Through active participation in local, provincial and national committees, advisory and working groups and ad hoc coalitions, we have represented the voice of immigrants, refugees and the immigrant serving sector in planning and coordination, public policy, research and public education.
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.
As the organization responsible for the resettlement of over 1,900 government-assisted Syrian refugees to Toronto, our community work expanded in order to better respond to the immediate needs of our clients. Over 45 new partnerships were developed with community health organizations, grass-roots community groups, faith-based organizations, and settlement agencies.
With the hiring of a Stakeholder Engagement Manager, COSTI collaborated with partners to deliver services to Syrian newcomers that supported their integration: housing support services; activities, events and workshops that engaged children and parents; help with introducing them to services available in their local community; and donations of food, clothing and household items.
In addition, a family-matching initiative that saw Canadian host families paired with a Syrian newcomer family was established. Host families provided invaluable support and assistance to Syrian newcomers – from the day they moved from temporary housing to their new home. They provided support in receiving furniture; setting up their households; shopping for essential items such as food, bedding etc.; escorting families to local financial institutions, grocery stores, parks and community centres; exploring nearby public transportation routes, and help in registering children in school. Having the host family by their side proved to be a great comfort to many families. The family-matching initiative continues today – welcoming and helping all recent refugee arrivals at our Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre.
In 2015/16, COSTI supported the continued development of local community groups, such as Lifeline Syria and the South Asian Women’s Rights Organization, serving Bangladeshi women in Scarborough. COSTI worked with hundreds of partner organizations to coordinate the International Student Connect Program, Problem Gambling, Orientation to Ontario Project and the Welcome Centre Immigrant Services network in York Region. Collaborative and innovative approaches to service delivery allows COSTI and key partners the opportunity to meet the needs of under-served communities and also develop internal capacity to build, enhance and sustain services.
Partnership and collaboration amongst organizations is key to the successful integration of newcomers. COSTI is represented on many community planning networks, umbrella organizations and advisory committees. We work in partnership with organizations and service providers across Ontario in the planning and delivery of services to the community.
COSTI is proud to have been a part of key organizations including the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), the Consortium of Agencies Serving Internationally-trained Persons (CASIP), Local Immigration Partnerships in Toronto, Peel and York Region, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), the Service Delivery Advisory Group to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the National Settlement Council, Canadian Council for Refugees, the Peel Syrian Refugee Settlement Support Working Group, Ryerson University Employment Round Table, and the Resettlement Adaptation Program Working Group.
COSTI currently works with over 240 planning groups, community agencies, hospitals and school boards in the delivery of services.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Governor General of Canada
PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION
is key to the successful integration and engagement of newcomers
A Path to Home: Supporting Housing Needs for Newcomers
A Path to Home: Supporting Housing Needs for Newcomers is a national pilot project funded by the government of Canada and coordinated by the YMCA. The objective of the pilot is to reduce the visible and invisible barriers faced by newcomers by providing a case management and holistic approach to services that not only assists individuals with access to housing, housing stabilization and eviction prevention but also addresses additional needs or services that individuals new to Canada may face, such as locating English classes and medical care in their community.
International Student Connect
The International Student Connect Program initiated by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade to support international students wishing to settle in Ontario, represents an innovative collaboration between settlement service providers and post secondary institutions. The program offers resources, information sessions and workshops on a variety of settlement topics. The workshops and sessions address issues such as features of life in Ontario, accessing local services, consumer awareness, housing and health care. The program is led by COSTI, in partnership with 10 settlement agencies and 14 colleges and universities in eight Ontario communities: Barrie, Brantford, Hamilton, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Waterloo.
Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF)
NFF is a province-wide public education campaign that raises awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to a woman at-risk can recognize the signs of abuse and know what actions to take in response. COSTI participated in the public awareness campaign and delivered culturally and linguistically sensitive training to community workers at participating community agencies working with immigrants and refugees.
Orientation to Ontario (O2O)
A bilingual initiative, O2O was designed to ease the transition of newcomers by providing access to standardized information about settlement in Ontario and connecting newcomers to community services upon arrival. O2O is being delivered by 19 community agencies across the province. COSTI, in partnership with College Boreal, OCASI and George Brown College, provided program development, evaluation, promotion and staff training to support the delivery of the program.
A webinar component was launched in July 2015 for the delivery of the program overseas.
COSTI provides advice and expertise on newcomer problem gambling issues to service providers who provide mental health and addiction services to ethno-cultural communities in need of culturally and linguistically appropriate treatment and services.
Welcome Centre Immigrant Services
The Welcome Centre Immigrant Services is a one-stop service in York Region, designed to guide and support immigrants through the maze of information and resources. Core services provided at each of the five Centres by a partnership of agencies include: settlement and integration services; language training and enhanced language training; accreditation and qualifications assistance, and employment supports.