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Resources
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Helpful resources that Welcome Group volunteers can share with newcomer refugees. Regularly updated for programs, events and more!

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 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.

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.

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 durable 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

SPecial EventS

On May 28th and 29th from 10am-5pm EDT, more than 100 sites will be open to visitors for free! In this weekend-long celebration of architecture and public spaces, newcomers can explore places of architectural, cultural, and social significance. This year, Doors Open Toronto will feature both virtual and in-person experiences.

Certifications

Centre of Learning and Development – Free Community Leadership Program for Immigrant Women

The Immigrant Women Integration Program is a free, full-time training program to help newcomer women in Toronto become leaders in their communities. This is delivered online, with in-person elements for certifications in Standard First Aid and CPR.  Applications for the September 2022 cohort will close on June 24, 2022.

PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs – Food Handler Training & Certification for Newcomers

From June 6th-30th, PTP will be offering free, online food handler training to permanent residents, convention refugees, and protected persons. The training will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 10 am to 12 pm EDT. Register in advance.

Employment

On May 31, June 7, June 9, June 23, and June 28, from 10:30am-12:00pm EDT, newcomer youth aged 18-29 can attend an online netWORKS infosession to learn about building a network for professional success.

From June 6-June 17 from 1:30pm-5pm EDT, free virtual work-readiness programs will be held for newcomers who are interested in pursuing a hospitality career in Toronto.  These will feature online sessions, group activities, resume preparation, and mock interviews. Participants will have the opportunity to earn Samrt Serve and/or Food Handlers certifications for free.

On June 27th, Surrey-based MOSAIC is offering a free program for young newcomers aged 17-29 who are interested in entering the manufacturing industry. This program includes six weeks of paid online training, transportation support, paid certificates training, and 12 weeks of career coach support. Free information sessions available every Wednesday; register in advance.

On May 31st, from 2-5pm EDT, at 1 Leaside Park Drive, Unit 7 Toronto’s TNO will be holding a job fair open to students seeking summer jobs. Positions include camp counsellor, community worker, Human Resources assistant, food service worker, and more. On-site interviews available.

Language

On June 13th, Toronto’s Mothercraft is starting their Enhanced Language Training with the Mothercraft College of Early Childhood Education. This program is for newcomers who would like to work with young children. Program will run online, 9-2:30 EDT, Monday to Friday, until August 2022. Registration is now open.

On June 2nd, from 1-2pm EDT, newcomers can learn about the range of language courses that they can access in Ontario.

Technology

On Wednesdays until June 15th, 10am-12pm EDT, Ottawa-based OCCSC is offering free virtual classes on creating e-mail and social media accounts, mastering basic technology, and more. Open to participants of all ethnicities.

Youth Programs

On June 2nd and 9th, from 5-7pm EDT at 3079 Danforth, women and girls wearing hijab and their allies can learn cycling skills and explore the city. Equipment, snacks and tokens are provided, and riders of all skill levels are welcome.

Every Tuesday until July 5th, at 4:30pm EDT at Toronto’s FCJ Refugee Centre at 208 Oakwood Avenue, newcomer youth can learn Shanshou, Kickboxing, Boxing, Tai Chi, Self-Defense Education for free.

From now until June 9th in Toronto’s High Park, kids aged 12-16 can join ten free sessions of the in-person newcomer youth rangers program. Running on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:00pm EDT, the program will include planting, hiking, and species management. Hours can go towards volunteer hour credits.

Offered with For Youth Initiative, these workshops will be offered either online or in person at 504 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto: Virtual Paint Night (June 7, 4:30-6:30); Meditative Journal Art (June 8, 5-6); Healing in Movement Dance Class (July 6, 1-2pm). Register with whitney@foryouth.ca

 

Do you know of an Event or program that we should highlight? Let us know!

See below for full resource listings!

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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 free of charge.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 Scarborough youth aged 12-21, Strides Toronto provides mental health services, socialization, leadership, mentorship, and homework help. This newcomer-focused program provides free activities every month that include volunteer opportunities, sports events, workshops and trips around Toronto for free.

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.

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.

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.

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! 

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Employment Services

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

NPower Canada provides free beginner virtual training for 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.

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.

Syrian Canada Foundation & Taking IT Global – Entrepreneur Support for Newcomer Youth

This Toronto-based program is for newcomer youth aged 15-30 to

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. 

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.

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

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. 

At York University, under the Internationally-Educated Professionals Certificate Programs, refugee claimants and newcomers can pursue a Certificate in Canadian Business or a Certificate in Information Technology. 

Bursaries and funding options available. In addition, weekly English language support classes and ongoing job search support including career coaching, alumni mentoring, networking, and employment workshops are provided for free. Participants gain access to York University’s services, libraries, career centre and more.

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English and French Language Support

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!

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. 

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.

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.

Low-income Toronto residents may be eligible for a 21-33% discount on their transit costs. Residents can confirm their eligibility and apply either online or over the phone at 416-338-8888.

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.

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

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

Individuals and families within Toronto’s African, Caribbean, Black communities facing food insecurity can sign up for weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables for free.

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.

Across southern Ontario, this initiative provides home-cooked meals or groceries to households who are struggling financially, such as QTBIPOC people, single parents, sex workers, precariously housed persons, those with medical conditions or disabilities, newly-arrived immigrants, and the elderly. Food is provided for free by volunteer home chefs.

Toronto-based seniors in low-income housing can call 1-855-581-9580 to request free help with picking up groceries, household essentials and food bank items. The hotline is available in over 180 languages, and operates weekdays between 9am-5pm.

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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. 

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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 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. 

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Housing Support

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. 

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 and Citizenship Test Preparation

Toronto-based Culturelink holds free virtual preparation sessions for the Canadian citizenship test.

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.

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.

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.

A free in-person and virtual course for 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers in Toronto taking the citizenship test. This course takes place on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, from 5:30-7pm EDT. Register in advance.

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 Support

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.

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

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. 

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 weekly Seniors Social Support Group Sessions, International Music and Dance for Seniors, Spanish-Speaking Seniors Virtual Programs, Toronto’s Jane-Finch Centre has a variety of seniors services that are free and focused on community well-being.

Toronto-based seniors in low-income housing can reach out to 1-855-581-9580 for free help with picking up groceries, household essentials and food bank items. 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

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.

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

High-speed, low-cost internet through Rogers for subsidized tenants, seniors, families with children, and individuals receiving disability and incoming support.

 

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