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Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa breaks down employment barriers with an investment from RBC

RBC Future Launch Support adds $650,000 to this program

African Muslim couple who receive help from the Youth Services Bureau
RBC’s investment in YSB’s youth employment programs help ensure young people can develop skills, gain meaningful work experience and access mental health and other needed support.

“I never thought about my life looking the way it does now,” says Moe, a young Youth Services Bureau (YSB) client who arrived in Canada from Sudan just prior to the start of the pandemic.

Moe was skilled in IT but was struggling not only to find employment in Ottawa but also in adjusting to life here.

“My employment counsellor was patient with me, and taught me to be patient with myself. I had some setbacks, including health and mental health challenges along the way, but I worked really hard to get where I am.”

He adds, “My employment counsellor helped me so much and I recently secured a new job as an IT technician and am happy with where I am in all aspects of my life.”

Since it was founded in 1960, the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) has become one of the largest and longest serving youth agencies in Ottawa.

Each year, YSB works with thousands of young people aged 12 and older – and their families – to support their well-being. YSB’s staff team work to ensure young people successfully find their first job, have somewhere safe to sleep, can access mental health support they need, and receive compassionate justice support.

YSB’s work reaches deep into the community and benefits from a range of partnerships to ensure youth success.

One such partner is RBC, a partner to YSB for more than a decade, investing over $650,000 in its youth mental health initiatives and, most recently, its employment programs and services for Ottawa youth.

“YSB’s Employment Services program addressed a gap in serving some of our region’s most vulnerable youth,” says Linda Newman, RBC’s vice-president, commercial financial services in Ottawa. “It’s about ensuring young people can develop the skills and gain meaningful work experience to ready themselves for the workplace, while at the same time accessing mental health and other supports they need.”

RBC’s investment in YSB’s youth employment programs – in particular to support the community’s most vulnerable young people aligns with its Future Launch mission – a 10-year, $500 million commitment focused on helping youth develop the right skills for the future.

With funding from RBC, YSB developed a pilot project to discover why young clients who initially tapped into support didn’t stay engaged long enough to benefit from work placements or ultimately offers of employment.

“Many young people accessing our programs are struggling with multiple barriers to employment,” says YSB’s director of employment services Amber Costello. “It’s difficult enough to be missing one or more high school credits, yet many are also struggling with poverty, food insecurity, lack of transportation, among other factors.”

She adds, “For these youth, it can feel daunting to simply think about the first step to upgrading skills and gaining employment, let alone ask for support, but that’s exactly why we’re here to work with them.”

Support is geared to meet youth where they currently are at, and to engage them as they journey towards entering or re-entering the workforce. This includes pre-employment training, résumé and interview preparation, access to job fairs, connections to mental health support offered at YSB as well as other support available in the community.

The program works to help youth build their confidence, competence and their life stabilization needs prior to directing them into a more formal employment experience.

Throughout the pandemic – and again with RBC Future Launch support – YSB’s Employment Services increased its visibility among more challenged communities to ensure program content and ways to access support were well communicated and available to the youth furthest from the workforce.

Financial support for youth accessing these programs also helps to alleviate and potentially remove some of the barriers.

RBC FL LogoInterested in joining RBC and others as a YSB employment partner?

Visit for more information or call YSB’s Employment Services team at 613-236-8244.