Covid-19 Trainee Relief Fund - Building Up

For those of you that do not already know, Building Up is a non-profit contractor and pre-apprenticeship training program that works with marginalized individuals facing significant barriers to employment. 

We complete renovation projects in affordable housing buildings to offer training and employment to community members looking to turn their lives around. We offer opportunities to people who are homeless, newcomers, people with disabilities, and others facing barriers to employment in the trades.  

Since launching five years ago, we've provided paid training and employment to over 300 vulnerable people -- over 80% of whom have gone on to full-time, sustainable careers in the trades. We’ve won multiple awards for our work, and we’ve helped launch other similar social enterprises in different cities across Canada. 

COVID-19 has thrown us off course. More importantly, it has thrown the people we aim to serve off course. 

In the construction industry, onsite workers cannot work from home, and as a non-profit social enterprise, we simply do not have the funds to continue to pay our hardworking trainees at a time where we have no work to give them.

Due to the crisis, we’ve had to temporarily lay off 50 team members and that number is growing. This is putting them in significant financial vulnerability, including the risk of homelesness. Up until yesterday, these Torontonians were rebuilding their lives while greening the city through energy-efficient projects. Today, many of them face considerable financial precarity.

We’re doing everything we can to support our trainees through this difficult time, including supporting them to get onto Employment Insurance, and helping them gain access to a variety of social services. In addition, our management team and many of our staff members have also personally donated funds to support the trainees. 

Unfortunately, we know that this is not going to be enough to avoid major disruptions to their lives. For minimum wage earners like many of our trainees, Employment Insurance only covers up to 55% of insurable income. Torontonians know that it’s tough to survive in the city on minimum wage -- let alone 55% of $14/hour. 

That’s why today, we’re asking our community to help our trainees through this challenging time. 

We’re working to raise $100,000, which will go directly to trainees and graduates who have lost work as a result of the pandemic. While it might not seem like much, the amount we raise could be the difference between our trainees having enough for food for their families, and the capacity to care for sick family members.

Please consider donating to support our trainees. And for those of you who are on salary throughout this crisis, we encourage you to consider offering a portion of your monthly paycheque to support those who don't have this level of security.  All the funds raised will be distributed evenly amongst our trainees. 

We know that many members of our broader community are also struggling during this difficult time. We are very grateful for any support you are able to offer. 

Please share this fundraiser with your community.


  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 1 d
  • ashley mathew 
    • $150 
    • 16 d
  • Eric Richmond 
    • $50 
    • 20 d
  • Veronica Reyes 
    • $10 
    • 28 d
  • Nancylee Dow 
    • $10 
    • 28 d
See all


Friends of Building Up 
York, ON
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