FROM HOPE TO OPPORTUNITY
At COSTI, we believe that refugees who receive individualized settlement interventions early when they first arrive in Canada develop a greater sense of security, well-being and opportunity, and ultimately contribute to a more harmonious and just society.
Our priority in 2015/16 was to deliver effective settlement services to our immigrant and refugee clients and enhance our support services, so that we would be better prepared to provide intensive case management and counselling services to Syrian refugees arriving in the greater Toronto area. An example of this is the expansion of services delivered through our Client Support Services, enabling us to help Syrian newcomers with their resettlement needs including employment and mental health services.
Khaled Abdulwahed arrived in Canada the winter of 2016. He had fled from Syria to Lebanon three years earlier. The war in Syria and the threat that something terrible would happen to him because of his political activism left him with little or no choice, he had to leave. While Khaled was presented with a number of options for relocation, he wanted to come to Canada where he believed
that as a young adult of 22, a good education, opportunities for personal growth and a happy life were attainable.
Counsellors from COSTI’s two key services involved in the Syrian Refugee Initiative, the Resettlement Assistance Program and Client Support Services were involved in welcoming over 1,900 Syrian refugees in four months. Khaled was one of the newcomers COSTI helped, along with the support of countless community groups and organizations.
Khaled Abdulwahed and Lana Qadoumi
Syrian Newcomer. Attending English classes. Pursuing employment and a University education.
“When I first arrived in Canada, I felt safe, happy and excited to start my English classes. And now? Now I’m already looking for employment and feel confident because I know the city of Toronto much better so I’m much more comfortable travelling throughout the city alone. I’ve become friends with people who are from countries all around the world, and am more accepting of people from different cultures because of my new friendships and understanding. The biggest struggle for me is being alone and no to having my family with me to support me.”
Lana Qadoumi, Client Support Services Support Worker and volunteer with the Syrian Canadian Foundation, connected with Khaled well before he found his first home in Canada, providing him with information on services and activities available to him. “He has a lot of potential. He is enrolled in English language classes and is looking forward to the future, pursuing university studies. I initially helped him find his first home, through the generosity of two women willing to share their accommodations with him. I continue to connect with him and check-in to make sure that he has everything he needs and that he is still on track with his educational and employment goals.”
“Canada is the country of my dreams and I hope to achieve those dreams,” says Khaled. “For me, COSTI is like a beehive, with staff buzzing from flower to flower spreading their pollen, helping those in need flourish. From the moment I arrived I felt welcomed and cared for. I hope to be able to do the same for others one day, with my family by my side.”
Over 9,530 immigrants came to COSTI for help with their settlement needs in Ontario. They received counselling and help with accessing government services, completing government forms, finding a home, with translation and interpretation and referral services to supports in their local communities.
ART THERAPY PROGRAM
Directed to the psycho-emotional needs of refugee children and youth and offers traumatized refugee children the opportunity to express themselves through art.
CLIENT SUPPORT SERVICES
Government-assisted refugees receive life skills, assessment, information and referral, group orientation, interpretation, advocacy, completion of government documents, and supportive counselling through a case management approach.
SERVICES FOR REFUGEES
Government-assisted refugees receive temporary accommodation and a range of initial settlement services, including orientation, completing applications for essential documents (OHIP, SIN), medical referrals, housing acquisition and life skills support. Refugee Claimants are provided with temporary accommodation, settlement services and housing assistance.
Services include assessment, orientation, referral, information, interpretation, completing of government documents, advocacy, supportive counselling for new immigrants and settled immigrants.
Planning for Canada and the Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP) provide information and referral and initial orientation online to overseas clients to help them prepare for settlement and employment processes prior to arrival in Canada.
CORVETTI EDUCATION CENTRE
760 College Street | Tel: 416-534-7400
NORTH YORK CENTRE
1700 Wilson Avenue, Suite 114 | Tel: 416-244-0480
RALPH CHIODO FAMILY IMMIGRANT RECEPTION CENTRE
100 Lippincott Street | Tel: 416-922-6688
WELCOME CENTRE IMMIGRANT SERVICES, MARKHAM NORTH
8400 Woodbine Avenue, Suites 102-103 | Tel: 289-846-3645
WELCOME CENTRE IMMIGRANT SERVICES, RICHMOND HILL
9325 Yonge Street | Tel: 289-842-3124
WELCOME CENTRE IMMIGRANT SERVICES, VAUGHAN
9100 Jane Street, Building H | Tel: 905-761-1155
3100 Rutherford Road, Suite 102 | Tel: 905-669-5627