Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Toronto Community Housing Corporation was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Toronto Community Housing offers exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 93% of salary for up to 52 weeks) as well as generous parental top-up for fathers and adoptive parents (to 93% of salary for 35 weeks)
- Toronto Community Housing encourages employees to keep their skills sharp with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $1,000 annually), subsidies for professional accreditation, and a variety of in-house and online training programs
Toronto Community Housing builds better lives
After eight years working as a private investigator, Jacqueline Doo felt that she was ready for something new. That's certainly what she got when she joined Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), Canada's largest social housing provider. Instead of answering to private-sector clients, Doo now plays an important role in helping 110,000 TCHC residents feel safe and secure in their homes.
"It's very dynamic work - no two days are ever the same," says Doo, whose title, Specialist-Compliance, Training & Investigations, Community Safety Unit, only hints at the range of her responsibilities. Doo coordinates the activities of a team of 160, including 110 Special Constables, TCHC peace officers who are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Doo's investigative skills still come in handy, but her job also includes numerous human resources and labour management functions. On any given day she may make sure that team members are on track with their training or that their credentials are up to date; liaise with the RCMP or OPP as well as Toronto Police Service (TPS); do a background check; or look into a tenant's complaint. Says Doo, "I really get to see the big picture."
TCHC owns and manages nearly 60,000 rental housing units in 2,100 buildings - a $10-billion public asset - in more than 100 Toronto neighbourhoods. Its core business is to provide clean, safe, well-maintained, affordable homes to low- and moderate-income households. But TCHC, which is wholly owned by the City of Toronto and operates in a non-profit manner, goes beyond its role as a landlord.
With its vision of "quality homes in vibrant communities where people are proud to live and work," it's also an agent of social change. TCHC works with a variety of partners to connect its residents, who include seniors, families, singles, refugees, recent immigrants and people with special needs, to a network of services, supports and opportunities.
For employees, TCHC offers meaningful work that allows each staff member to see first-hand the positive impact they make in residents' lives.
In addition to rewarding and challenging work, TCHC offers employees a competitive salary and compensation package, including a defined benefit pension plan. It also offers training and development programs, both internally and through external vendors, and helps employees pursue their own professional development goals through a tuition reimbursement program.
Doo, who has a BA in criminology, was one of those who took advantage of the tuition program to round out her competencies. She returned to the University of Toronto for three years of night classes to earn a post-graduate certificate in HR management.
First, however, prospective employees need more than a resume that ticks all the right boxes. Everyone at TCHC is expected to put residents' needs at the forefront and that calls for a certain mindset. Unlike a private-sector employer, TCHC requires employees to focus consistently on the best outcomes for residents - regardless of their formal staff role.
Doo sees many of those attributes in the Special Constables she interacts with. Every day they're on patrol, including joint patrols with TPS, making them visible and accessible 24-7. As a result, Doo says that the constables are often the first TCHC staff that tenants reach out to.
Tenants have told TCHC that safety and security is their top concern. But many have other needs as well, Doo says, so that that initial contact may be the starting point for referring them to the help they require.
"Everybody is here to help others prosper and I often see the officers really connecting with the tenants," she adds. "Their work can be stressful, but there's satisfaction in knowing you're making a difference."