CTI Canadian Training Institute

Our mission is to enhance the effectiveness of client services delivered by criminal justice and other integrated behavioural health services through training, networking, collaborative action, undertaking of applied research demonstration projects and by facilitating personal, professional and organizational development nationwide.

Our Impact Why We Exist

CTI is committed to fostering inclusiveness, equality and lifelong learning by enhancing services which assist individuals to participate as responsible, valued and contributing members of Canadian society. In this respect, CTI assists in the development of knowledge; skills and services that reduce crime, promote active participation and ultimately contribute to healthy individuals, agencies and communities.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

During the 1970's, a general movement toward de-institutionalization created many small, community-based residential programs for clients in corrections, mental health, domestic violence etc. While this brought clients closer to the community, there was a general lack of training for staff and volunteers in these programs. John Sawdon, the founding Executive Director, sought to address this problem through the establishment of a national voluntary agency that could provide training for and support networking among community based residential programs.

CTI Canadian Training Institute, Institut Canadien De Formation Inc., began in 1981 through the delivery of pilot workshops. We were located in the Kinsmen Building at York University in those days. Our pilot workshops were focused on skills training, networking and the sharing of  information and resources. We had a provincial Training Committee comprised of 9 associations and 4 government departments and facilitated the development of the Toronto Workshop Information Group. This group delivered workshops to front line staff at the rate of $10 per day/person with workshops delivered at OISIE.

CTI was incorporated in 1984 and is registered as a charitable organization with Revenue Canada.

During the 2001/2002 fiscal year, CTI designed and field tested two new programs entitled "Supervising Crisis Workers" and "Effective Supervision in Responding to Traumatic Events."

In 2011, we partnered with PEACH to deliver a leadership program aimed at youth from the Jane/Finch community to encourage youth to stay in school while avoiding gang membership.

CTI's history includes partnering with individuals, agencies, communities and governments within Toronto and across the nation. 

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Toronto Workshop Information Group, a CTI facilitiated training committee, became the forerunner to the Toronto Hostels Training Centre
  • We designed and published the only Canadian Impact Study on the effect of locating correctional group's homes on property values, crime rate occurrences, and public attitudes.
  • We have provided training to more than 25,000 people working within criminal justice and social service agencies
  • We have carried out a Beyond the Halls transformation project within GTA schools in reducing violence and attempting to create more inclusive school environments. The survey questionnaire eventually influenced Professor Scot Wortley's approach in the C. W. Jeffries School student survey following the shooting of a young man within the school
  • We facilitated and housed the Canadian Traumatic Stress Network
  • Our Breaking the Cycle programs have been identified as best practise programs with the evaluability assessment report housed on the National Crime Prevention Centre Website
  • Our crisis intervention program is one of four programs accredited for children, adolescents and adults in Ontario

Our Programs How We Do It

We are a national non-profit charity organization with offices in Toronto and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Our purpose is to reduce criminal behaviour and violence through the direct provision of services and by addressing the social determinants of health. To accomplish this, we provide training, consulting services, create resource materials, engage in collaborative action, and undertake applied research demonstration projects. We deliver youth gang exit programs and projects such as the Breaking the Cycle Programs in the Rexdale and Scarborough areas of the GTA.

 

Breaking the Cycle: Youth Gang Exit and Ambassador Leadership program

This 28 week full-time program attempts to assist youth who are either gang involved or at risk of gang involvement to leave gang membership and engage in pro-social skills. We serve 25 youth, both males and females, between the ages of 15 to 30 years in each of our locations in Rexdale and Scarborough. Our curriculum and approach is gender specific. During the 28 weeks, youth receive intensive training to become Youth Ambassadors who in turn provide presentations to a variety of groups including elementary, secondary and university students on one of four curriculums: 1) Their life stories: how they came to be in the place they are now; 2) Gangs and You: 3) Socialization workshop entitled "Man in the Box", "Lady in the Flower" and the "heart exercise"; 4) anti bullying. Youth receive training in conflict resolution, anger and emotion management, communication skills, healthy relationships and healthy sexuality, substance abuse, Myers Briggs typology, grief and loss, trauma, Maslow's needs hierarchy, leadership skills, goal setting, employment preparation, Ropes Team Building Course, First Aid/CPR, nutrition, healthy lifestyles among others. Youth need to deliver 10 presentations, have 85% attendance, complete ropes/conflict resolution/First Aid and CPR and complete a mapping of their neighbourhoods to graduate. Staff rotate cell phones and are on call 24 hours a day to provide crisis intervention.

Funding and Program Partners

Funded by:

  • Service Canada
  • Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • City of Toronto

Partners:

  • Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • Probation and Parole: Guns and Gangs Unit
  • Toronto Police Services
  • Toronto Public Library
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Toronto Employment and Social Services
  • Toronto Crisis Response Unit
  • Dejinta Beesha Loyan Foundation
  • It's in Me
  • Toronto Parks and Recreation
  • Humber College
  • Seneca College
  • Microskills
  • Protech
  • YMCA Resource Centre
  • Tropicanca
  • Malvern Family Resource Centre
  • Agincourt Community Services
  • East Metro Youth Services
  • Central Toronto Youth Services
  • Warden Woods
  • Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Youth Justice
  • Rexdale Community Health Centre
  • Rexdale Women's Centre
  • Dr. Kirsty Duncan
  • Susan Hall Health Unit
  • Vincent Crissanti
  • African Canadian Legal Clinic

Program Impact

Since 2003, this program has served 389 youth (133 females and 256 males) and achieved a 74.6% graduation rate. We have seen numerous youth go back to school, graduate and enter the labour market. The program has impacted entire families, older brothers, younger brothers and sisters and mothers. When the program isn't running or is on hiatus awaiting approval, gun violence seems to rise in Toronto neighbourhoods. 99% of our youth are classified as visible minorities and 88% of youth attending the programs live in priority neighbourhoods.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"High rise apartment-dwellers in Toronto's inner suburbs generally view their communities and buildings as safe places to call home. Only 13.3% of tenants reported feeling unsafe walking alone to their apartment after dark, although the percentages rose for those living in high priority neighbourhoods (to 20% in Jane/Finch and 17.5% in Rexdale and Weston/Mt. Denis)."

"Street youth experience high levels of victimization in Toronto. Isolation and the lack of trustworthy adult networks mean that most street youth victimization is hidden. More than one-third (38.2%) of female street youth in the study had been victims of sexual assault. Almost half of young black women on the street (47%) were likely to have experienced sexual assault."

"Toronto youth face barriers to accessing safe and welcoming public space."

 (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2011)

Youth lack access to public space and do not have a voice in identifying what's needed. In Breaking the Cycle, youth create a voice and engage in a community mapping exercise to identify and ameliorate risk situations for children and youth to gang recruitment ideology.  In terms of diversity of leadership and the lack of visible minority populations in key positions, the BTC program has demonstrated that individuals providing services must reflect the culture and experiences of the youth being served.

Participant Vignette

"When I started Breaking the Cycle, I was a scared single mother of 4, father of my first was serving a 15 year sentence, the father of my next 3 was shot dead during a bad drug deal the same day our third child was born, I was stressed, depressed and so many murders including Jordan Manners was overwhelming, and the cops warning my eldest son that he would not make it a day after his twelfth birthday because of who his father was.

I did not think the program would help, maybe get me a job, I've been to other programs, and people promised lots, and I got nothing, so I hustled, and program changes that, together we sorted it out one thing at a time, first eating, then sleeping, then loving my kids, then all over again because they understood once was not enough, they answered my 3am calls, they encouraged me to stay in school, now I am a dental assistant, and a hair transplant surgery assistant.

My life changed slowly, my two sons now play soccer, and the neighborhood knows them for more than what their father was, and its special when the staff show up Saturday morning at my kids' soccer game and cheer, and donate ice cream to the kids, it shows they care, even when others only saw gang girl, gang kids, attracted to gang men, it's also the place where I met the father of my fifth child, who I am still with."

- Breaking the Cycle participant

Breaking the Cycle: Internship Employment Preparation program

This Internship program is 24 weeks full-time which includes six weeks of workshops, training and learning aimed at personal development and employment preparation followed by 2 nine week Internship placements on the job. We have two locations to serve 14 youth in north west Toronto and 14 youth in Scarborough. The program serves both males and females with gender specific curriculum. Our target group of youth are those who have a history of gang membership or conflict with the law and are between the ages of 16 to 30 and legally entitled to work in Canada.

Funding and Program Partners

Funded by:

  • Service Canada
  • Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • City of Toronto

Partners:

  • Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • Probation and Parole: Guns and Gangs Unit
  • Toronto Police Services
  • Toronto Public Library
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Toronto Employment and Social Services
  • Toronto Crisis Response Unit
  • Dejinta Beesha Loyan Foundation
  • It's in Me
  • Toronto Parks and Recreation
  • Humber College
  • Seneca College
  • Microskills
  • Protech
  • YMCA Resource Centre
  • Tropicanca
  • Malvern Family Resource Centre
  • Agincourt Community Services
  • East Metro Youth Services
  • Central Toronto Youth Services
  • Warden Woods
  • Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Youth Justice
  • Rexdale Community Health Centre
  • Rexdale Women's Centre
  • Dr. Kirsty Duncan
  • Susan Hall Health Unit
  • Vincent Crissanti
  • African Canadian Legal Clinic

Program Impact

The Breaking the Cycle: Internship Employment Preparation program has helped find meaningful internship placements for 78 of its 80 gang involved youth who face multiple barriers to employment including: criminal backgrounds, disruptive family situations, low education and anti-social histories.  They act as ambassadors to encourage pro-social behaviour and labour market engagement in their communities.  We receive a lot of new intake requests from young people, parents and youth serving agencies who have noted changes in the young people attending our program.  Currently our waiting list far exceeds the number of young people we have the capacity to serve.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"The immigrant unemployment rate in the Toronto Region was more than double that of Canadian-born at the end of 2010. The unemployment rate of recent immigrants (in the country five years or less) was 19.1% in Toronto in 2010."

"In 2010, the youth unemployment rate in the Toronto Region was 22.3% above the national average."

 (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2011)

The majority of youth within BTC face multiple barriers to employment. Many are products of single parent households who are first generation immigrants to Canada. Many families are underemployed and or unemployed leading to multiple part-time jobs taking them out of the household at critical times.

Participant Vignette

"I learned to work with people with different traits and personalities. I learned a lot about my own self.  For example, I thought I was dismissive but I was more on the fearful side when I started out. It helped me recognize I have trauma and how to deal with the trauma...I learned presentations: scarred hearts, man in the box, gangs and you, lady in the flower...The program teaches you to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be okay with it when presenting to people you would normally not even acknowledge. While in my placement, I definitely learned not to give up when the tough got going and got a lot of my determination from doing placements. I also learned how to coordinate and plan a fun filled event, while accomplishing getting my G1 in program, graduated the whole program and got my own place and taught others what I was taught. Overall I went through a few trials and tribulations, ups and downs but they help people like me to deal with that and it’s an awesome program. I love it and I've learned a lot from it and staff within BTC."

- R. Ramus, BTC Internship program participant

School based Leadership Programs and Modified BTC approach

CTI currently works in partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board's Monsignor Fraser Alternative schools located at Norfinch, the Annex, Midland Avenue and Isabella campus. We provide a one credit program which is gender specific and involves a lead faculty member accompanied by a Peer Leader. Youth attending are identified as at risk of dropping out or have been suspected of being gang involved. We also have partnered with the Toronto District School Board and currently provide a two credit program at the Lakeshore Collegiate Institute. This program is also aimed at youth who are at risk of dropping out of school. Both of these programs have been very successful. We have also partnered with PEACH and TDSB in the Jane/Finch area last summer to offer a leadership program for youth. This program was very successful in serving youth who traditionally would never have come together previously.

Funding and Program Partners

The program partners are:

  • The Toronto District School Board
  • The Toronto Catholic District School Board and PEACH
  • Funding is provided by both school boards and donations

Program Impact

The school leadership program has been engaging unengaged students in both the TDSB and TCDSB since 2009. Students referred to the BTC classes were previously experiencing poor attendance, low credits and were close to being expelled.  School administrators were surprised to see on average 70% of students attending BTC classes daily and a steadily growing wait list of students wanting to attend the class.  The class itself is routinely visited by students from other classes who would normally have taken this time to wander the halls.  Now they join in regular class discussions and activities before returning back to their own classrooms.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"In the Toronto Region, 16.8% of the population (15 years and over) had not completed high school in 2010."

"Latino/a students in Toronto are among those most at risk of not completing high school...about 40% of whom don't complete secondary education."

"The percentage of second generation Canadians aged 25-34, with a university degree, whose parental origin is the Caribbean is 27.8%."

(Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2011)

Participant Vignette

"At the age of 10, I completely understood my father's habits. He would drink non-stop and would not remember where he was or how he got there. Every night followed broken promises that crushed us.

At the age of 17 I gave birth to my son leaving behind what was left of my "childhood" being forced to act double my age, not just for me but for my son. I've raised my son for 4 years now by myself which is fun sometimes but stressful for the most part. Living what I thought could have been a healthy and strong relationship turned into a violent and abusive horror movie.  Pushing my feelings aside I try to ignore all my scars but at times it just blows up leaving me shattered.

In class we learned Scarred Heart, Women in the flower and just talking about who we are and the image I allow everyone to see. Our bond helped me comprehend that talking about things heals more than trying to cover up. My bond with the ladies in the classroom led to the support I have. We still keep in touch.

I've acknowledged my self-worth, who I am as an individual and where I belong. I realized that I try to look out for others but I always forget to recognize my own needs. I'd always believed that asking for help makes me weak and less of a strong woman but really it only makes me stronger."

Jahnique Myers, Monsignor Fraser College Modified BTC Class

What You Can Do

Breaking the Cycle: Youth Gang Exit and Ambassador Leadership program

Activities a donation will support

Financial Support for this program will enable us to provide:

  • A 28 to 36 week program which is aimed at ameliorating the effects of exposure to the trauma experienced by the individuals who are not ready for an internship program
  • Case Management support including access to clinical treatment and support for individuals and potentially members of their families
  • Rent support in times of crisis for participants
  • Daycare assistance on a short trem basis to deal with daycare crises
  • Participation in a Leadership Ropes course
  • Books and tuition for individuals going back to school
  • For work materials including steel-toed boots, hard hats, gloves, apparel including overalls
  • Conducting outreach into the neighbourhoods in reducing violence and in working with the Toronto Crisis Response team

Donation impact

Grants to this program will make it possible for youth to ameliorate the symptoms arising from traumatic histories and develop the skills and perceptions that lead to pro-social dreams and life without gang membership. This will lead to safer neighbourhoods while reducing gun and interpersonal violence.

Breaking the Cycle: Internship Employment Preparation program

Activities a donation will support

  • Grants will allow us to hire two more case manager/job developers to expand our reach to youth
  • We will add additional space in Scarborough or move to a larger location
  • We will provide a Ropes leadership course

Donation impact

Donations will allow us to expand the number of youth served by employing additional staff and moving into a bigger location for Scarborough.

School based Leadership Programs and Modified BTC approach

Activities a donation will support

Grants to this program will assist us to keep more youth in secondary school through hiring additional staff and working with more schools in Toronto.

Donation impact

Students, including Latino and Caribbean youth, complete credits in achieving post-secondary equivalency in Toronto."

Contact

Duncan Gillespie
Executive Director
416.778.7056 x408
Charitable Number: 886605997RR0001

Finance & Governance

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