COSTI’s over-arching goal is to create conditions that enable immigrants and vulnerable populations to become valuable and contributing members of society. COSTI’s leadership team works to promote public policies that facilitate the integration of immigrants and support their communities to build internal leadership and capacity.
COSTI provides educational, social, and employment services to help all immigrants in the Toronto area attain self-sufficiency in Canadian society. COSTI, founded by the Italian community to meet a shortage of services for immigrants in the post war era, is today a multicultural agency that works with all immigrant communities having a shortage of established services.
Responding to the needs of
Imad El Hasan considers himself one of the lucky ones, coming from a nightmare, to experiencing a dream-like life here in Canada, unlike many of his Syrian friends in Turkey who tragically died while attempting to cross the sea. Many times during the day, he stops and thinks that someone is going to wake him up and tell him that everything has been a dream and that he is back in Turkey, experiencing hardship and a limited future with no opportunities. Imad, his wife Hanan and their four children call Mississauga their home now and are excited about their future in Canada.
“My family and I are adapting well to Canada and Mississauga. My children are going to school, learning English and making new friends, while my wife and I attend English classes and also volunteer in the community when time allows. As a professional who worked in real estate and construction in Syria, I understand that learning English is important for me in order to find employment in the same field here in Canada. It’s also important to be able to speak English to help with every day tasks, like going to the bank or shopping at the local grocery store.
We have had so much help from community groups and COSTI since we first arrived in the winter of 2016. Before we began studying English, Arabic-speaking employees at COSTI and community volunteers were able to help us settle in our new home and register our children for school and introduce us to different shops and activities in the community. Mirna El Sabbagh helped us with our day-to-day needs and connected us to community groups that we could turn to for help. She still continues to visit and help us, even when it is not part of her job.
We have made learning English a priority. Today, as we learn more and more English, we have become more independent and rely less on COSTI staff and community groups to help us with our day-to-day activities. We are adapting and integrating well. In fact, I am studying for my driver’s license and my wife Hanan already has her food handling certification, and works once a week at the Newcomer Kitchen in Toronto, sometimes taking public transit from our home in Mississauga to downtown Toronto all by herself.
A year from now, I hope to be fluent in English and working in a job that suits my profession, or where I can be productive, not just working in a ‘survival job.’ My wife hopes for the same. But my biggest hope for the future is to see my children happy and for my youngest daughter to sleep peacefully through the night because she feels safe in her new home in Canada, no longer experiencing nightmares that have her screaming and yelling in her sleep.”
Syrian newcomer Imad El Hasan, his wife Hanan and their four children. Attends English classes. Studying for his driver’s licence. Living a dream.
Last year COSTI helped over 4,700 newcomers integrate faster by exploring new learning models and program features that help newcomers to develop the English language skills necessary to secure employment and settle successfully in Canada. In York Region, the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program focused on specialized skills such as pronunciation, every day conversation, grammar and writing, and language for work.
Our Enhanced Language Training Program (ELT) continued to develop and standardize materials and procedures and developed stronger connections with employers in order to enhance placement opportunities for Internationally Trained Individuals.
Many newcomers understand that it is very important to speak English so they can effectively go about their daily activities and advocate on behalf of their children and themselves. Our goal is to offer programs and services that help newcomers feel engaged and part of the community.
Over 74% of clients who graduated from the Enhanced Language Training Program or studied English at COSTI in 2015/16 have a college, university, or post-graduate degree.
The Housing Program provides meaningful volunteer work experience, mentoring and workplace training to people who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless in an effort to increase their housing and employment opportunities.
A Breakdown of our
Partnership and collaboration amongst organizations is key to the successful integration of newcomers. We work in partnership with organizations and service providers across Ontario in the planning and delivery of services to the community.
- Community Agencies and Organizations
- Inter-agency Planning Groups, Advisory Groups & Local Service Planning Coordination Groups
- Colleges and Universities
- School Boards
Over 10,000 adults and youth came to COSTI looking for employment, retraining or advancement in education.
Over 1,043 youth were given a new direction away from street life through our mentoring and youth-at-risk programs.
Over 9,350 immigrants came to COSTI for help with their settlement needs in Ontario.
DONORS & CONTRIBUTORS
A note of appreciation and thanks to the following donors and contributors for
their significant support of COSTI and its services.
Corporation of City of Vaughan
Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada
Brands for Canada
Gedasa Investment Inc.
IC Savings (Italian Canadian Savings & Credit Union)
Bellissimo Law Group
Davies Spina Falquez LLP
Rich Products of Canada Ltd.
The BLG Foundation
Villa Charities Columbus Centre
Zodiac Developments Inc.
Convoy Logistics Providers
Direct Buy of Toronto North
Lucky Strike Lanes
Morris & Company Inc.
Optimal Assesments & Consulting Inc.
Royal LePage (Your Community Realty)
Trans I.D. Services
Dolce Publishing Inc.
Marjut and Kari Tap Nousiainen
Margaret Van Every
Lydell & Ann Andree Wiebe
David E. Boyce
Tom and Jane Catcher
CUPE 3902, University of Toronto Education Workers
Edgar D’ Souza
HUB International Sinclair Cockburn
WES – World Education Services
Anne Marie Clune
Maria De Fatima DeSousa
Tracy L. Ferencz
GMCR Canada Holding Inc.
Gusto International Foods Inc.
Oca Nera Ristorante
Norbina Silva Remedios Simbulan
Elisa R. Suppa