Empowering BIPOC Youth to build Careers in Creative Industries  
Sara Tessier
Oct 25, 2023

Justice Fund and the Northpine Foundation are pleased to announce an investment in a program aimed at breaking down barriers for Black, Indigenous, and young people of color (BIPOC) in the creative industries.

The program, aptly named the Creative Pathways to Employment Program (CPEP), is set to offer tailored training to youth in conflict with the law, with a goal to see them gainfully employed in creative industries.

“Inequality in educational opportunities and employment options disproportionately affects BIPOC youth in Toronto,” says Yonis Hassan, CEO of Justice Fund. “Our mission is to empower these young individuals with the skills and support needed to thrive in the dynamic world of the creative industries.

CPEP offers comprehensive, paid employment training to justice system-impacted youth, providing them with the skills and support necessary to excel in the creative industries. The program emphasizes technical skills, non-cognitive abilities, counseling services, and offers participants resources for holistic development.

Collaborating with hiring partners like The Legends League, Riot Club, Get Fresh Company and the Scarborough Shooting Stars, and with support from the Province of Ontario, the CPEP program is making a significant impact.

To date, over 100 individuals have found employment, and this investment of $500,000 from the Northpine Foundation will support the training and hiring of around 400 more.

“We are proud to support Justice Fund to empower youth in conflict with the law, and offer them employment and economic mobility,” says Sara Tessier, Director of Impact – Formerly Incarcerated Persons at the Northpine Foundation. “This initiative is a step towards building a model that can be scaled nationally, revolutionizing our approach to empowerment and economic equality for youth impacted by the justice system.”

The program invites potential hiring partners who share a commitment to equal opportunity. “We are looking for hiring partners, both in the creative industries and beyond, to join this initiative,” adds Hassan of the Justice Fund. “Your support can give talented young individuals the opportunities they deserve and could be the best investment you make in your business. We’re thrilled that Northpine Foundation joins the Province of Ontario, the NBA Foundation and a growing number of philanthropic partners to bring this initiative to life.”

With a commitment to transparency and impact, the Justice Fund and the Northpine Foundation aim to release a public report highlighting results and insights on completion of this program.

This investment in the Justice Fund and the Creative Pathways to Employment Program signifies a step towards dismantling systemic barriers and creating a brighter future for BIPOC youth, and an enhanced talent pool for Toronto’s creative industries.

Learn more about Justice Fund Toronto here and see the Northpine Foundation’s investments in Formerly Incarcerated Persons here.