Yousaf Bilal, PCP
Toronto Transit Commission – Toronto, ON
Yousaf Bilal is a payroll professional who does not believe in wasting time. He has learned six languages, adapted to life in three countries, held several careers and in addition to working a full-time job and raising a family, he volunteers two days a week. So, he clearly hasn’t had a second to waste.
Yousaf was born in Pakistan; he moved to Spain with his family when he was a teenager. In Spain, he put his considerable language skills — he speaks Urdu, Spanish, Catalan, English, Punjabi and Hindi — to use as a foreign language analyst with the Barcelona police. After marrying in Spain, he moved to Canada in 2015 to live with his wife, where he got a job as a documentation clerk with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
“I had a thirst to learn more and saw the opportunities,” he says of his early career with the TTC. He was skilled in computer applications and software, and was drawn to payroll, so pursued his PCP. He now works as a Business Analyst for the TTC’s Payroll Service Centre.
“We are the liaisons between IT and the employees,” he says of his position, adding that his team acts as investigators and problem-solvers. “Our main job is to keep the payroll system running to ensure business continuity.”
He understands that payroll is vital to the TTC’s 16,000 employees and is key to the whole health of the business. “Our employees are working hard on Toronto’s streets. Being paid without any problems keeps them motivated and working — which keeps Toronto moving. It is not a small thing.”
Yousaf recalls that during the beginning of the pandemic, the IT system was not well-configured to support the payroll team who suddenly had to work from home. “We all had to work really hard to shift all the systems so that employees could access everything they needed and get paid. It was done on time without any payroll disruptions — it was a big accomplishment.”
One senses that Yousaf does not do things in a small way. During his spare time, he volunteers at the Mississauga Muslim Community Centre, which is run by Minhaj ul Quran International Canada, which focuses on bringing communities together. They have a food bank which feeds 115 families each week. It is a responsibility he first undertook while in Spain. His work focuses on helping the food bank, and organizing educational and community-based activities for youth. “It’s my second job,” he jokes.
“It gives you relief, peace of mind, to give back to the community,” Yousaf says, adding that his whole family is committed to volunteering with the organization. “You’ve got to keep thinking of ways to give back. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time.”