Toronto Urban Fellows
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.
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 during the 2017/2018 cohort included:
- Fiscal Environment for Cities with Dr. Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
- 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 $75, 748.40 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 2020-2021 Toronto Urban Fellows program will be posted in Spring 2020. Prospective candidates are encouraged to check back in Spring 2020 for up-to-date information on the next hiring cycle.
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 2019-2020 cohort will be made in Summer 2019. The program will begin on September 4, 2019 and conclude on August 28, 2020.
- Applicants must have graduated from a Master’s, LLB, JD or PhD program within the past three years, not earlier than January 2016. 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. Applicants may need to provide a letter from your school confirming your eligibility if you are selected for an interview.
- Individuals are encouraged to apply regardless of academic major, discipline or field of specialization.
- Applicants must demonstrate work and/or volunteer experience in social, economic or public policy; urban affairs; government services; and/or the management of complex organizations.
- 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.
- Individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and would like to be considered for employment in Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Part 5, Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Section D as a result of their advanced post-secondary education in a profession set out in Appendix 1603.D.1, must be engaged in that specific profession to work in Canada. Please note that the Toronto Urban Fellows Program does not meet the requirements of NAFTA 1603.D.1.
- Committed to employment equity, the City of Toronto encourages applications from Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority groups and women.
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
BA(Hons), University of King’s College, MScPl, University of Toronto
Aviva has a multidisciplinary background in community engagement, community development, urban planning, project management, and research. Aviva has previously held positions with a number of non-profits, including the New York-based Participatory Budgeting Project, which facilitates public budgeting processes across North America. Most recently, Aviva worked as a planner and project manager with Urban Strategies, and urban design and planning consultancy based in Toronto. In this capacity, Aviva managed complex projects involving visioning, public engagement, research design, data analysis, and policy research and development, for both public and private sector clients.
BSSc, University of Ottawa; MPP, University of Toronto
Alexander is Master of Public Policy graduate who most recently worked as a Research Analyst for a national small business advocacy organization. Alexander has experience in multiple disciplines, including economics, regulatory affairs and stakeholder management. Alexander held numerous internship roles with the federal and Ontario government and contributed to policy research in areas such as environmental affairs, automotive policy and red tape reduction. Alexander’s current professional focus involves business process improvement and optimizing service delivery.
Honours B.Com., McMaster University, MPP, University of Toronto, CPA, CMA
Stella is a public policy professional who has held a range of positions at all three levels of government. Stella most recently worked as an economist at a provincial ministry, contributing to research and analysis, stakeholder management, and program delivery to support policy initiatives and decision-making. Stella lent her expertise to help shape infrastructure policy, municipal funding programs, and financial sustainability and governance issues. Stella’s work is currently focused on business process improvement to drive efficiencies and modernize the City’s service delivery model.
HBA&Sc, McMaster University, MScPl, University of Toronto
Prior to joining the Urban Fellows program, Chris worked as a planning consultant on land use, transportation, urban design and cultural planning projects in Toronto and the GTHA. At R.E. Millward + Associates, Chris led research and policy work on the King Spadina Cultural Spaces Retention Study, contributed to multidisciplinary planning studies, including the Bloor West Village Avenue Study in Toronto and Brampton’s Queen Street Rapid Transit Master Plan, and assisted with several development projects for private and institutional clients. Before that, Chris taught high school students about urban planning and design at the SHAD summer program at Université Laval and was a research assistant at the University of Toronto. Chris’s first rotation is with the Waterfront Secretariat in City Planning, supporting the City’s engagement with Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto as they produce a Master Innovation and Development Plan for Quayside in Toronto’s East Bayfront.
BA (Hons), University of Toronto; Master of Industrial Relations & Human Resources, MIRHR, University of Toronto
Prior to joining the Urban Fellows program, Souleik worked as a researcher with the MasterCard Foundation’s Strategy and Learning team and worked closely with senior managers to support the Foundation’s strategy of equipping African youth for meaningful work. Souleik focused on a range of different areas including research, advocacy, policy and communications while working in the office of City Councillor Gord Perks. Souleik was also a Researcher and Outreach Worker on St. Stephen’s Community House’s, Youth Unemployment Research Project. Through advocacy work, Souleik has engaged and advised various orders of government on youth unemployment issues.
BA (Hons), McGill University; MSc (Dist), University College London
Shannon is a community development planner and urban designer who works at the intersection of urban theory and design practice. Shannon holds a BA (Hons) from McGill University in International Development Studies and Economics as well as an MSc (Dist) from the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, in Building and Urban Design in Development. Shannon specializes in participatory planning, community engagement and urban design strategy and is passionate about using design-led interventions to create human-centred solutions for the built environment that are reflective of the surrounding community. Shannon has nearly a decade of experience working with citizen groups, local governments and NGO’s in North America, West Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.
MSW, University of Windsor; HBA, University of Toronto
Zuleida’s professional background has been working within the non-profit sector on matters impacting communities and members who reside within them. The themes of Zuleida’s work centered on factors related to socioeconomic status and the impact on the well-being of children, youth and adults belonging to various communities. Within the roles Zuleida interpreted policy to inform practice; conducted evaluations on tools, programs and processes; developed and led stakeholder engagement; and project managed quantitative and qualitative research. Becoming a Toronto Urban Fellow, Research Associate is a culmination of her lifelong passion for public service and dream to support local communities from a municipal level by evaluating practices, performance and developing policy from a holistic, intersectional and evidence-based perspective.
PhD, University of Calgary; MA (with Distinction), Universidade Federal de Pernambuco-UFPE, Brazil; BA, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco-UFPE, Brazil
In addition to her PhD in Political Science with a focus on Comparative Politics, Mariana holds a BA in Economics and an MA with Distinction in Political Science. She has over 13 years of experience with research on socio-economic themes combining statistical and qualitative methods. Her research & analytical skills have been recognized with over eight awards and scholarships, including “Best Political Science Doctoral Dissertation (2016-2017)”. Passionate about social affairs, Mariana has also been an active contributor on issues concerning social, systemic and economic marginalization; this has included roles focused on immigrants, refugees, and individuals experiencing homelessness.
MRM (Planning), Simon Fraser University; BSc (Hons), Queen’s University
Sinead is an outcome-driven sustainability strategist with expertise driving impact at the intersection of human and environmental health in cities. Before becoming an Urban Fellow, Sinead was a senior policy and planning analyst at Metro Vancouver where she developed strategic plans and advised senior management and politicians on issues related to climate resilience, ecological health and sustainable development. Prior to Metro Vancouver, Sinead worked at the District of North Vancouver as an adaptation policy planner and led the corporate-wide planning process to develop the District’s first Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. As an Urban Fellow, Sinead looks forward to collaborating across the City to develop innovative solutions to some of Toronto’s most complex challenges.
MPP, University of Toronto
Oren joins the City of Toronto as an Urban Fellow following positions as a policy advisor in the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Oren is seeking to contribute to transformative policy development and service delivery with a focus on collaboration and the application of design thinking principles to public sector programs. Oren is driven by a range of social policy issues, and the desire to build meaningful relationships both personally and professionally.
BA, Queen’s University; MLA, University of Toronto, OALA (Associate)
Robert Patterson joins the Urban Fellows Program from the City of London, where he worked as a site development planner leading the municipal review process for a number of high-profile development projects. While at the City of London, Robert also served on London’s Cycling Advisory Committee, and the Executive Committee of the Cities U5 Employee Resource Group, where he worked with Human Resources to assist in a revitalizing the new employee orientation process. A trained Landscape Architect with degrees from Queen’s University and a Masters from the University of Toronto, Robert has worked on projects in the Middle East, and at the City of Mississauga as an Intern Urban Designer. Able to see the details and the big picture, Robert is excited by the opportunity of the TUF program to utilize his design thinking background to work pragmatically and collaboratively on pressing public policy and governance questions.
BPHE, University of Toronto; MSc., University of Toronto
Urooj has an academic background in qualitative research focused on equity, inclusion and anti-racism. Her Master’s thesis focuses on women’s access to sport and recreation with an analysis of dominant systems of power. Professionally, she has worked in the non-profit sector on projects addressing issues impacting women, immigrants and youth.
HBSc Cell & Molecular Biology Co-op, University of Toronto; MSc Public Health, University of Alberta
Tharsini Sivananthajothy is a public health professional with a passion for creating healthy public policy rooted in equity. Through her graduate training and accompanying work experiences, Tharsini developed strong skill-sets in qualitative and quantitative research methods, data analysis and communicating with diverse academic and lay audiences. Tharsini’s academic training is complemented by over 5+ years of equity-driven community development experiences, including leading a community-based health promotion organization that works with youth facing high-risk barriers and ensuring the voices of marginalized youth and communities were heard in municipal policies relating to poverty reduction, and policing. In recognition of her service to the Edmonton community, Tharsini received both the provincial Graduate Citizenship Award and has been named one of Alberta’s “Top 30 Under 30” by the Alberta Council of Global Cooperation.
MPl, Ryerson University; MES, University of Western Ontario; BA, University of Guelph
Josh is a passionate city builder and community advocate with a professional background in policy analysis, project management and civic engagement. Josh is joining the Toronto Urban Fellows program from Ryerson University where he recently completed a Masters of Planning. Previous to Ryerson, Josh worked in Ontario’s environmental not-for-profit sector as a program manager at Ontario Nature.