in our area”
Jodi Bucholtz, Manager, Local Immigration Partnership – Lanark & Renfrew

“Some of the things I’ve enjoyed most about living here is how peaceful it is and the close proximity of amenities and workplaces. I found people are so open and welcoming. Most of the businesses and attractions are within ten minutes drive. My advice for communities that want to attract newcomers would be to focus on affordability and quality of life. Be open about sharing information on jobs and career prospects.”
Guihosse Attisso, Infrastructure Analyst, HCL Technologies. Moncton, NB


pre-arrival immigrants accessed our services before coming to Canada



Communities where our
pre-arrival clients settled:

Toronto, ON
Calgary, AB
Mississauga, ON
Saskatoon, SK
Edmonton, AB
Vancouver, BC
Winnipeg, MB
Montreal, QC
Regina, SK
Ottawa, ON
Brampton, ON
Moncton, NB
Oakville, ON
Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Halifax, NS
Victoria, BC
Ajax, ON
Hamilton, ON
St. Catherines, ON
Saint John, NB
Brandon, MB
Burnaby, BC
Langley, BC
Port Coquitlam, BC
Richmond, BC
Williams Lake, BC
Bradford, ON
Burlington, ON
Cookstown, ON
Cornwall, ON
London, ON
Markham, ON
Milton, ON
Milverton, ON
Neepawa, ON
Sudbury, ON
Vaughan, ON
Windsor, ON
Dang Nguyen
Dang Nguyen,
Field Service Representative, Solar Turbines

As an engineer in Vietnam, Dang was looking forward to moving to Canada. He began researching and applying for jobs but was not getting the response he was hoping for. With support from ACCES, he learned how to refine his resume, target his applications to specific job postings and to fully use his LinkedIn profile. Two months after starting the CEC program, Dang landed in Edmonton, Alberta with a job in his field at Solar Turbines.

ACCES Services for Employers

Impact and Success

We work closely with our employer partners to understand their most pressing needs and ensure jobseekers are trained and prepared for the workplace with the most current and in-demand skills. Our employers play an active role in our planning and service delivery by contributing industry insights and guidance as presenters, coaches, mentors, and volunteers. In turn, they get access to our talent pool of diverse candidates who will bring new perspectives and success to their businesses.



(a 14% 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

One of the most important things we do at ACCES is make connections. We work closely with our clients and tailor our service to their employment goals, and we connect them to real opportunities. We collaborate with our employer partners to develop industry knowledge and connect them to qualified talent. We also make connections between mentors and mentees so they can build their knowledge and their networks, open new opportunities, and benefit from meeting each other in different ways. Since the pandemic, our enhanced digital and hybrid approach has boosted mentoring at ACCES in various contexts: one-to-one, one-to-many, in person, and online.

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 partnership with the Halifax Partnership).

In our commitment to breaking down barriers and helping to create inclusive opportunities for all jobseekers, ACCES is also proud to be a Local Coordinator for MentorAbility, a national ‘supported-employment’ initiative that facilitates unique, short-term mentoring opportunities between employers and people experiencing a disability.







Collaboration and Service Excellence

With more than 35 years of experience, a key strength at ACCES is our ability to engage and collaborate with various stakeholders to create partnerships, synergies, and communities of practice. We do this across our programming, as we work with employers, sponsors, funders, and other community-service organizations, all of whom are connected by dedication and commitment to our mission: to assist job seekers from diverse backgrounds, who are facing barriers to employment, to integrate into the Canadian job market. By sharing insights, ideas, and best practices, we enhance our services and improve our outcomes. These collaborations are evident, for example, in the work we are doing with our Stakeholder Advisory Council, our support for Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers, and through our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives (EDI).

Stakeholder Advisory Council

This year, ACCES is pleased to launch our Stakeholder Advisory Council, which will provide an employer perspective and voice beyond our program-specific employer-engagement activities (e.g., volunteers, program advisories). Members of the council will act as thought leaders to support organizational initiatives by leveraging their expertise, connections, and influence in the business sector.

ACCES is proud to introduce the inaugural members of our Stakeholder Advisory Council:

Geoff Rush
Geoff Rush
National Industry Leader,
Financial Services, KPMG Canada
Andreea Amariei
Andreea Amariei
Associate Vice President,
Wealth Governance and Control, TD Wealth, TD Bank
Abe Salam
Abe Salam
Sr. Manager, Workforce of the Future PwC
Alex Tom
Alex Tom
Head of Private Sector Partnerships and PSP Officer - Canada Philanthropy, Marketing and Community Engagement, UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency (Canada)
Alida Meghji
Associate Partner, Digital and Emerging Technologies, EY
Danielle Short
Danielle Short

Director, HR, Bruce Power
Deborah Swartz
Deborah Swartz

Corporate Responsibility Lead, Accenture
Hali Farah
Hali Farah

Manager, Diversity & Inclusion – People Experience, City of Toronto
Jason Thompson
Jason Thompson

Owner/Consultant, Superior Strategies
Kelechi Uzoma
Kelechi Uzoma

(alum), Senior Product Manager, VMware
Manisha Singh
Manisha Singh

Manager, Data Protection & Privacy, Deloitte
Mohsin Khan
Mohsin Khan

Sr. Program Manager, Privacy & Innovation – Data & Trust, TELUS
Patience Adamu
Dr. Patience Adamu

Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, AECON Group Inc.
Ross Anderson
Ross Anderson

People & Equity Division, Starbucks
Stewart Nam
Stewart Nam

Director, Business Development, Shoppers Drug Mart - Health Solutions

Helping Afghan and Ukrainian Newcomers

ACCES is pleased to provide specialized programs to support Afghan refugees and Ukrainian newcomers who are arriving in Canada seeking safety and prosperity. Funded by IRCC, these customized programs are designed to help jobseekers build a professional network, learn about the labour market in Canada, improve their job search skills, and connect with employers through networking, mentoring, and local and national hiring events.

In addition to providing free, one-on-one employment counselling in Dari, Farsi, and Ukrainian, we offer English language communication coaching, skills development courses, a wide range of employment workshops, along with referrals and resources to mental health supports.

We gratefully acknowledge the employers who have supported our Afghan refugees and Ukrainian newcomers. A special thanks to Day & Ross, BMO, McCain Foods, Scotiabank, Rogers, IBM, Deloitte, IPEX, Amhil North America, and SciCan, who have been very responsive, in supporting and hiring hundreds of clients.

The following corporations have been instrumental in our efforts to support Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers:



Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at ACCES

ACCES continues to prioritize our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) as a central focus of our service delivery and our internal operations.

This year, we formed the ACCES EDI Council as a key mechanism for planning and operationalizing our goals and commitments relating to EDI. The EDI Council is responsible for championing our EDI strategy and for cultivating an organizational culture that values and integrates equity, diversity, and inclusion into all aspects of our business. Our EDI Council consists of an executive sponsor, an HR designate, and 10 staff members from across ACCES who reflect the diversity of our organization.

Highlights of our EDI initiatives and events:

  • Hosted a series of EDI Chats to engage staff in various discussions to promote learning, sharing, recognizing, and celebrating diversity and inclusion. Our Black Action Coalition for Change (BACC) continued to provide leadership and support to Black ACCES employees, and they actively contributed to planning and implementing all EDI initiatives at ACCES

  • Expanded our Pride month activities, including sponsoring a booth at the Toronto Pride Street Fair, and engaging Rainbow Railroad to train and educate our staff, on the global plight of LGBTQI+ individuals who flee persecution and find refuge in Canada

  • Participated in the OCASI Positive Spaces training to serve LGBTQ+ newcomers more effectively

  • Included indigenous guest speakers at various ACCES events including the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In last year’s Annual Report, we highlighted the formation of our first Employee Resource Group (ERG), the Black Action Coalition for Change (BACC), a network of Black ACCES employees who convene to provide leadership and insight in addressing anti-black racism. This year, we are in the process of launching our LGBTQ+ ERG. We know that true equity, diversity, and inclusion within an organization is not an endpoint, but rather an ongoing journey that requires constant effort; and we pledge to continue with this important work.



AS AT MARCH 31, 2022



*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


Acknowledgements and
Special Thanks

  • Brian Bachand, Evolution Evolution, Chairperson
  • Andrea Robertson, TD, Vice-Chairperson
  • Tolu Ajise, City of Burlington, Treasurer
  • Lucille D’Souza, Secretary
  • Alan Ng, Move to Where Inc.
  • Eliot Pobjoy, Clinical Pulse Media Corp
  • Enrique Cuyegkeng
  • Janet Krstevski, Accenture
  • Miguel A. Lopez, SciCan Canada
  • Raly Chakarova, Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • 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)
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Ministry of Education (MEd)
  • Accenture – AI Chatbot (VERA), IT Connections & Online Services Platform
  • Refugee Outreach Project - A Connection Strategy
  • BMO Financial Group – Hiring Event Series and EDI Ambassador 
  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Entrepreneurship Connections® 
  • CIBC Mellon – START Customer Care
  • CPA Ontario – Event and Webinar Series 
  • Deloitte – Alumni Network 
  • GTAA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority) – Speed Mentoring® (Peel region), MyPlan Project  
  • HSBC – Entrepreneurship Hub
  • IBM Canada Ltd. – SkillsBuild Platform
  • IKEA – IKEA Canada Customer Experience Training
  • KPMG – Empowering Women
  • McCain Foods LTD. – Event Series Sponsorship
  • RBC Royal Bank of Canada – Online Event Series, Financial Literacy, and Financial Services Connections
  • TD Ready Challenge, TD Bank Group – Empowering Women, Women in Technology, Cybersecurity Connections and Compliance Training for Refugees

  • ACCES Employment works with a number of community partners throughout the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada. Each partner plays an important role in our ability to provide support to diverse jobseekers and to our success. Partners include settlement agencies, employment service providers, immigration services, municipalities, academic partners, private sector organizations, and many more.