2023–2024 Toronto Urban Fellows program is accepting applications from May 1 to May 12, 2023.

The Toronto Urban Fellows program is a competitive opportunity for recent graduate of Masters, LLB, JD, and PhD programs to tackle strategic projects at the City of Toronto.

The Toronto Urban Fellows program provides talented new professionals with an intensive introduction to the governance, operations and administration of Canada’s largest city. This is accomplished through a combination of full-time work experience and a series of seminars, tours and workshops.

The Toronto Urban Fellows program has established a strong reputation as an innovative, ground-breaking initiative that has welcomed more than 90 highly skilled and talented professionals to the Toronto Public Service.

Urban Fellows make important contributions to the City of Toronto’s policy and research agenda, provide fresh perspectives on complex issues, and undertake essential program development and evaluation activities. While their academic and professional backgrounds vary, all Toronto Urban Fellows share a commitment to excellence, public service and the City of Toronto’s success.

The TUF program was recognized with a City Manager’s Award in 2013. Check out the video!

Toronto Urban Fellows complete two six-month project assignments in two different divisions at the City of Toronto. These full-time, project-based professional development opportunities are enhanced by monthly Learning Series events that connect Urban Fellows with leaders at the City of Toronto and in the broader community. The program consists of:

Orientation and Project Matching

In the first week of the program, Urban Fellows learn about the host divisions and project assignments. Project matching – a mutual interview and selection process – is made to place Urban Fellows with a host division for a six-month assignment. Urban Fellows are matched based on their interest in the project, the skills and qualifications they bring to this particular assignment, and the professional development opportunity that the project offers. The project matching process is repeated half-way through the year to match Urban Fellows with their next six-month project rotation.

Program participants are not guaranteed a match with their top choice of assignment, and may be matched with any participating City division. Urban Fellows are often assigned to projects outside of their professional discipline. In this way, the Toronto Urban Fellows program allows for cross-pollination of professional expertise across the City of Toronto. It gives Urban Fellows an opportunity to step outside their comfort zones to gain new experiences, skills, and professional development opportunities.


The Toronto Urban Fellows program selects projects based on their strategic importance to the City, professional development value, and exposure opportunities for the Urban Fellow, among other criteria. Project assignments are overseen by experienced directors, managers or senior professionals within the Toronto Public Service.

Projects typically involve a combination of research, policy development, stakeholder consultation, project management, program delivery and evaluation, and/or business process review and re-engineering. To ensure project success, Urban Fellows must draw on their strong analytical, research, communication and interpersonal skills and be ready to ask and answer tough questions.

Learning Series

Urban Fellows participate in a year-long Learning Series that provides broader exposure to the City of Toronto’s governance system, administration and policy landscape. The Learning Series consists of seminars, workshops and tours. At these sessions, Urban Fellows meet with senior government officials, community champions, business leaders and academics who are passionate about Toronto and working hard to shape its future. Examples of Learning Series events held in recent cohorts included:

  • Fiscal Environment for Cities with Dr. Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
  • Indigenous Reconciliation at the City of Toronto with the Native Child and Family Services
  • Governing in the Fishbowl: Perspective on Communications and Media Relations at the City of Toronto with Adrienne Batra (Toronto Sun) and Jeff Grey (Globe and Mail)
  • Visioning for the Future: The role of public infrastructure in social city-building and tour of the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant

Benefits and salaries

Urban Fellows earn a taxable salary of approximately $76,694.80 and are eligible for health care benefits after completing six months of employment.

Urban Fellows are not guaranteed employment with the City of Toronto upon completion of the program. However, through the experience gained in the program, participants will be well-positioned to apply for relevant vacancies and are eligible for health care benefits after completing six months of employment.

The job posting for the 2023–2024 Toronto Urban Fellows program is open from May 1 – 12, 2023. Prospective candidates are encouraged to apply online.

Interested applicants can join a virtual information session on Wednesday, May 3 from noon to 1 p.m.

Committed to employment equity, the City of Toronto encourages applications from Indigenous people and equity deserving groups.

Recruitment process

Urban Fellows recruitment follows a three stage process:

  • All candidates are required to submit a resume and cover letter that demonstrate their qualifications and potential to contribute to the Toronto Public Service.
  • Following an evaluation of the resume submissions, select candidates will be asked to complete a written assessment.
  • Following an evaluation of the written assignments, select candidates will be invited to a job interview.

Job offers for the 2023–2024 cohort will be made in Summer 2023. The program will begin in September 2023 and conclude in August 2024.


  • Applicants must have recently completed graduate level education, (within the past three years), at a Master’s level or greater, including LLB/JD.Internationally educated professionals are eligible and encouraged to apply. Individuals with a post-graduate certificate in Public Administration are also eligible to apply.
  • Applicants who are currently enrolled in a Masters, LLB, JD or PhD level program, will need to meet all academic criteria in order to be eligible to graduate before the Urban Fellows program begins.
  • Individuals are encouraged to apply regardless of academic major, discipline or field of specialization. Academic and/or work experience in areas such as Finance, Accounting or Information and Technology is considered an asset but not necessary. Candidates with backgrounds in disciplines such as urban planning, public policy, public administration, international development, social work, engineering, political science, sociology, history, kinesiology, public health, environmental studies and landscape architecture have been accepted into the program.
  • Applicants must be legally entitled to work in Canada for the duration of the program. If you are not a Canadian citizen, you must be a permanent resident of Canada or possess a valid open work permit for the duration of the program as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and regulations (SOR/2002-227).  Please note that the Toronto Urban Fellows Program does not meet the requirements of NAFTA appendix 1603.D.1 for an exempt work permit for applicants from the United States or Mexico.
  • Applicants must meet the Key Qualifications described in the job posting.

As an organization dedicated to research on municipal finance and governance, the development of good public policy, and the strengthening of municipal public administration, IMFG strongly supports the Toronto Urban Fellows (TUF) program. The applicant demand for the program and the cadre of dynamic, dedicated and diverse fellows the TUF has welcomed, are testament to both a burgeoning interest in urban affairs and the capacity of the City to attract future leaders. We commend the City of Toronto and the innovative developers of the TUF program for having the vision and courage to launch and nurture a program that will pay great dividends in the years ahead.

Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto

“Toronto Urban Fellows bring energy and innovative ways of thinking to the projects they tackle at the City of Toronto. They are enthusiastic, talented, and highly motivated professionals with skills that are transferable throughout our corporation. To date, Solid Waste Management Services has hosted seven Urban Fellows, many of whom went on to accept permanent, full-time roles at the City. The Toronto Urban Fellows program has been a strategic opportunity for our division to build its people-power by generating meaningful professional development opportunities on a range of innovative research, policy, and project management initiatives. If you’re ready to tackle unexpected challenges and contribute to projects with a real impact to the City, I strongly encourage you to apply to the Toronto Urban Fellows program.”

Carlyle Khan, Director, Infrastructure Development & Asset Management, Solid Waste Management Services

After finishing my PhD in Information Studies, I was looking for an opportunity to use my data analysis and research skills in new ways. I wanted to change careers, and was delighted to find exactly what I had been looking for in the TUF program. The program’s structure – rotating fellows through two divisions – helped me to learn about the various careers and projects at the City, while also making a contribution in my own work. I discovered a passion for both information management and operational data analysis, and have been able to develop and hone my skills in both areas. The TUF program provided me with great mentors, a broad and rich network of colleagues, and has given me immense pride in the contributions public servants make to programs and policies at the City of Toronto.

Lisa Quirke, QA Consultant, Toronto Water

Alannah Dharamshi

Alannah Dharamshi is a public policy professional with a background in research and analysis, stakeholder engagement, knowledge translation, and project management. Prior to joining the Toronto Urban Fellows Program, Alannah worked for a public policy research and advisory firm where she led research, advocacy, and strategy projects for cross-sector clients on a broad range of topics – from privacy and emerging technologies to health and settlement services. She also previously worked for a large non-profit where she collaborated on public and social innovation projects, including designing gameplay experiences for research and convening, and investigating civic participation in smart cities. Alannah holds a Master of Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Psychology from Western University. She is excited to use her multidisciplinary background to help advance policies, programs, and services that support a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable City, and improve experiences and outcomes for Toronto residents


Alexandra Sheinbaum

Alex attended the University of Toronto for both an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Urbanism and Human Geography and a Master of Landscape Architecture. Her major design-research projects covered topics related to climate resiliency, landscape as infrastructure, park equity and participatory design. Alex’s work often challenges status quo thinking around urban design and planning, placing people and nature at the forefront of community-oriented development. Since 2020, Alex has worked as a multidisciplinary researcher at the Centre for Landscape Research, with a particular focus on the role of urban open and green space in relation to community and climate resilience. Her contributions include in-depth research into Toronto’s ‘Towers-in-the-Park’, consisting of city-wide climate analyses, community-based knowledge exchanges and a new participatory design game to help empower and educate residents on blue-green infrastructure. As a Toronto Urban Fellow, Alex worked with Parks, Forestry & Recreation with a focus on Ravine Strategy Implementation. Projects covered under this position included a spatial analysis of ongoing and future projects within the Ravine Priority Investment Areas with the intention of cross-divisional capital coordination as well as a report on flood vulnerable assets to assist with climate-focused funding and grant opportunities. Alex also guided a workshop for senior project leads on the Loop Trail and started scoping for the Wonscotonach Re-envisioning Masterplan RFP.


Andrea Morales Caceres

Andrea is a Master of Global Affairs graduate (MGA ’21) from the University of Toronto and former Research Fellow for the Global Strategy Lab (GSL) at York University, where she supported several research projects and grants on a number of global health topics, ranging from public health institutions to antimicrobial resistance. Her past work experiences have also included internships with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Project Ploughshares, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). In all of these roles, Andrea conducted research, edited, and/or wrote publications related to migration and refugee topics in both the Canadian and international context. For her next rotation, Andrea is looking to apply her research skills and experiences to division projects that aim to improve social or economic development in Toronto. Andrea is currently located in the Asset Management & Building Performance (AMBP) Section of the Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM) division. In the last few months, Andrea has been writing an Asset Management Strategy for the Division, which she has created by researching asset management best practices from organizational guidelines and Canadian municipalities in addition to leading stakeholder engagement with over a dozen informants at the Division.


Aniska Graver

Aniska is a public policy professional with an interdisciplinary background in provincial and international affairs, defense policy, gender equality programming, infrastructure policies and programs and the private sector. She is passionate about developing evidenced-based, equitable and inclusive policies and programs that address the realities of communities across Toronto. Aniska completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies and African Studies from York University and holds a Master of International Public Policy from Wilfrid Laurier University. As a Toronto Urban Fellow, Aniska looks forward to contributing to the City of Toronto’s policies and programs that promote safety, social and economic well-being, and inclusion of Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities and residents.


Brooke Downey

Brooke is a museum professional interested in the intersections between civic engagement, public policy, and the arts and cultural sector. She began her career in the non-profit sector where she honed her skills in operations, project management, and strategic communications. In 2021, she earned her Master of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto, where she had previously completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women & Gender Studies. She is excited to bring her multi-sector experience to the Toronto Urban Fellow program and contribute to making a more equitable, inclusive, and thriving city.


Casidhe Gardiner

A graduate of Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Casidhe Gardiner has experience in public health, non-profit, corporate, seniors living, and healthcare settings. She has a background in policy analysis, quality improvement, and program management. Prior to the Toronto Urban Fellows program, Casidhe was excited to be a key player in planning the inaugural Canadian Public Health Week and supporting a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the public health sector in Ontario through her role as Policy & Program Officer at the Ontario Public Health Association. Casidhe is passionate about working on policy and program initiatives through a health equity lens, reaching upstream to tackle the social determinants of health.


Courtney Balaz-Munn

Courtney has a range of experience in research, communications, and project management. She has previously managed report production for a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion-focused research institute, provided research assistance for an international collaboration studying state-building and infrastructure development in Nepal, and worked in program delivery in several post-secondary and public sector organizations. Courtney has a Master of Arts in Human Geography from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Simon Fraser University. As a Toronto Urban Fellow, she looks forward to advancing projects that contribute to justice, equity, and well-being for people and nature in Toronto.


Geena Richards

Geena Richards attended the University of Toronto and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree, specializing in Environmental Science, Environmental Geography and Environmental Studies. She then attended York University and obtained a Master in Environmental Studies degree, specializing in Planning. Her master’s research examined the connection between planning, community-building, and community engagement by emphasizing placemaking through the development of community gardens in Canadian public greenspaces. During her time working as a Junior Planner, Geena assisted on multiple projects regarding community engagement initiatives and master plan development concerning recreation, parks, and other public spaces in municipalities throughout Ontario. Before her work as a Junior Planner, Geena had worked and volunteered for the municipal sector on multiple projects and initiatives that highlighted the importance of community-building, community engagement, environmental awareness, planning and policy development. She has also done other volunteer work centred on supporting active community environmental stewardship and greater student participation in planning activities and opportunities. Now as a Toronto Urban Fellow, Geena has been a part of the Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division with Urban Forestry’s Policy and Planning team working on a project about ecological integrity and monitoring in Toronto. For her current project, Geena has had the opportunity to participate in meetings with principal project stakeholders, conduct site visits for observational research, prepare a report and conduct presentations discussing the key findings of her research.


Habiba Khalid

Habiba is a public policy professional with experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Her professional experience covers a wide range of areas including education, transportation, equity and diversity, and government relations. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Toronto’s Munk School. Most recently, she worked at Halton Region where she contributed to the Region’s issues management and strategic planning processes, and updated senior management and staff on the COVID-19 pandemic, response, recovery programs and initiatives in order to help shape regional policy on COVID-19, recovery, and vaccine distribution.


Ian Stecher

Ian is passionate about sustainable, innovative urban development, combatting climate change, and inter-governmental collaboration. He holds a Master of Global Affairs degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Windsor. Prior to joining the City, Ian worked at the MaRS Discovery District for a year and a half. In a dual role, serving on both their Impact Finance and Smart Cities teams, he primarily worked on a project to accelerate the financing and execution of retrofit projects in small and medium sized municipalities across Canada. Ian also loves soccer (watching and playing), board games, reading, and learning guitar. Ian spent his first Toronto Urban Fellow rotation working in the Solid Waste Management Service division. In this role, he supported the planning and development of the division’s biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG) project portfolio. Specifically, he worked on the financial modelling and commissioning activities for the Dufferin RNG facility and the development of the project contract and service agreement for the Green Lane Landfill facility.


Jessica Lee

Jessica is a public health professional with experience in policy-oriented research, program evaluation, and community engagement. Most recently, Jessica worked at Public Health Ontario where she led mixed-methods research and program evaluations to inform municipal and provincial public health policy and practice. She holds a Master in Public Health from the University of Toronto and is passionate about the development of policies and programs that advance health, wellbeing, and equity.


Katrina (Kat) Manica

Kat Manica recently received her PhD in History of Art from the University of York her thesis reasserts the experience of pleasure in art of non-white subjects in nineteenth-century British art. Her research makes use of Critical Race Theory and decolonial strategies of embodiment. Moreover, she has experience working with individuals who have complex mental health diagnoses providing pastoral and practical support through appropriate mechanisms. At the University of York, she planned two successful academic conferences, represented her colleagues in board meetings with internal stakeholders, and she has considerable working with external stakeholders including writing public and press briefings. At the City of Toronto, she is working to decolonize the Parkland Strategy and produce a methodology for interim use of properties to be turned into parks.


Lauren Grosberg

Lauren is a policy professional with an interdisciplinary background, including in municipal and international affairs, program and policy development, account and project management, and stakeholder relations. Lauren recently graduated with her Master’s in Public Policy from the Munk School at the University of Toronto. While there, she developed a mentorship program in association with the Urban Policy Lab, and also directed the Policy Innovation Initiative, a student-led think tank focused on conceptualizing innovative policy solutions to solve for complex problems. Previously, Lauren worked as an account and project manager at a couple of strategic, creative consulting agencies. Passionate about social innovation and the building of inclusive, resilient, and sustainable communities and cities, Lauren spent the first half of 2022 in Paris, France, where she undertook independent research and reporting on the ‘15-minute city’ as an urban strategy for an equitable, green, and economically effective COVID-19 recovery. Lauren also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from McGill University, where she studied international development and completed a field studies program in East Africa. In her first Toronto Urban Fellow placement, Lauren is supporting Transportation Services’ Strategic Policy and Innovation unit, working to ensure equitable access to city sidewalks for people with disabilities.


Marion Davies

Marion is passionate about public policy and sustainability. Prior to joining Toronto Urban Fellow, Marion worked at a network of green economy think tanks including Smart Prosperity Institute, Canada Plastics Pact, and Circular Economy Leadership Canada, where she supported engagement and communications. While interning with the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme at Queen’s Park, Marion provided non-partisan briefing and research support to Members of Provincial Parliament. Marion holds a Master of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Guelph. Much of her education and work experience has focused on mitigating climate change, improving agricultural sustainability, and addressing challenges of plastic waste.


Natalia Valencia

Natalia is a public policy professional, community advocate and researcher. She combines her experience in project management, program evaluation and policy analysis to lead complex transformational projects that address social policy and equity issues. As a Toronto Urban Fellow within Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM) division, she has provided project coordination and strategic communications support to key strategic initiatives such as the City-wide Real Estate (CWRE) Transformation and CREM’s Strategic Plan 2023 to 2026. In this role, she leveraged change management principles to build a solid change communication strategy and plan to mitigate resistance and build acceptance among client Divisions, councillors, CREM staff and senior leadership team for CWRE. In addition, she supported the launch of an internal strategic communications plan by developing communication materials and organizing key activities such as a division-wide townhall and roadshow for various audiences, including staff and senior management. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Natalia worked at various non-for-profits, both nationally and abroad on issues of civic and youth engagement, social inclusion, employment and child welfare. Most recently, she worked at the Child Welfare Immigration Centre of Excellence within Peel Children’s Aid Society, where she led several research and service projects in the areas of equitable service delivery, anti-Black racism in child welfare and data collection practices. Throughout her career, she has worked across grassroots and institutional spaces to build better social outcomes for marginalized and underserved communities. She is passionate about using data and human-design principles to advance social policy development and enhance service delivery. Natalia holds a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies from the University of Toronto.


Philip Szwiec

Philip is a sustainability professional with multidisciplinary research experience in program and policy development, environmental impact frameworks, circular economy practices and stakeholder engagement. He has previously participated in developing diverse ESG strategies for Fortune 500 companies, including transportation electrification programs and achieving net zero target plans, as well as overseen project management related to the transition of Ontario’s Blue Box Program, but his true passions are situated in and couched within social impact and equity concerns. During his MSc he developed, with the help of his supervisor, an industry-agnostic framework that systematized environmental justice implementation and is committed to applying an equity perspective to every project he pursues. Philip joined the Toronto Urban Fellows Program to leverage his academic background and professional experiences to provide evidence-driven and accessible policy solutions to support Toronto’s existing climate and equity initiatives, and is excited to work with and learn from City staff during the duration of the Program. For his first rotation in C2K, Philip will develop and advance an internal work plan to engage divisions to collaboratively develop and implement a governance structure to guide the City-wide approach for the collection and management of development-related fees.


Samar Abdulle

Samar is a public health professional with experiences in health equity research, policy, and evaluation. She is interested in building equitable solutions using community-based research methods. Most recently she worked as a research coordinator at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital where she led a mixed-methods evaluation of an Indigenous-led Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine program. Samar holds a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. As a Toronto Urban Fellow, Samar completed her first rotation with the Community Programs unit within the Seniors Services and Long-Term Care Division. Samar’s project, ‘Supporting the Right to Remain at Home’, assessed whether the City’s home support programs enabled seniors to age in place.