Press release

Pearson’s community investment program commits $1 million in funding for programs aimed at addressing underemployment

November 20, 2019

Toronto Pearson, in collaboration with Deloitte, today announced the release of a whitepaper on the issue of underemployment. Titled “Uncovering Underemployment: Tapping into the potential of our workforce,” the whitepaper unpacks the complex issue of underemployment, a situation wherein skilled people do not occupy jobs that call on them to use the full breadth of their skills and education. The whitepaper also explores the causes of underemployment and makes recommendations on ways to address it.

“The area surrounding Pearson is the second-largest economic zone in the entire country,” says Hillary Marshall, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA). “Opportunities abound right here in our backyard, but we need to take steps to ensure that residents are working in jobs that suit their experience and level of education.”

“To ensure Canada continues to be an inclusive and prosperous place to live, we must remain committed to the success of the next generation—providing opportunities and building their skills to become the leaders of tomorrow,” says Gianni Ciufo, Partner, Civil Government & National Social Finance Leader, Deloitte Canada. “The goal of this whitepaper is to start a productive and collaborative conversation to drill down into the root causes and impacts of underemployment, as well as identify the potential tools that we can use to support all at risk populations reach their full potential.”

A number of factors can contribute to underemployment, including the unemployment rate, how many individuals in a given community have post-secondary education and the evolution of the economy as machines take over more and more jobs that have repetitive tasks as a main feature. Moreover, the whitepaper indicates that individuals and communities from certain demographic and socio-economic groups are disproportionally likely to find themselves in a state of underemployment. Women, youth, new Canadians, low income earners, persons living with disabilities, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ+ community are among those who may be at risk to be underemployed.

“Pearson welcomes people from all over the world to Canada. Moreover, we learned from our recent workforce survey, the first of its kind at any airport in Canada, that our employees not only reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our communities, but are also highly educated,” says Robyn Connelly, Director of Community Relations at the GTAA. “It’s no surprise that we feel strongly about starting a conversation about underemployment. The sustained success of Toronto Pearson and the communities we serve relies upon our community members being able to leverage the full breadth of their skills and talents.”

Just as underemployment is a complex topic, opportunities to address the issue will require the coordination of numerous entities. The whitepaper discusses a variety of actions to tackle the problem, including:

  • facilitating more engagement with employers in the design and development of programs that better maximize the use of workers skills;
  • enhancing wraparound support services in employment programs to ensure that people successfully integrate into the labour market;
  • alternative, longer-term, more flexible funding models for programs relating to underemployment; and
  • new research and metrics to both better understand the scope and scale of the problem, and also measure the effectiveness of new programs and interventions.

Toward the objective of addressing underemployment, Pearson also today announced that it will commit the Propeller Project’s 2019 funding, totalling $1 million, specifically on the opportunities for progress identified in the whitepaper. A call for submissions is currently open.

To read the full whitepaper and to learn more about the Propeller Project’s call for funding submissions, please visit

About the Greater Toronto Airports Authority

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport. The GTAA’s vision is to make Toronto Pearson the best airport in the world. Towards this objective, the GTAA focuses on ensuring the safety and security of passengers and airport employees, enhancing the passenger experience and supporting the success of its airline partners. Toronto Pearson served more than 49.5 million passengers in 2018, making it Canada's busiest airport. With 163 international routes, Toronto Pearson is also North America’s most internationally connected airport. For more information, please visit Toronto Pearson on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. To learn more about how Deloitte’s approximately 264,000 professionals—14,000 of whom are part of the Canadian firm—make an impact that matters, please connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.


GTAA Media Office | | (416) 776-3709

Share this page