Opposition leader John Tory slammed the provincial Liberals Saturday after a job applicant received an email containing a slur from the government's cabinet office.

"The highest office, Premier McGuinty's office, making slurs is not acceptable," Tory said.

Evon Reid couldn't believe his eyes when he opened an email from the cabinet office.

"This is the ghetto dude that I spoke to before," was written in the email, sent to the University of Toronto honours student from the person handling his job application.

"Ghetto dude? It means I'm black. It's very insulting," the 22-year-old told the Toronto Star Friday. "It's still pretty shocking to me."

Tory said the comment shows McGuinty's staff is discouraging people looking for work.

"I hear all the time from kids from the black community and kids from challenged neighbourhoods in this city who say they have trouble getting a job," Tory said.

Reid said the email explains why he hasn't gotten a response after missing a call on July 10 from the cabinet office.

"Based on my resume I deserved to be called, but I was not worthy of being called back once they heard my mother's voice and my voice," Reid told the Star.

"She has a Jamaican accent and it's about the way I talk. There's a nuance."

According to the acting team leader in the cabinet office Aileen Siu, who sent the email, it was never intended for Reid.

Siu said she was "multi-tasking" Thursday when she hit the wrong button and copied Reid on an email she was sending to a job-search colleague.

"It wasn't directed at Evon at all. That was internal ... It didn't have anything to do with any of the applicants," said the recent University of Toronto political science graduate.

The 26-year-old said the email didn't refer to anyone "outside my circle of friends."

Siu acknowledged the term is negative but said, "I don't even know what nationality he is, right?" She added she's of Asian descent and doesn't want anyone to think she makes racially based judgments.

The manager of Siu's department termed the email "totally inappropriate ... a complete error in judgment" and said he'd left a message of apology late yesterday on Reid's voice mail, the Star reported.

Tory is calling for the staff to undergo training to avoid similar incidents in the future.

"They should reinstate this person on the list of candidates and take some sensitivity training," Tory said.

According to Siu, Reid still has a shot at the position.

"A very challenging and interesting position which is a critical part of day-to-day media monitoring and analysis for the Government of Ontario," said the posting.

The work would be "for use by senior levels of government ... (applicant must) write high-level summaries of important issues and events ... (working in) the most technologically advanced and comprehensive media operation in Canada."