Preview: Kingston’s New Youth Employment Strategy

Summer Company meet and greet - June 24 2015.jpg

One of my key goals when elected mayor was to champion a made-in-Kingston youth employment strategy to help young people kick-start their careers in our community. It’s been very exciting for me, over the last year, to watch this vision come together through the efforts of an extraordinary group of people representing employers, youth agencies, employment agencies, institutions and other key partners. After many hours of work, this task force is now preparing its final report to be presented to City Council this summer.

Earlier this month I sat down with the youth employment task force and got a sneak peek at some of the many initiatives that are being put together. As a preview, here are three things I think will make a big impact:

  1. Remove unnecessary barriers to employment in the public sector. I’m very pleased the City of Kingston itself has proposed to take the lead in reviewing employment requirements, such as a minimum of 5 years experience for entry level positions. This requirement disqualifies many young people and recent post-secondary graduates, sending them to other cities looking for work. With a large number of retirements projected in the near future we should be looking to reduce barriers to get young people into the workforce and build on opportunities to attract talented young people right here in Kingston.
  2. Establish more student targeted opportunities for employment experience. There are many great ways to provide students with hands-on employment experiences from co-op placements, to internships and apprenticeships. Employment experiences geared towards their interests are a great way to gain skills and launch careers. I look forward to learning more about the recommendations coming forward to support greater opportunities for youth to gain targeted employment experiences.
  3. Create an annual forum for guidance counselors and youth advisors to receive up-to-date information on where job opportunities exist. Supporting those who support our youth determine their career path just makes sense. Providing updated information will help ensure young people know what jobs are or will be in demand, so they can plan the steps and choose the right education to get them there.

Of course there are lots of other exciting recommendations in the upcoming youth employment strategy, but this gives a flavour of what we can do at a local level.  The aim is to create a supportive local environment for young people of all backgrounds, interests and education levels to find the job or the career that is right for them, because when our young people are successful our city will prosper.

A New Vision for the Inner Harbour & Old Industrial Area

V2 north kings town

Next week is the official launch of the North King’s Town visioning exercise which will create a plan for the redevelopment of Kingston’s Inner Harbour and the Old Industrial Area (see the map below). This visioning exercise is an opportunity for residents to share their input and feedback for the future of a part of the city that connects to our beautiful downtown and waterfront.

Part of this visioning will help settle one of the big community debates over the last few years: the future of the Wellington Street Extension. This debate has centered on whether this new road through the Inner Harbour and Old Industrial Area is really necessary for future development. To help address this question the visioning aims to first looking at what sort of development we want to see in North Kingstown. Then, based on that answer we can decide what sort of road network – either the Wellington Street extension or another alternative – will be required to revitalize the area.

The other key part of this visioning exercise is the inclusion of a market analysis to ensure any ideas for redevelopment that come forward in the visioning process are financially viable. A market analysis will help ensure the final report resulting from the visioning doesn’t sit on a shelf, but rather can be a catalyst to attract real development proposals.

I’m looking forward to the visioning process and to creating an exciting future for this great area of our city!

Here’s how you can get involved;

Public launch: Tuesday, May 24
The project launch for North King’s Town will take place at the Royal Canadian Legion, 734 Montreal St. (across from Belle Park) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (presentation at 7:00 p.m.)

Visioning workshop: Monday, June 20
An interactive workshop at the Portuguese Cultural Centre, 959 Division St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Community visioning exercise: Wednesday, June 22
A community visioning exercise for North King’s Town will be held in Douglas R. Fluhrer Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., along with a free public barbeque and concert. This event is co-hosted by the City of Kingston and the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

Community information booth: Saturday, June 25
The City will have a community information booth about the North King’s Town Secondary Plan in McBurney Park as part of the Skeleton Park Arts Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open house: Monday, Sept. 19
Details about this event still have to be confirmed. Stay tuned.

Learn more by visiting the City of Kingston website HERE 

North Kings Town map

From the Mayor’s Chair – May 17

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the May 17 Council meeting include Council’s unanimous approval of the partnership between the City of Kingston, Correctional Service Canada and St. Lawrence Parks Commission for summer tours at Kingston Penitentiary. Council also approved  funding to support the Kick and Push festival this summer and next. And a new fee waiving policy for charitable organizations looking to rent city facilities free of charge was passed.

Watch the May 17 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair here

From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website

Kingston Penitentiary Open for Tours This Summer!

KP tours announcement

Today I am thrilled to announce Kingston Penitentiary will be open for tours starting in mid-June and running throughout the summer. I know this will be exciting news not only for Kingston residents eager to get a glimpse inside the tall walls of the penitentiary, it also promises to be a huge attraction for tourist and visitors from across the region, the country and around the world.

What is especially great about the timing for these tours is how they will set up the visioning exercise for the Kingston Pen property that will be taking place this fall. My hope and expectation is that during the summer tour season we will attract international attention and world class development opportunities for Kingston Pen and neighbouring Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.

To make this announcement even better, half of the net proceeds from these tours will benefit local youth initiatives through the United Way of KFL&A. The proceeds will be used to establish a youth fund and provide a tremendous resource to address key local issues like youth homelessness, youth employment and youth engagement.

An opportunity like this doesn’t happen without a lot of cooperation and creative thinking. Over the last number of weeks it’s been amazing to be a part of a cooperative agreement between all three levels of government: Corrections Canada (federal), the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (provincial) and the City of Kingston. I would personally like to thank Corrections Canada for their willingness to open the doors of Kingston Pen for tours this summer, and St. Lawrence Parks Commission for overseeing the operations of the tours.

This promises to be a summer to remember here in Kingston! As mayor it’s my great pleasure to invite the world to our city this summer to visit Kingston Penitentiary and take in the many amazing sights and events our community has to offer.

Tickets for the tours are expected to go on sale in mid-June, more details are to come. Tickets will be sold online only at

Let’s Chat! Introducing #MayorChats

Kingnet - Chats With Mayor

I want to chat with you – and i’m coming to you to do it!

I am thrilled to launch a new outreach initiative today called Chats with the Mayor. I know Kingstonians care deeply about our community. I also know Kingston residents are busy. That’s why I am launching an initiative to connect with Kingstonians where they are to talk about what matters to them. 

One of the keys to building a Smart and Livable 21st Century City is hearing from residents by creating opportunities for residents to engage in City business and provide your feedback without the structure of a formal meeting.

Have thoughts or ideas on hot topics such as the airport expansion, downtown highrises, the Third Crossing, the Kingston Penitentiary site – or any other city-related issue, service, program or facility?  Chat with me about them!

Look for me – and the “Chats with the Mayor” banner – around the city and at community events. Find out where i’m going to be on twitter using #MayorChats


VIA Rail upgrades Kingston service: the making of a regional hub

VIA Kingston hub model

provided by VIA Rail, showing Kingston as a regional service hub  

Last week the President and CEO of VIA Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, was in Kingston to discuss the future of passenger rail service across the country and the exciting enhancements we will see in our local service, into and out of Kingston.

Currently, VIA Rail service in Kingston is restricted both by limited track space for passenger trains and because Kingston is currently only an intermediate stop on Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa lines. I’m excited to share with you how this is going to change thanks to the announcement made last week!

In 2019 VIA Rail plans to introduce a new dedicated track for passenger rail along the Windsor-Quebec City corridor by taking over existing under-utilized freight tracks. This change alone will bring three times as many trains per day; this of course means better schedules with more travel options.

Also part of the service enhancement announcement is the plan to make Kingston a new rail service hub. In this new model Kingston will be the Southeastern Ontario service hub with trains originating from Kingston every morning en route to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and ending each evening in Kingston. This means Kingston residents will now be able to, for example, take the train to an early morning meeting in Ottawa, or take a late train back to Kingston after dinner and a show in Toronto.

To grow our local economy we need better transportation links to make it easier for people to get to and from Kingston. That’s why the expansion of our airport is important and that’s why I’m so pleased to be able to work with VIA Rail to improve rail connections to Kingston.  

From the Mayor’s Chair – May 3

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the May 3 Council meeting include a a focus on National Youth Week, May 1-7. Members of the Y2K Kingston Youth Strategy presented the city with an award recognizing Kingston as a Youth Friendly Community. Council also heard from the United Way, Home Base Housing and the Kingston Youth Shelter about youth homelessness initiatives currently underway in the city to end youth homelessness. Council approved the continuation of the the popular transit pilot program offering free bus passes to high school students, this program continues to be cost-shared with the school boards.  Council also approved additional funding towards the visioning exercise for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour scheduled to begin later this spring.

Watch the May 3 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair here

From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website.