John Howard Society of Toronto

Welcome to the John Howard Society of Toronto.

We provide programs to individuals who have been in conflict with the law or those at risk of.  Our goal is to make Toronto safer through programs that focus on crime prevention, intervention and reintegration.  We have four offices in the Toronto area (Eglinton West, Danforth, Scarborough and South Etobicoke).  We provide New Beginnings!

View the John Howard Society of Toronto Accessibility Statement (AODA)




A Second Chance is all it Takes



The job market can be a though place for anyone. Imagine looking for a job with a criminal history. So many great employees are over looked because of there past instead of given a future.



JHST – Reintegration Centre – The Other Side of the Road


The Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is a maximum security jail that opened January 27, 2014 in South Etobicoke. At capacity is will house 1,620 male inmates. More than 180 men will be released from the jail each week and 33-44% will be homeless. Mental health and substance use issues are also prevalent among those released from jails which may present significant hurdles for local social and emergency service providers. In the communities surrounding the jail, there is a lack of affordable housing while both men’s shelters and addiction treatment centres are non-existent. In general, social services and resources are deficient in the area and there are concerns about the ability of the existing programs to manage the large number of high needs prison releasees. Our solution has been the South Etobicoke Reintegration Centre, or, the “RC”. The RC is a triage and referral site for newly released individuals leaving the Toronto South Detention Centre who require assistance to transition into the community. Based loosely on the United Way’s “hub” model, the John Howard Society’s staff, peers and partners offer a one-stop-shop, judgement-free environment to help men to connect with the systems and support services across the City of Toronto that they need. Accompaniment and community support is also provided by peers (people who have lived experience with the correctional system as well as substance use). RC staff and peers also provide harm reduction education and tools in an effort to prevent overdoses. Clothing, snacks, coffee, access to telephones, and also made available at the RC. Our current on-site partners include the African Canadian Legal Clinic, Margaret’s, Cota and F.E.A.T.


The Robb Nash Project visits the RC!

The Robb Nash Project ( gave the most amazing and inspiring performance for some of the inmates, staff, and representatives from John Howard Society of Toronto. We were so grateful for the chance to share this experience at the TSDC today. Thank-you to ‎Jonny Holliday, Bryan Beach and of course, Robb Nash for your visit afterwards to the John Howard Society of Toronto’s Reintegration Centre. It meant a lot. Please stop by any of our sites the next time you find yourselves in Toronto!


Amalgamation: A Success!

The John Howard Society of Toronto is pleased to announce that following a merger with St. Leonard’s Society of Toronto, it now stands as one of the largest local providers of community correctional services and programs.

 TORONTO- “We are confident that our enhanced capacity will better serve people who are and who have been in conflict with the law.  Together, we can make communities safer and improve the outcomes of those we help.  I am extremely proud of the work being done at the new John Howard Society of Toronto and I am honored to lead this team as we consolidate, support and expand our programs”, said Sonya Spencer, the John Howard Society of Toronto’s new Executive Director.

Leaders in correctional programming and related services, the new John Howard Society of Toronto boasts over 80 years of experience in the Greater Toronto Area with strong legacies and a foundation built through both John Howard and St. Leonard’s Society.

A statement from The Board of Director’s President, Gus Lyn-Piluso, thanked outgoing Director Greg Rogers for his role in helping to catalyze the merger to make it reality.  He also expressed a sincere gratitude to all of our stakeholders, clients, and employees for their patience and support.  He said, “This is truly an exciting time in correctional programming.   Together, we eagerly await what we know will be the positive results of the synergies of this amalgamation which will ultimately provide a full continuum of services in the support of safe and healthy communities”.

The team at the newly amalgamated John Howard Society of Toronto has the ability to champion important change by leveraging new partnerships in developing a full spectrum of services, including innovative and creative programs for our clients, while reducing costs in the long-term.

For more information contact Sonya Spencer, Executive Director at  or (416) 925-4386 ext. 224



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