Together Project
Resources
Photo by Lisa Kannako

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Helpful resources that Welcome Group volunteers can share with newcomer ugee 613
ugees. Regularly updated with the latest programs, events and more!

Volunteer Training Guide

A guide to provide an overview of how Welcome Group volunteers can provide refugee newcomers with effective social support during a six-month match.

Education Support Guide

A guide to help volunteers empower newcomer parents and guardians to understand the Canadian school system, meet support staff, and learn about an array of helpful resources.

Language Practice Guide

A guide based on experiences of Welcome Group volunteers and tips from professional language tutors to help volunteers assist newcomer refugees with language practice.

Welcome

The first manual in the series is designed to give volunteers a broad, comprehensive overview of volunteering with refugee newcomers, including understanding refugee resettlement, the role of volunteers in integration, understanding the settlement sector, and managing expectations.

Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants

This manual empowers volunteers with an overview of the knowledge and tools most useful in providing social support to refugee claimants. The manual is divided into four sections: 1) the refugee claimant journey and the volunteer role 2) concepts of voluntary and humanitarian work 3) managing expectations and 4) how the program works.

Connect

The second manual was designed to support Welcome Group volunteers in helping connect refugee newcomers with available services for the first steps in their settlement and the longer journey toward integration in a way that complements the role of settlement sector staff and caseworkers.

Empower

The third manual can help guide Welcome Group volunteers in helping refugee newcomers begin the process of finding work, access training and accreditation, understand the importance of volunteerism and civic engagement, and understand basic rights and responsibilities as next steps along the journey toward long-term integration.

Belong

The fourth manual will provide information concerning the “Month 13” transition from Resettlement Assistance Program support to other forms of social assistance following the initial 12 month settlement period.

Monthly Updates

Adult Education

On November 28, November 29, and beyond, from 5-6:15, newcomer young adults can attend “Developing Life Mastery” at 761 Jane Street. This life skills and employment support program is designed to give youth aged 18-24 the knowledge and tools they need to live independently and make informed decisions about life in Canada. They can learn about cooking, money management, employment support, workers’ rights, and more. 

On December 5, DIVERSEcity, in partnership with the Canadian College of Technology and Business, will host a tuition-free 30-week Business Administration Diploma Program to help students learn about successful business practices, problem-solving, and communication skills. This program runs Monday to Thursday, from 4-9 pm, and includes 24 weeks of online training and 6 weeks of work experience. A laptop, transportation, and childcare is available. Applications are due by December 1st.

On November 23, November 30, December 7, and December 14, FCJ Refugee Centre will be hosting weekly online classes to emulate the Post-Secondary Education experience, with classes focusing on literature, social status, world events, and the evolving political climate. Available for ages 18 and above, with classes delivered in English, Uprooted U will be taking place online by a PHD candidate volunteer.

On December 1, from 5-8pm EST, participants can learn about Ontario universities. Event will be delivered online. Admission is free; register in advance.

From January 9 to March 31, 2023, St. Paul’s University will be providing sessions for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and International Educated Nurses (IENs) looking to be employed in the Canadian Healthcare system. This is offered by the National Newcomer Navigation Network. 

On November 24 and December 1, from 1-2:30pm, Muslim Children’s Aid and Support Services is delivering their Positive Parenting Program online, in partnership with TNO. Register in advance. Parents can learn about navigating behavioural issues, positive discipline strategies, and more.

On December 5th, TNG will start their latest 18-week computer and customer service training and certification program. The program offers 12 weeks of in-class training in computer skills, customer service, business communication, job searching and career planning, followed by 6 weeks of Canadian workplace experience in Office Administration, Customer Service & Sales/ Retail. This will take place at 1415 Bathurst Street, Suite 100. Register in advance.

Child and Youth Programs

On November 29 from 5-6, CCI is hosting  an online information session about the Support Ontario Youth Program for youth seeking to pursue apprenticeship training in Ottawa.

On Thursdays until November 24, Culturelink will have a program at Etobicoke’s Eatonville Public Library for newcomer youth aged 13-24 to learn videography skills for free, and to prepare a film project for a public screening. This program will run from 4:30-6:30 every Thursday. Register in advance.

Every week, CultureLink’s E3 Youth Program has free tutoring sessions for Grades 7-12. These online sessions will happen Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays between 4:00-6:00pm.

On December 1st, Empathy Squad’s sessions for volunteers aged 18-30 to learn about podcasting and to generate empathy-building dialogue will be starting. This is a 12-week online program. Register in advance.

On December 14, from 4-6, For Youth Initiative is hosting a skating field trip for newcomer youth in Toronto. Skates and snacks will be provided.

From 7pm-9pm on November 26, December 2, and beyond, the Youth Connections Cafe will take place in person at Bridlewood Mall in York Region. Newcomers aged 16-24 can learn about mental and physical health and well-being; life skills; leadership; arts and creativity; entrepreneurship; community resources and much more, and speak one-on-one to a qualified mental health professional/counsellor for free.

This fall, Ottawa-based newcomer youth can sign up for numerous free programs at OCISO: homework support, basketball programs, girls and boys’ groups, and more.

For youth in Scarborough, Strides Toronto’s Studio 2 Multimedia Program is offering a free multi-media photography course that takes place in-person at 1200 Markham Road, Suite 313 on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00. Youth aged 12-24 can learn how to take photos and edit them in Photoshop. Registration is free.

On November 23, November 30, December 7, and December 14 from 4:00-8:00pm, trans youth (16 to 29) can build life skills, support, and community at The 519 Trans Youth Mentorship Program. This is an in-person program that takes place at 519 Church Street, Toronto.

Youth aged 15-30 can attend “Opportunity Knocks”— a 5-week paid training in conflict resolution, career assessment, public speaking, and service excellence certification, with a 12-week paid work placement. This will take place in-person at the TNG Employment Training Centre, 1415 Bathurst St, Toronto.

For newcomer Arabic-speaking youth aged 13-18, Woodgreen is having a virtual book club from 4:30-5:30 this fall.

Girls aged 10-17 can sign up for a series of virtual or in-person workshops that are focused on newcomer girls. This program will run for 8 weeks, and topics may include financial literacy, social media handling, stress & emotional management, healthy living, and cooking. All topics are decided by the girls every week.

Employment

This pre-apprenticeship program is a 16 week paid training program for youth aged 18-29. It uses construction contracts and in-class training to prepare individuals facing barriers to employment for successful careers in the trades. Participants are paid $15 per hour for 12 of the 16 weeks and are required to be available from Monday to Friday. The next mandatory information session will be held on December 19th 2022 at 8:30am on Zoom.

On November 24, from 11-3, at the North York Memorial Hall, Canada Job Expo is holding an in-person job fair. This expo brings employers, organizations and educational institutions together with skilled workers and students for a day of learning and employment opportunities. There are free optional workshops available. Admission is free; register in advance. 

Created with the Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA) and George Brown College’s Continuing Education Technology and Trades Department, the “Building Code Skills Development Program” provides graduates with credits which may be transferable to post-secondary or Continuing Education construction and engineering technology programs. Designed for Internationally Trained Individuals, this is a free skills-training initiative that prepares participants to be Building Officials in the construction and public administration sectors. Next program start date: February 20, 2023.

On December 13, from 1-4 at the Ottawa Convention Centre at 55 Colonel By Drive, there will be a job fair for candidates to meet specialists in employment, career development, training, and education across Ottawa. Admission is free; register in advance.

Registration is now open for TradeLinx, twelve-week sector-specific sessions focused on pre-apprenticeship training program for those who are interested in a career in the skilled trades/construction industries. Participants need Grade 10 English and Math or equivalent.

On November 29, newcomer women can learn about resume creation and job search tips. Webinars are free and will be offered online; register in advance.

On November 29, from 9-1, participants can come to 355 Church Street, Suite 201, to learn about the multiple vacant positions available at Macaulay Child Development Centre.

On December 5, TNG Community Services will host their latest Connections program— a free 12-week in-class training in computers and customer service that includes 6 weeks of workplace experience. Register in advance. 

On November 30 and December 6, the YMCA of the National Capital Region is hosting information sessions for newcomers interested in working in trades as electricians, hairstylists, cooks, plumbers, and more. The program will include certifications, financial support to purchase tools, and a paid work placement. Learn more at the information session at the Y Employment and Newcomer Services office at 150 Isabella Street, Suite 204.

On November 29, from 11-3 at the YMCA at 180 Argyle Avenue, newcomers can connect at the YMCA with Ottawa’s community organizations as they present on trades, immigration, employment, youth support and settlement. Interpreters will be on site, and all language levels are welcome.

Health and Mental Health

On November 28, November 29, and beyond, from 6:30-7:45, newcomer young adults can learn about Canada through hands-on wokrshops and field trips through the series, “Making Canada Home!” This takes place at 761 Jane Street.

Starting Nov. 15, 2022 and running Tuesdays and Thursday evenings until Jan. 19, 2023, Culturelink is hosting free workshops for newcomer women to learn how to tell their stories on Canva and Instagram. This is for women 40 years or older, born outside of Canada, and women from African, Asian and Caribbean countries, as well as other countries with racialized communities. The program will culminate with story exhibitions at multiple City of Toronto museums, and the release of the Women of Courage book.

As part of “Mindful Mondays” programming at Dixie-Bloor Neighbourhood Centre, participants can sign up for drama, a dementia simulation, yoga and mindfulness, healing rhythms, and letter-writing to combat isolation. “Mindful Mondays” goes until December 12. All programs are in-person at 3650 Dixie Road, Mississauga, from 5:30-7pm. 

On December 1 and December 8, from 6:00-7:30pm, the 519 is holding Henna Hangs on Thursdays— a space for 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers and refugees from Arab, Southwest Asian, North African, East African, and South Asian backgrounds. This is a great way to share experiences, meet new friends, and connect with the queer newcomer community.

The Wise Self is a psychotherapy clinic based in Toronto offering services by phone and online. With their team of therapists who speak Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, and more, they serve diverse clients, and are seeking to help refugees. They provide both low-cost therapy and therapy that is covered under the Interim Federal Health program. Under the IFH, refugees are eligible for a free 1.5-hour initial assessment and 10 1-hour sessions.

Winter Clothing

GLOW (Gently Loved Outfits to Wear) is Toronto’s largest free clothing program, offering clean, contemporary clothing in a retail-style setting. GLOW is a free service for eligible clients who can shop for quality items for the whole family by appointment. GLOW is available to low-income Toronto residents of Cedar Ridge, Heron Park, Rockcliffe-Smythe, Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Victoria Village, Taylor-Massey, and Oakridge. Those who do not live in these areas are also able to apply to access the program with a Together Project staff referral.

This Ottawa-based charity raises funds for the purchase and distribution of new, quality made snowsuits to needy children aged 15 and under. In a typical season, they distribute approximately 16,000 new snowsuits to eligible families. Check website for eligibility requirements and to book an appointment.

 

know of an Event or program that we should highlight this month? Let us know!

Resources Menu

Afghan Community Resources

An intergenerational mentorship program in Toronto that’s focused on storytelling! This unique opportunity connects adults over 55 with youth under 29 to connect over traditional Arabic, Afghan, and other storytelling practices. 

Twice a week, Toronto-based newcomers preparing for the Canadian citizenship test can get free instruction with 90-minute classes offered online. Pre-registration required.

Afghan women in Ottawa are invited to participate in English conversation circles at CCI. Sessions are an hour long, and are offered at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Sessions are free of charge.

This fund is designed to recognize high academic achievement and financial 4eed of an Afghan newcomer who is a current or former COSTI client, under the age of thirty and enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution. Applications are evaluated by the Scholarship Awards Committee. Three scholarships, up to a maximum of $3,000 are available for 2022/23.

Free mental health assistance in Toronto for refugees who speak Farsi, Dari, and Pashto. Psychotherapists work with newcomer refugees aged 5 and up to offer psychotherapy and related services to those going through Immigration and Refugee Law and other legal processes and applications.

Powered by Magnet, the Lifeline Afghanistan Job Portal provides useful resources to employers and jobseekers. Resources include detailed labour market analysis and trends, professions in demand, salary ranges and tips on how to complete a jobseeker profile, receive meaningful job opportunities and complete a successful application.

Compiled to show the national spectrum of healthcare, settlement, education and public-serving sectors that are available to Afghan newcomers, this toolkit provides many helpful resources.

Created by N4, this is a list of 34 service providers who are collaborating to support Afghan resettlement across Canada.

Skills for Change is offering specialized settlement and labour market orientation and referrals to support services for female and/or LGBTQ+ Afghan refugees by a Refugee Integration Specialist who speaks Pashto and Dari.

All over Toronto, there are many Dari and Pashto-speaking settlement workers who can support newcomers for free. They work in settlement offices, community centres, libraries, schools, and more. Our friends at the Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership compiled a helpful list of Toronto’s Afghan frontline workers.

For Afghan newcomers who speak Dari, Farsi, or Pashto, this hotline will connect them to a settlement worker who can help them find settlement services in Toronto. The Hotline Number is 416-405-5300. 

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Child and Youth Resources

With one-on-one support and group workshops for immigrant and refugee youth in Toronto, Access Alliance has many arts-based programs in theatre, photography, crafts, and more. Peer mentoring and volunteer opportunities are available. They welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ+) newcomer youth.

Youth across Toronto can virtually access career mentors, leadership opportunities, earn volunteer hours for school, create art, learn public speaking and facilitation skills, and more.

Toronto’s arts sector comes together in virtual spaces to provide free webinars for youth and adults. Arts@Home showcases Toronto’s leading arts organizations in art, dance, media, music, theatre, and more. 

In Ottawa, CCI has a wide spectrum of programs that range from homework clubs to Kids’ Corner to leadership programs and gender-specific workshops for youth. All programs are free for kids aged 6-14 and are open to permanent residents or protected persons.

Three times a year, Charlie’s Freewheels offers a free program for youth to build a bike and learn how to  repair it themselves and ride it safely. This includes 30 hours of bike mechanics education, hot vegetarian meals, a helmet, lock, front and back lights, a bell, a safety kit, and a bicycle built by and for the youth!

Serving children from birth to aged six, and children aged 6-12 attending childcare, CITYKIDS is a network of Toronto agencies that help families find early childhood programs to meet the developmental needs of their child. Referrals can be made by families, physicians, early childhood professionals, and community agency professionals.

A database consolidating virtual recreation, active living, arts and culture activities for all ages to enjoy while staying, playing, and learning at home. Sort by audience for different target groups; many activities are for all ages.

Every week, CultureLink’s E3 Youth Program has multiple free tutoring sessions for Grades 7-12. Register in advance.

In Surrey, British Columbia, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society offers RISE— a Refugee & Immigrant Specialized Experience program for newcomer youth aged 16-24 to receive settlement support, life skills, and community connections, and more. This free program is offered in Arabic, Burmese, French, and Swahili.

Adapted music lessons will offer young students with various intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities the ability to learn an instrument and discover music at their own pace while accommodating their needs.

Free programs to Ontario-based parents/caregivers and their children from birth to six years of age. At Early ON centres, families can participate in programs to strengthen adult-child relationships, support parent education, and foster healthy child development. To find the centre closest to you, click the link!

Fixtpoint’s Empathy Squad program teaches youth aged 18-30 from across Canada to create empathy-building dialogue with the purpose of amplification of community voices through podcasting. Classes are offered online and are free to attend.

High Park Nature Centre has after-school Youth Rangers Nature Clubs for newcomers aged 12-16. This is an opportunity for students to learn about nature, do stewardship activities in the park, and build community with other like-minded youth, and get volunteer hours.

Through their activities for youth aged 4-17, camps (ages 4-12), Humber Arboretum has multiple day camp opportunities for children and youth to get outside for free all year long, with summer, March Break, winter activities, and more.

Khan Academy offers free instruction in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Through virtual practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard, learners of all ages can study at their own pace. 

Virtual resources about arts and crafts, literacy activities, writing prompts and more are collected from a variety of sources and posted on this handy resource page.

From daily life to school, health, work, and immigration, this portal has a wealth of information for newcomer youth in Ontario.

With counselling available in English, Arabic, Urdu, and more, OCISO provides clinical counselling to culturally diverse youth with migration and culture-related issues. Children and Youth Counsellors provide short term counselling to immigrant and refugee children, youth and their families in a way that incorporates their culture into the therapeutic process. Services available in virtually or in-person.

Every Saturday in Ottawa, children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 can attend free Saturday classes in international languages. They are open to all students regardless of their language background and the school board they attend. Students can learn many languages, including American Sign Language, Amharic, Arabic, Dari, Pashto, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and more. There are also programs for secondary school students to learn Spanish, Russian, and more.

Free online resources for elementary and secondary students to practice math and literacy skills, and more at home. 

With social nights, homework help, career guidance, English conversation circles, and employment support for newcomer youth, Peel Multicultural Council offers a range of programs and plenty of opportunities for youth to gain volunteer hours.

In Mississauga, children aged 6-12 can attend robotics, coding, homework club, and life skills workshops for free. Children will learn about critical and creative thinking, communication, and teamwork.

With drop-in spaces for Vancouver-based queer youth (aged 14-25 and aged 10-13), a program to provide counselling, free new/used gender-affirming chest-wear for trans and gender-variant youth, and support for parents of queer youth, QMUNITY is a safe space for LGBTQ2SAI+ people and their allies.

In Ottawa’s Russell Heights area, there are free outreach and programs that support positive youth development.  There are homework clubs, employment support, leadership opportunities, civic engagement programs, and more.

Free school reports and access to important neighbourhood information are available at this portal. In Toronto, information can be searched by 140 neighbourhoods, while in other cities, information can be found by school.

  • Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) – Free Settlement Services Across Canada

Many Canadian schools and libraries have settlement workers who specialize in connecting newcomer students and families with local community services, and they often speak the predominant languages of newcomers in the area. This program is a partnership between Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and various school boards. School Settlement Workers often organize newcomer-specific orientation weeks for middle schools (Welcome Information for Newcomer – WIN) and secondary schools (Newcomer Orientation Week – NOW). Contact the local school or library to connect with a School Settlement Worker today.

2SLGBTQ youth can develop gardening skills, learn about employment resources, and more in the QT Gardening and Employment Club. Youth can “feel held through the toughest times and have fun”! Register for this weekly program in advance.

At Ottawa’s Somali Centre for Family Services, Somali counsellors are offering SNAP— free gender-specific programs for children aged 6-11 to learn self-control, problem-solving, and emotion-regulation skills.

For youth in Scarborough, Strides Toronto’s Studio 2 Multimedia Program has a free multi-media photography, film, documentary, print, portfolio development, and music/audio recording programs. 

This program is for youth aged 15-30 to get mentorship for their goals of developing community-based programming. #RisingYouth grants offer up to $1,500 for young Canadians to develop and launch projects to improve their communities.

For students in priority schools across the Greater Toronto Area, The Hammer Band is a non-profit that provides free music classes and free violins and free music classes by professional musicians.

In Toronto’s Thorncliffe neighbourhood, TNO is offering a range of free youth programming for Grades 6-12 students. They have indoor basketball, a youth lounge, a media club, free tutoring, and more.

A monthly clothing swap that takes place at Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation! Mostly geared towards women’s clothing, but with children’s clothing, as well. Participants come with 1-10 items of preloved clothing, footwear, jewelry, or accessories in good condition, and can leave with up to 10 items that they love. There are change rooms and mirrors. Entry is free but a donation of $2 is suggested. Pre-register in advance to save a spot.

Welcome to School has created comprehensive lists of community-based after-school programs and tutoring programs delivered in Toronto.

This website lists helpful information, resources, workshops and programs for newcomer parents, children and youth.

This virtual drop-in program offers personalized homework support for Toronto students between JK and Grade 7. Registration required in advance. The West Neighbourhood House Newcomer Youth Program also hosts a variety of activities such as skill-building, promoting civic engagement, and building English-language skills.

With On Your Mark (free tutoring for Spanish/Portuguese-speaking children in Grades 1-12), HIPPY (free education resources and support for newcomer parents/guardians of children entering kindergarten), and Ambassador Training for newcomer parents to help others navigate the school system, Toronto’s Working Women Community Centre provides a range of programming focused on children’s educational attainment and parent/guardian engagement.

For newcomer youth between 13-24 years old, the YMCA offers a program for leadership opportunities, public speaking training, games, homework help, field trips, and more. The program is offered both online and offline, with opportunities to join programs across the Greater Toronto Area.

For children in interested in soccer, basketball, dance, karate, swimming, and more, the YMCA has a variety of programs for children. 

Youth Assisting Youth matches newcomer/at-risk youth aged 6-15 years old with mentors aged 16-29 who are post-secondary students and young professionals. Matches last for a minimum of 1 year, 3 hours a week. Both anglophone and francophone mentors are available. Match activities include taking their youth to play table tennis, watch theatre shows, and even learn to paddle board and sail! In addition, newcomer mentees can get free admission to either the ROM or AGO for their families from Community Family Services of Ontario.

Youth Assisting Youth has a Homework Help Club for youth ages 6-15 who are attending school in Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, or York Region. Students are matched with a volunteer aged 16-29 who will deliver tutoring based on the student’s needs and interests. This program is free; register in advance.

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Employment Services

In the Women’s Business Accelerator programs and Small Business Accelerator programs, newcomers can receive training in developing business plans and other entrepreneurship essentials such as cash flow management and marketing to start or grow their business. Virtual information sessions for both programs are held regularly. Register in advance!

Every month, Toronto’s Acces Employment holds free workshops for participants interested in careers such as healthcare, finance, and the digital sector. Register in advance.

With free workshops geared towards careers in FinTech, retail, healthcare, and more, Achev has a wide range of virtual offerings for newcomers seeking employment. Many of their services are also delivered in-person in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and North York.

This 6-week program is designed for participants in Greater Vancouver with multiple barriers to employment, such as unstable housing, low literacy, limited English, mental health challenges, and much more.  Participants receive employment counselling, job readiness skills, essential skills training, occupational skills training, technology support, a $100 training completion bonus for those who complete the 6 weeks of training. After the program, participants receive up to three months of free job coaching and job placement support. 

In Ottawa, CCI has a wide spectrum of employment-related workshops for newcomers that range from starting transitional jobs to reaccreditation for foreign-trained professionals. All programs are free. 

In Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Halton Hills, the Centre for Skills Development specializes in employment assistance for newcomers.  With apprenticeship programs for adults, women, and youth, they have plenty of opportunities for newcomers to get involved in the electrical, carpentry, millwright, construction, home renovation sectors, and more.

COSTI Employment Services provides numerous free career assessments, programs for internationally-trained newcomers, and employment programs for youth. Employment centres located in Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto, and Vaughan; many workshops are currently delivered virtually. 

COSTI’s Expressway Cybersecurity Bridging program is an online training program delivered in partnership with Sheridan College to prepare internationally-trained Information Technologists for jobs in the cybersecurity sector. Individuals who qualify may receive a full tuition subsidy; conditions apply.

The CPAC-RBC Enhanced Mentorship Program aims to assist young people aged 21 to 35 in gaining knowledge of the Canadian workplace, learning job search and related soft skills, and finding professional employment through the guidance of established professionals. This is a 12-week training program that offers internship and work placement opportunities. This program is supported by RBC Royal Bank.

For permanent residents seeking free career mentorship, CultureLink connects settled immigrants with newcomers in specific sectors to help them on their Canadian job search journey for 3-6 months.

With the “Rebuilding Together” program that includes career coaching, managing stress, digital literacy, creative writing, workplace communication, and more, Dixon Hall provides a wealth of employment services in this support program for clients on Ontario Works. Participants will receive a monthly stipend during this 12-week program

Bridging programs provide job-specific classes for newcomers with international training and education who are seeking work in Ontario in certain sectors, such as nursing, engineering, information technology, financial services, and more. These opportunities help with reaccreditation, licensing, and certifications in many trades and professions.

This 6-month entrepreneurial training and funding opportunity for refugee women includes training, incubation, funding, mentorship, access to investment organizations, and a dedicated business consultant to help refugee women build a startup. Offered in partnership with Toronto’s Jumpstart Refugee Talent, this program is open to women who arrived in Canada as a refugee or have refugee status.

A refugee-led, Toronto-based organization that focuses on refugees seeking to restart their careers. Jumpstart Refugee Talent has many free, refugee-specific programs for mentorship, entrepreneurship, and more.

Toronto’s Mennonite New Life Centre offers four bridging programs: Bridge to Employment in Media and Communications (for those interested in broadcast media, digital marketing), Bridge to Employment in Services for Immigrant Populations (for those interested in becoming a settlement counsellor or employment counsellor), Bridge to Registration and Employment in Mental Health (for those interested in becoming registered psychotherapists), and Bridge for Immigrant Women Reskilling into IT Coding Professions (for women, regardless of previous education, who are interested in creating apps and websites).

British Columbia’s MOSAIC offers employment counselling, job development, hiring events, workplace tours, and other support geared towards refugees seeking careers in Canada. MOSAIC has locations throughout British Columbia, including Surrey, Vancouver, New Westminster, and more. All services are free. 

Toronto-based newcomer women can learn how to start a small food business and gain real-life  experience making and selling food.

With regular employment webinars in resume-building, interview preparations, personal finance, and LinkedIn, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto has a spectrum of supports. 

With employment readiness training sessions and one-on-one job search support geared towards newcomer refugee men, North York Community House has workplace tour opportunities, financial literacy programs, and more.

Ready to start working but don’t know where to start? The NYWC’s STEPS to Work program will help to develop an individualized path to employment through one-on-one support and an 8-part workshop series.

NPower Canada provides free training for aspiring IT Analysts, Data Analysts, and UX Designers in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Nova Scotia. Programs are developed with Google and Microsoft, and are open to participants with a high school diploma or GED. No age requirements and no prior tech knowledge needed. Participants are given laptops for the duration of the program. Applications from refugees and newcomers are encouraged.

Women can learn about job market trends in the customer service and food service sectors. Candidates will learn cash register skills, get their food handling certification, and more. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs aged 16-29 can access the free Youth Small Business Program trainings at Rise. To help Ontario youth transform business ideas into a business plan, youth can apply for 10 weeks of online skill-building and mentorship. Rise will provide laptops to those in need. The program is free to participate in, and after graduation, participants will receive a start-up grant or the aforementioned laptop. Participants may also be eligible to apply for a low-interest small business loan from Rise.

Through the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub (NEH) and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-Hub), these are two free programs for Greater Toronto Area-based newcomers and aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in gaining knowledge, experience, and support to open a business in Canada. The program supports entrepreneurs in all stages of the business cycle, offering training by industry professionals, networking and testing opportunities, and business mentorship. This is a hybrid in-person/online program; registration required in advance.

This Toronto-based centre provides employment services, youth job connections, Second Career services, and Ontario Job Creation Partnerships for refugees. They also have Connections, an 18-week training program to help newcomers on social assistance enter the Canadian workforce.

Through Toronto’s Studio 500, participants can receive two-year tuition-free training for a hairstyling career. Participants can become fully certified and licensed hairstylists with these accredited pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. This training is approved by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. Participants must have a high-school diploma, SIN number, and valid work permit, and CLB 5. The program will be offered in a combination of virtual and in-person classes.

For newcomer youth in Scarborough, there are free in-person services at the Toronto District School Board offering youth programs including homework clubs, one-on-one tutoring, youth-focused information sessions, employment and volunteer opportunities, and more. 

ADaPT is a skills development and work placement program aimed at preparing post-secondary graduates and students in their final semester for a changing world of work. This program is open to non-Toronto Metropolitan University students and alumni. ADaPT meets employer needs and provides post-secondary graduates with 70+ hours of no-cost training on in-demand skills through professional and digital workshops and alternative pathways to meaningful careers for populations who are currently under-represented in the workforce.

Through TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council), internationally-trained newcomers can apply to have a mentor who works in their field. Newcomers must have limited or no Canadian work experience in their profession, and be open to 18 weeks of free mentorship for 1.5 hours a week. This program is open to newcomers throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

This Ottawa-based centre provides employment services for newcomers, covering resumes, cover letters, job search techniques, career exploration, and job interview preparation, and more. Services available in French and English.

WES evaluates academic credentials from more than 48,000 institutions in 203 countries and territories around the world. Their industry-standard reports are recognized by thousands of academic institutions, licensing bodies, and employers throughout Canada. Through the WES Gateway program, refugees and displaced persons with limited proof of academic achievements may be eligible for an alternative credential assessment.

West Toronto’s many employment programs and services all in one comprehensive flyer bank. 

The Capability Program is a free employment intiative designed to support clients with disabilities (self-identified included) prepare for and secure a paid 12-week job placement. Clients benefit from 5 weeks of pre-employment job readiness training /workshops, First Aid & CPR, food handlings certification, smart serve training based on individual client needs, a 12-week paid job placement, and transportation, interview & work clothing supports. 

With free employment webinars, one-on-one assessments, referrals to government benefits, and more, the YMCA Newcomer Information Centre has career services for both newcomer adults and youth. 

In Ottawa, the YMCA is offering “Power of Trades”— 6 weeks of free pre-employment training, co-op placement, and industry-specific healthy & safety training certifications for aspiring electricians, plumbers, mechanics, welders, hairstylists, cooks, bakers, and more. To learn if this program is right for you, attend a free information session; see link for dates. 

At York University, under the Internationally-Educated Professionals Certificate Programs, newcomers can pursue a certificate in business, information technology, and more, with specialized streams including accounting, finance, and marketing. Bursaries and funding options available. Students can access weekly English language classes and job search support including career coaching, alumni mentoring, networking, and employment workshops for free. Certificate students have the opportunity to gain a new credential from a Canadian university and courses toward professional accreditation.

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English and French Language Support

This eight-week course is for Toronto-based newcomers who want to pursue a career in the food industry. With sector-specific language training, a food handler certification, First Aid, CPR, WHMIS, and free childminding and TTC support, this program helps newcomers with basic English skills enter food-related careers while learning English for free.

For adults in Surrey who want to learn basic English reading and writing, DIVERSEcity has basic classes called the Community Adult Literacy free Program (CALP). This is for candidates who want to work towards passing language tests, finding employment, and more. Free childminding is provided. 

For adult learners in Surrey who need additional support in language programs, and more flexibility than a traditional LINC class would provide, DIVERSEcity has a trauma-informed English program called the LINC Assistance and Readiness Class (LARC) to help clients learn language skills as they transition to a LINC program.

In Ottawa, English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community (ELTOC) provides individual and accessible home-based LINC tutoring to newcomers who cannot attend regular ESL classes due to caregiving, work, school, special needs, and more. Newcomers are matched with volunteers who are trained, mentored and supported by ESL Education Counsellors who are TESL/OCELT certified. The program is offered in the learners’ homes, either in-person or online, based on a mutually convenient schedule, during day, evenings or on weekends.

Every week, a certified IELTS examiner from Toronto-based English Testing Canada holds free online classes for IELTS preparation for anyone around the world. The one-hour classes cover all aspects of IELTS: Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Listening. 

Service providers all over Canada provide job-specific language training for newcomers seeking to continue their careers in sectors like accounting, finance, teaching, health care, IT, office administration, customer service, and more.

In Surrey, British Columbia, there are numerous ways to learn English through programs like LINC, adult literacy programs, conversation circles, and more. See this list for many options!

Along with employment and settlement assistance, Halton Multicultural Council has a number of free language classes, ranging from English conversation circles for newcomers, for Ukrainians, for seniors, and French conversations circles, too. Childcare is provided on-site for free. Offices are in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, and Georgetown.

In Ottawa, newcomers can access free French courses following an assessment by the Language Assessment and Resource Centre (LARC-CELO). Funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, these courses have regular intakes and are taught by certified teachers. On-site childminding is provided for free during the course.

Throughout Canada, English courses are provided for free. Funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, these courses are taught by certified teachers and have regular intakes. Before signing up for a course, participants must have an assessment to determine which language level is right for them. LINC provides childminding free of charge during the course.

For vulnerable newcomers experiencing multiple barriers when trying to learn English, such as emotional trauma, mental health issues, or low literacy, Toronto-based Mennonite New Life Centre provides free English classes called Language Instruction Giving Hope to Trauma Survivors (LIGHTS). With small-group sessions delivered for 1 hour a day, 3 days a week, this alternative language program teaches functional English for newcomers to communicate in real-life situations. 

Free-in person English classes are offered at Mennonite New Life Centre’s North York location at the intersection of Keele and Wilson. Free childminding will be provided on site for children aged 6 months to 5 years old.

Future Care is a program designed to support clients’ potential entry into a career as a Home Support Worker (HSW), a college program for Personal Support Workers (PSW) and other health-care-focused college programs. This is a free program that provides participants with English language and preparatory skills.

For summer 2022, the English Conversation Circles are available virtually. These are opportunities for newcomers to practice English with other language learners and native English speakers, and are completely free of charge.

With small virtual ESL classes of usually 2 or 3 students, Project Abraham offers free English classes for participants aged 18+ with a Permanent Resident number. For newcomers who have been sick, or have complicated work schedules, or are survivors of trauma, these classes are flexible, with customized lesson plans developed and taught by professionally qualified ESL teachers. For GTA-based newcomers in need, tablets or Chromebooks can be loaned.

One-on-one English tutoring to vulnerable newcomers who are unable to attend English classes due to a disability or chronic illness, caregiving responsibilities, lack of access to childcare, and other health and social challenges. This program is open to all newcomers and is free of charge.

The TDSB Essential Skills Upgrading (ESU) program provides free adult classes in Toronto to help learners improve their English literacy, mathematics, and computer skills. Classes are non-credit and are offered both in-person and remotely and in-person in Etobicoke, Bloor Street, Rexdale, North York and Scarborough.

Through a series of free workshops, The Shoe Project connects newcomer refugee and immigrant women with writers and performance coaches so they will be able to present their stories in public and improve their English and communication skills during the working process. This program is available in the Greater Toronto Area and in Windsor.

Libraries have so many free resources to help language learners. A library card is necessary to unlock these, so go to one of Toronto’s 100 branches or sign up for a Digital Access card. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Toronto is eligible:

ESL E-Books – online access to a spectrum of English lesson plans and activities

Mango Languages – learn English from home with interactive lesson plans

Road to IELTS – interactive English lessons and practice tests for those taking the IELTS test for higher education or professional registration

Tense Buster – free online grammar exercises

  • Websites to Learn English – Free Online Games

Here are some websites with games for newcomers to practice English. While these are great for children and youth, they’re also fun for the young-at-heart. 

ESL Scattergories

English Vocabulary Games on YouTube

Games to Learn English

British Council – Learn English: Kids

British Council – Learn English: Teens

Internationally-trained newcomer professionals in Toronto can sign up for Woodgreen’s Enhanced Language Training programs– these are sector-specific English classes focused on Finance & Accounting Program or Office Administration/Customer Service that feature lessons in business communication, Canadian workplace culture, resume building, interview practice, and more. Free on-site childminding is available.

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Financial Support

Free one-on-one support for individuals and families in Toronto who are struggling with income security and financial literacy. During tax season, Access Alliance also provides free community income tax services.

This subsidy helps Toronto-based families with the costs of licensed child care. There is a waitlist, so apply as soon as possible. Use the subsidy calculator to see an estimate of funding assistance.

This questionnaire allows people to find out which benefits they may be eligible for from federal, provincial or territorial governments. Answer the questions to receive customized results. 

Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible parents and guardians to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.

For Ontario residents facing crises like leaving an abusive household or being evicted, short-term financial support for essentials like food and housing may be available. 

For the 2022 tax season, many Canadian community organizations are hosting free virtual tax clinics. Taxes may be completed for free by videoconference, phone, or through a drop-off clinic.

This program is for Ontario residents with disabilities who need help with living expenses. 

Ontario residents in financial need may be eligible for help with food, shelter, clothing, health costs, and more. Call 416-338-8888 for information.

As a national charity, Windmill Microlending offers affordable loans of up to $15,000 to help foreign-trained immigrants and refugees pay for the costs of Canadian accreditation, training and career development. Windmill Microlending partners include government and some of Canada’s largest banks.

These free virtual workshops are designed for low-income Torontonians facing financial challenges. Woodgreen offers a three-month Family Finance Clinic, a year-round Income Tax Clinic, a helpline on income taxes, one-on-one Financial Empowerment Counselling, and group Financial Literacy Workshops.

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Food Security And Clothing

Created by the Food Security Team at Agincourt Community Service, this map has up-to-date information on food banks, free and low cost meals, delivery services, and supermarkets in Toronto.

Located in downtown Toronto, All Saints will select urgent, emergency clothing for adults in need. No appointments needed.

Located inside of Walter Baker Centre Sports Centre, the Barrhaven Food Cupboard is open for pickup of food hampers.

Individuals and families within Toronto’s African, Caribbean, Black communities facing food insecurity can sign up for a one-time delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables for free.

Through Caldwell Family Centre’s Footwear4Kids program, clients can access free clothing, footwear, and household items. Clients can also visit the Clothing Depot for discounted items. They also have a food bank, with delivery services for clients who cannot travel to the centre.

The Mobile Food Bank delivers food to those who are unable to access a food bank due to a permanent or temporary disability. This program provides access to nutritious meals, and safety checks, health status monitoring, and social interactions.

This Toronto-based food bank located near Bathurst and St. Clair supplies groceries to individuals and families who have housing, but whose income is often insufficient to make ends meet. They conduct an in-depth assessment of clients’ non-food needs and assists them in accessing other support services in the community.

Click on the Layer List to find up-to-date locations of Toronto’s food banks. Additional layers and details are updated daily by 211 Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Click on this link to see all of the food banks and low-cost food initiatives located in Ottawa and the surrounding region available to individuals and families in need on an on-going, seasonal, and emergency basis. Services may include food banks, community gardens, Good Food Boxes, youth nutrition programs, and nutrition education programs.

The City of Vancouver has created a list of free clothing providers throughout the Vancouver area.

The Daily Bread Food Bank can make referrals to food banks throughout East York, and also Etobicoke, downtown Toronto, and Scarborough. Etobicoke residents can access The New Toronto Street Food Bank located inside Daily Bread’s distribution facility.

For Etobicoke-based clients aged 55 and up, the Mobile Food Bank provides weekly deliveries of food hampers. This service is available to households with the following postal codes: M8W, M8V, M8Z, M8Y.

Free Clothing BC provides clean clothing, shoes and household items to those in the communities surrounding Surrey, Langley, Aldergrove and Abbotsford. Depending on their stock, they have free events open to the public.

Across the Greater Toronto Area, London, and Ottawa, volunteers deliver food supplies and groceries to seniors, expecting parents, single parents, and those with disabilities, compromised immune systems, accessibility barriers, and more.

With free back-to-school supplies, Christmas gift baskets, a food bank, and their Haven’s Closet clothing bank, Haven on the Queensway has a variety of services for those in need.

Clients in Kanata can access this food bank. Those who do not have a means of transportation can arrange for home delivery of food bank items.

With multiple food banks available, the Mississauga Food Bank has an online food bank locator to help Mississauga clients find the food bank that is closest to them.

GLOW (Gently Loved Outfits to Wear) is Toronto’s largest free clothing program, offering clean, contemporary clothing in a retail-style setting. GLOW is available to low-income Toronto residents of Cedar Ridge, Heron Park, Rockcliffe-Smythe, Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Victoria Village, Taylor-Massey, and Oakridge. Those who do not live in these areas are also able to apply to access the program with a Together Project staff referral.

With a number of food banks under their jurisdiction, North York Harvest provides referrals to help clients in North York to find the food bank that is most convenient for them. The North York Harvest Food Bank offers a number of programs and services, such as community garden activities, free pick-your-own gleaning trips, and community food banks at Bathurst-Finch, Oriole, and Lawrence Heights Community Food Space.

For residents in the Ottawa region who are looking for a food bank, the Ottawa Food Bank staff can refer them to a convenient location.

Appointments are not necessary, and there is no catchment area for this food bank. Clients can come and pick up food once every six days.

To access the food bank, clients living within the following postal codes M4B M4C M4E M4L M1N M1L must make an appointment in advance.

In Ottawa, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre has an low-cost produce market, and access to emergency food supplies sponsored by the Ottawa Food Bank. They can also meet immediate needs, such as laundry vouchers (once per month); clothing voucher (once a season); low cost voicemail; baby cupboard (once per month), and more.

With take-out meals, market times, and a pre-approved mobility program, SCHC has walk-in services for clients, with no appointments needed. They also have seasonal clothing when available.

Scarborough clients can shop online and have their food ready for pick-up at 3300 Danforth (Oakridge Food Bank), 2229 Kingston Road (Cliffside Food Bank), or 741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy Food Bank). Clients register to get a gift card that allows them to pre-select products online. See website for details.

Food for Good Market Greens is a cost-effective year-round market that takes place every Wednesday from 1-4:30 at The Corner, 240 Wellesley St E, Toronto. A dietician is on-site to answer questions. There will be workshops on healthy eating and food offerings that reflect the diversity of the neighbourhood.

Clients may visit the Surrey Food Bank and receive a nutritious supply of food every 14 days that will last 3-4 days. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and quantity of food provided is based on the household size. Clients must register in advance. Open depots include Newton, North Delta, Cloverdale, and Guilford. If a registered client cannot visit the food bank due to mobility issues, they may provide medical validation for the “Hamper to Your Home” program. 

At all Salvation Army second-hand stores, seniors aged 60+ receive a 10% discount on all regularly-priced items.

Located in the basement of Square One between Hudson’s Bay and BMO, this is Mississauga’s only free clothing bank. It is only open to Mississauga residents. Email to arrange an appointment for pick-up. They have items for adults, children, and babies, including diapers and toiletries.

This Ottawa-based charity raises funds for the purchase and distribution of new, quality made snowsuits to needy children aged 15 and under.

With locations at 729 St. Clair West, 1884 Davenport, and 601 Christie Street, Toronto’s The Stop has locations that provide healthy food, perinatal support, a sustainable food education centre, and a daytime drop-in centre for those seeking food and enriching activities. Food supplies always feature fresh produce, milk, eggs, and whole grains, and highlight seasonal vegetables, with examples on cooking through food demos and recipes.

With monthly clothing swaps held at two Centre for Social Innovation locations, T.O. The Good Swap is an opportunity for participants to select 10 items of pre-loved clothing for adults and children, with no obligation to bring clothes to swap. Register in advance.

This free app partners with cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, hotel kitchens, and more to combat food waste by offering surprise bags of food at low cost! Explore your neighbourhood by trying out the different foods there are to offer, but at a fraction of the regular price. Too Good to Go is currently available in Toronto, Ottawa, Surrey, and more Canadian cities.

Toronto-based seniors in low-income housing can reach out to 1-855-581-9580 for free help with picking up groceries, household essentials. The hotline is available in over 180 languages, and operates Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.

Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission food bank provides clients with food in a market-like environment. Book an appointment ahead of time. And for those looking for low-cost clothing, Yonge Street Mission also operates Double Take, a second-hand shop in Regent Park.

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Health and Mental Health Resources

Racialized individuals based in Toronto, regardless of status, can access free services at Across Boundaries. This can range from case management to harm reduction to meditation, and more. Services are available in many languages, including Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Swahili, Somali, and Amharic. Services must be booked through The Access Point (see more information under “The Access Point” in this section).

Through weekly virtual sessions, this program empowers women to build self confidence, make informed choices, and create positive change in their lives. This is a safe online space for women who are feeling isolated, experiencing abuse, or having relationship or marital difficulties. They also have free mental health counselling for all newcomers that includes case management, individual and group counselling.

At (416) 863-0511 or toll-free at 1-866-863-0511, women across Ontario can receive free, confidential, 24-hour crisis counselling, emotional support, information and referrals over the phone in over 200 languages. There is also a TTY crisis line and counselling for seniors.

BounceBack is a free program that helps Ontarians aged 15 and up who are experiencing anxiety or depression, or who may be feeling low, stressed, worried, irritable or angry. Participants receive free phone coaching, workbooks, and online resources to help them their journeys towards positive mental health.

Through two-hour workshops, the Opening Doors Project aims to enhance the well-being of newcomers and mental health survivors by helping to create welcoming, inclusive communities for immigrants and refugees, particularly those experiencing mental health challenges. These workshops include stress and self-care, anti-racism and discrimination, and more.  

Through group sessions and one-on-one meetings, Syrian and newcomer youth mentors provide a safe space for participants to explore issues of identity and mental health challenges, discuss their educational and professional goals, and receive support as they navigate the immigration and settlement processes. In addition to workshops, they run English conversation circles, book clubs, and a soccer team.

Through online care, Cover Health serves Ontario residents seven days a week. Patients can connect with general practitioners, pediatricians, cardiologists, diabetes specialists, and more. 

At Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, this clinic serves newly-arrived refugees who are living in shelters and have Interim Federal Health Program coverage. This clinic handles chronic diseases, primary care for children, immunizations, pregnancy care, family planning advice, health exams, sleep disorders, anxiety, and more. They serve all genders and can use interpreters when needed. For more information, call 416-323-6031.

Culturelink offers support groups, wellness workshops, and one-on-one counselling for newcomers needing support, positive connections, and skills to build mental well-being. This free service prioritizes convention refugees and permanent residents.

With 24-hour support available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Portuguese, and Spanish, Distress Centres of Toronto provides virtual and in-person counselling for everyone from youth to seniors, and group support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide or homicide. This is Canada’s oldest volunteer delivered crisis, emotional support and suicide prevention + intervention + postvention service agency. They can be reached by phone or text. 

This downtown Toronto clinic offers free or low-cost dental services to refugee families. Services include wisdom teeth removal, discounted root canals, free cracked tooth repairs, and more.

This Toronto-based clinic offers free primary health and mental health services for uninsured refugees who do not have a care provider. Appointments must be booked in advance.

This questionnaire helps to assess risk factors for COVID-19 and provides guidance and next steps for keeping safe.

A number of assessment centres have been established across Ontario for COVID assessment and testing. OHIP cards not required.

Book free COVID vaccination appointments here.

Administered by the Ministry of Health, Healthy Smiles Ontario offers free dental care for children 17 years and younger for Ontario residents whose household meets income eligibility requirements. Eligible children and youth from lower-income families can receive free teeth cleaning, check-ups, and dental treatment.

With Registered Psychotherapists, Toronto’s IG Vital Health holds free psychotherapy sessions 7 days a week in Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Sinhalese, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Russian; interpretation for other languages is available. For asylum seekers and refugees, psychotherapy assessments can strengthen applications and assist decision-makers in their resolutions. Services are free and available in-person and online.

Kids Help Phone counsellors and crisis responders offer free 24/7 mental health and wellness support for newcomer youth in many languages, including English, French, Ukrainian, Russian, Pashto, Dari, Mandarin, and Arabic. All services are free and private, and no ID is required. Call 1-800-668-6868 and press 3 for more languages.

Refugees with IFHP support can access free psychotherapy counselling at the Toronto-based Mennonite New Life Centre. Internationally-trained clinicians offer both individual counselling and group programs. Open to Spanish, Farsi, and English-speaking families, with other languages available upon request.

Refugees in Canada can call 1-866-286-4770 for free, multilingual support to find healthcare providers who can deliver transitional health care and services, including primary care, specialist care, and mental health support. While this is not an emergency or crisis line, this healthline can help find a matching health care provider for services offered by OHIP, the IFHP, or provincial programs.

This site brings together the national spectrum of healthcare, settlement, education and public-serving sectors that are available to Ukrainian newcomers. For those seeking information on helping the Ukrainian refugee population, this toolkit provides many helpful resources, including trauma-informed care, cultural support and integration, and much more.

With one-on-one support and group sessions, North York Community House provides free services for newcomers as they navigate their new personal and professional lives.

With counselling available in English, Arabic, Urdu, and more, OCISO provides clinical counselling to culturally diverse youth with migration and culture-related issues. Children and Youth Counsellors provide short term counselling to immigrant and refugee children, youth and their families in a way that incorporates their culture into the therapeutic process. Services available in virtually or in-person. 

At Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, immigrants and refugees can be referred to culturally-sensitive clinical counselling. With services that are private and confidential, OCISO’s specially-trained counsellors provide counselling and psychotherapy services in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Urdu, Tigrinya, German, Czech, and other languages as needed.

Queer Love in Colour is a free, safe and supportive environment for anyone with 2SLGBTQIA+ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color/Global Majority) lived experiences. This group gathers virtually and in-person at QMUNITY at to hold discussions and host activities.

For refugees in Toronto’s Regent Park area, there are many health services, like a monthly mental health and addictions support group for Somali men, a health education program offered in Tamil, Bengali, and Somali, a Vietnamese cultural interpretation service, and more. 

Free services for immigrant, refugee, and women of colour who are facing domestic violence or are dealing with a crisis. These entail counselling, healing groups, safety plan development, client accompaniment to medical appointments, support with navigating legal systems, and more. 

With programs for both youth and adults living with disabilities, Scadding Court provides opportunities for swimming, drama, cooking classes, and more. Programs are free; register in advance.

Located in Scarborough, this all-women team of nurse practitioners, doctors, nurses, mental health counsellors and other allied providers give comprehensive women’s care without questions, fees, or judgement. Provided with the Canadian Centre for Refugee & Immigrant Healthcare.

Free, confidential health information delivered over the phone by registered nurses. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in over 300 languages. Nurses have specific resources pertaining to refugee health. Health cards not required. Hotline available at 1-866-797-0000.

For Toronto residents 14 years of age and older, The Access Point can help individuals to access mental health programs delivered by over 50 agencies. These include intensive case management programs, assertive community treatment teams for those with a history of hospitalizations who are experiencing psychosis, and early psychosis intervention for individuals aged 14-34 who are experiencing early signs of psychosis.

The Wise Self is a psychotherapy clinic based in Toronto offering services by phone and online. With their team of therapists who speak Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, and more, they serve diverse clients, and are seeking to help refugees. They provide both low-cost therapy and therapy that is covered under the Interim Federal Health program. Under the IFH, refugees are eligible for a free 1.5-hour initial assessment and 10 1-hour sessions.

The TDSB has gathered many free resources to help support students’ mental health, including changing routines, separation anxiety, and the social and emotional challenges of the new school year. Resources available for elementary, secondary, and middle grades.

Toronto Public Health offers a confidential and anonymous health information and counselling service for Toronto residents. The general public health line addresses many topics, including Child and Family Health, Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Mental Health Promotion, Substance Use, Senior Health, and Healthy Eating. Calls are not meant for emergencies. All services are free of charge and are available in multiple languages.

This Toronto Public Health chatline provides free, confidential, and anonymous counselling regarding sexual health (HIV/AIDS), sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), risk assessment, birth control options, emergency contraception, sexuality, relationship concerns, pregnancy, injection drug use and needle exchange information, and referrals to clinics and agencies. Calls are not meant for emergencies. All services are free of charge and are available in multiple languages.

At Toronto Western Hospital, a new neurology clinic has opened to serve the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The 2SLGBTQIA+ Neurology Clinic is an outpatient service that provides inclusive, comprehensive, and individualized assessment and care to persons identifying as 2SLGBTQIA+ for a full range of neurological conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

This North York clinic offers free dental services for refugees in Toronto and surrounding areas. Refugees can access free emergency dental care, root canal therapy, oral surgery, and more. Same-day appointments are available.

This clinic is for non-insured Torontonians who live west of Yonge Street. Their mission is to provide care for those without health coverage whether due to precarious status, failed refugee claims or the three-month OHIP wait.

Free mental health counselling by registered professionals for children, youth, young adults and their families, and families with infants. Counselling sessions at 1-866-585-6486 are available Monday to Saturday by phone & video, and typically last 45-60 minutes long. 

Free counselling sessions to cope with anxiety, depression, anger management, and more take place twice a week, either over the phone or on video. Health cards are not required. Counsellors are social workers, psychotherapists, or WoodGreen staff, students, or volunteers who are supervised by a registered professional. Services are available for anyone aged 16 years and up, or for children aged 12-15 with parental consent. Call ahead to book a session. 

Free rapid access therapy is available both online and in-person at Yorktown Family Services Jane Street Hub location, 141 Jane Street. No appointments necessary. Click the link for hours.

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Housing Support

In Ottawa, CCI’s “Welcome House” provides free transitional housing for homeless immigrants. They help newcomers by providing information and orientation workshops about the immigration system, living in Ottawa, and how to access a variety of community services. After finding newcomers long-term housing, they also provide six months of life skills coaching.

With resources available in many languages, this site has information about Toronto’s tenant rights and responsibilities, city rental assistance, the RentSafeTO program, accessing emergency housing, the rent-geared-to-income subsidy, and more.

Click on the Layer List to find up-to-date locations of Toronto’s food banks, community housing, COVID vaccination centres, and more. Additional layers and details are updated daily by 211 Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Rent relief may be available for low-income households who are in rental arrears or need to move to more suitable housing. Funded by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to cover rental arrears and rental deposits. Apply by calling 416-397-7368.

Toronto’s Furniture Bank supports women and children leaving shelters, newcomers, refugees, and people transitioning from homelessness. To be eligible for free furniture, a household must be referred by one of Furniture Bank’s over 140 agency and shelter partners. 

This is a chain of non-profit home improvement stores with 12 locations across the Greater Toronto Area, owned and operated by Habitat for Humanity GTA. With home furnishings, appliances and other renovation materials at a fraction of the price, Habitat ReStore accepts items that have been donated from businesses and individuals, and sells them after inspecting and testing to ensure high-quality standards.

With Canada’s first Rent Bank program, various energy assistance programs for low-income households, and their Housing Trusteeship Program for individuals to manage their rent and bills, Neighbourhood Information Post (NIP) has a spectrum of programs that are geared towards innovative homelessness prevention.

For Muslim women experiencing homelessness due to immigration issues, abuse, and poverty, Sakeenah Homes has safe homes and caseworkers to find secure housing and provide counselling services. Locations are available in Toronto, Brampton, Ottawa, London and Montreal.

For Toronto residents 16 years of age and up who are experiencing mental help and substance use challenges, The Access Point can help them find  mental health supportive housing programs that include home visits to help with medication management and daily living.

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Legal Support

For eligible claimants, Legal Aid may pay for a lawyer to prepare their Basis of Claim paperwork, represent them at the hearing, and more. Contact Legal Aid to determine eligibility.

For refugee claimants, Matthew House conducts virtual mock hearings with their volunteers, some of whom are former IRB members. This is an opportunity for refugee claimants to know what to expect, and to be emotionally and psychologically ready for their hearing.

Free information, advice, referrals, and legal representation to low-income immigrants and refugees in British Columbia seeking support in Immigration Law and Family Law. All advocacy services are free of charge to eligible individuals. MOSAIC has locations throughout British Columbia, including Surrey, Vancouver, New Westminster, and more.

Created by immigration advocates, frontline workers, and Kinbrace, this free website has valuable, clear, up-to-date information about Canada’s refugee protection process. With a glossary, community resources, guidance for getting legal representation, and much more, this is a key resource to demystify the refugee hearing process in Canada. Available in different languages.

For individuals who cannot afford a lawyer but require legal services, Pro Bono Ontario supports vulnerable clients, start-ups, social service organizations, and social entrepreneurs for free.

With valuable information to prepare claimants in 11 languages, this free resource educates, guides, and supports refugee claimants who are preparing for their hearings. Along with the Preparation Guide, they have a virtual “READY” tour to further help with hearing preparations.

With free support services geared towards the LGBTQ2S community in Toronto, the 519 has a spectrum of great initiatives, like programs for trans people of colour, phone check-ins for queer people of colour, and more. With free legal clinics and free hearing preparation programs for LGBTQ2S claimants, this community centre has a long history of serving vulnerable populations.

In partnership with MCIS Solutions, the 519 offers free on-site document translation services.

 

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New Parent Resources

In Surrey, British Columbia, DIVERSEcity offers Immigrant Parent & Children Together (IMPACT)— a 10-week parenting support group for newcomer parents and caregivers of children aged 0-6 with family cooking classes, field trips, and information about parenting in Canada. Participants of any immigration status can apply. For refugee parents and caregivers, DIVERSEcity also offers The First Steps Early Years Refugee Settlement Program to share strategies on minimizing the impact of trauma on refugee children aged 5 and under.

Free programs to Ontario-based parents/caregivers and their children from birth to six years of age. At EarlyON centres, families can participate in programs to strengthen adult-child relationships, support parent education, and foster healthy child development. To find the centre closest to you, click the link!

Through HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters), ISSofBC provides weekly in-home/virtual training support and free educational resources for newcomer parents/guardians of children aged 1.5-4 years old. Families in Surrey, Coquitlam, New Westminster, and Burnaby are eligible to apply.

Toronto-based infants aged 0-6 months old may be eligible for a baby bundle of new baby necessities and car seats, carriers, strollers, and transportation to doctor’s appointments.

A cloth diaper charity that provides gently used cloth diaper kits to families who self-identify as being in financial need.

Families with pregnant mothers and children under one year of age can register for the Tiny Bundles Program and come every 7 days to receive a full week’s worth of nutrition, along with diapers, baby food and other items. As the child grows, Surrey Food Bank extends the benefits of the Tiny Bundles program to Toddler Totes and Pre-K nutritional bundle packages that are included in the family’s regular food selection.

The Diaper Bank provides free diapers to low-income households in Toronto through existing service providers, including local food banks, daycare centres, social service agencies and shelters.

Through HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters), Working Women Community Centre provides free education resources and support for newcomer parents/guardians of pre-school-aged children. Families in downtown west-end Toronto, Malvern, Thorncliffe Park, Flemington,  Victoria Village, and Jane-Finch are eligible to apply for this 2-year program.

 

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Seniors Services

A Friendly Voice is a free, confidential phone call program for Ontarians aged 55+ who want to chat with a friendly person who cares, without expectations or judgment. For Ontarians struggling with loneliness or ones who simply want a new friend, this program gives a chance for connection and conversation. 

As a 24-hour crisis and support line for seniors in Ontario who have experienced any type of abuse or neglect, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline provides services in over 200 languages. Counsellors are available every day at 1-866-299-1011. Services are free and confidential.

Through weekly group sessions, Brampton-based seniors can learn about topics of interest, share jokes, play games, and more. Geared towards reducing isolation, these activities keep seniors mentally and physically active. 

Cyber Seniors provides senior citizens across North America with free, online tech training using an intergenerational volunteer model. Young people are provided with training to act as digital mentors, and senior citizens gain access to free technology training and intergenerational communities that keep them socially connected and engaged.

TeleCheck Seniors Program is available for seniors aged 55+ who need regular calls to provide safety check-ins, medication reminders, or social calls. These calls offer clients a chance to be heard by reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, providing positive coping skills, offering referrals to community services. The volunteers are trained to provide phone support for settlement and integration, relocation, grief, and more. Services available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Portuguese, and Spanish.

For customers in Toronto, Good Foot offers low-cost courier services by neuro-diverse staff who use public transit to make their deliveries.

Across the Greater Toronto Area, London, and Ottawa, volunteers deliver food supplies and groceries to seniors, expecting parents, single parents, and those with disabilities, compromised immune systems, accessibility barriers, and more.

With programs for Spanish-speaking seniors, seniors’ international dance, and seniors’ social times, Toronto’s Jane/Finch Centre helps seniors access resources and support, wellness activities, and self-care activities for health promotion and education.

Registered clients aged 65 and up can come at a specific distribution time to collect their food in a non-rushed environment. There are specific items to chose from such as: meal replacement drinks and hygiene products.

Toronto-based seniors in low-income housing can reach out to 1-855-581-9580 for free help with picking up groceries, household essentials. The hotline is available in over 180 languages, and operates Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.

Staying physically and mentally active is possible– even for seniors in their own homes. Toronto’s West Neighbourhood House has free virtual classes for seniors and caregivers that include Chair Yoga, Bingo, Zumba for Beginners, and more. 

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Technology Resources

COSTI has free ongoing sessions to teach newcomers in Toronto how to use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to create and collaborate in Canadian workplaces. This course offers 25 hours of free online instruction.

Cyber Seniors provides senior citizens across North America with free, online tech training using an intergenerational volunteer model. Young people are provided with training to act as digital mentors, and senior citizens gain access to free technology training and intergenerational communities that keep them socially connected and engaged.

A volunteer-created library for digital skills development featuring modules about operating a computer, accessing the internet, and more.

Old electronics and computers are refurbished and sold at a discount to increase access to affordable technology across Toronto.

Every week, Toronto’s Labour Education Centre offers free computer classes over Zoom! Participants can learn how to use email and MS Word, how to fill out forms, and how to be safe online. This is open to all Ontario residents. For those in need of a computer or tablet, contact the Labour Education Centre.

Computer equipment, training and technical support for charities, non-profits and households in Toronto and Peel Region with limited access to technology.

Through their Outreach programs in Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, and St. Catherines, Renewed Computer Technology provides affordable renewed computers, software and learning modules. They offer a variety of desktop and laptop packages, and orders can be made online. Every purchase comes with a one-year limited parts and labour depot warranty from the date the computer is received. Each computer comes loaded with a Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office Suite and skill development software. Applicants can apply for 2 computers per household per year.

Through the Connected for Success Program, subsidized tenants, seniors, families with children, and individuals receiving disability and incoming support may be eligible for high-speed, low-cost internet through Rogers.

For older adults in who need help with video calls, photo editing, social media accounts, and more, Toronto’s TechServe TO offers volunteer support at 1-888-418-4771. Volunteers offer private 30-minute sessions or group sessions, and all services are completely free.

 

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Explore Your City

For low-income Toronto-based newcomers who need a bike for work, education and recreation, they can submit a request to Bikes Without Borders for a free refurbished bike. 

Created by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, this app gives newcomers free and discounted access to 1400+ galleries, museums, science centres, historic sites, family activities & more! Newcomers aged 18 and up who have become permanent residents in the last 5 years can download Canoo today.

Toronto’s CultureLink Bike Host program matches up newcomers who are open to cycling with mentors who ride regularly. Bike Host participants practice their communication skills and learn about civic engagement, all while exploring Toronto by bike. And for those needing repairs, Culturelink’s Bike Hub offers free bike repairs at their Jane and Tobermory location.

Throughout the year, Heritage Toronto provides free walking tours to introduce participants to the city’s rich and vibrant history. From Yonge Street to Hoggs Hollow, their goal is to make the city’s heritage accessible, relevant, and engaging to all Torontonians. Registration is required in advance.

Low-income families in Ottawa may be eligible for a discounted Equipass. In addition, there are discounted rates and free service days for riders including children, youth, and seniors. 

In Toronto and Vancouver, Parkbus connects people to nature through accessible transportation. With bus services to national and provincial parks, group hikes, and NatureLink, a newcomer-specific program, Parkbus is committed to sustainable, equal access to nature. 

Book an appointment for minor bike repairs and a safety check— all for free! These appointments are in east-end Toronto, at Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre and Harmony Hall Community Food Centre.

In Toronto, library card holders can access the MAP Performing Arts Pass for free tickets to dance, music, film, and theatre performances. This is available at select library branches on the last Saturday of the month. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Note: Program is currently unavailable, but will be restarting in the  future.)

In Toronto, library card holders can use the Museum Arts Pass for free tickets to many of the city’s museums, art galleries, and attractions. Passes are given out at all of Toronto’s libraries. This program is a perfect way for newcomer families to visit Toronto’s cultural institutions for free!

Through the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program, low-income Toronto residents aged 20-64 may be eligible for a discount on adult single ride fares and adult monthly passes.

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