Together Project
Resources
Photo by Lisa Kannako

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Helpful resources that Welcome Group volunteers can share with refugee newcomers. 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.

Housing Support Guide

A guide to help volunteers empower newcomers during their housing search in Canada.

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.

Volunteering With Refugee Claimants

A guide for Welcome Group Program volunteers who are matched with Refugee Claimants.

Volunteering With Government-Assisted Refugees

A guide for Welcome Group Program volunteers who are matched with Government-Assisted Refugees.

Volunteering with Ukrainian Arrivals

A guide for Welcome Group Program volunteers who are matched with Ukrainian CUAET arrivals.

Monthly Updates

Adult Education

On Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30, newcomers in the Greater Toronto Area can join free English conversation classes run by the Afghan Women’s Organization.

For women who are survivors of violence or trauma, the free H.E.A.L. for Work Program for Women helps participants to build the life the want in Canada. This program provides free occupational skills training, childcare support, and opportunities for paid work, and more. There is also a $250 bonus for completing three months of employment or post-secondary education. This program is offered in English, with language support in Arabic and Punjabi available. Information sessions held weekly on Tuesdays at 11:30 am via Zoom.

From April 1 to June 13, 9-3:15pm EST, Woodgreen Community Services and FCJ will be having an Enhanced Language Training (ELT) Program for internationally trained professionals to receive business communications skills and employment preparation support from professionals. They are currently recruiting for their upcoming cohorts in multiple fields. Registration is currently open for their April 2024 trainings.

March 13 or April 3, 10-12, participants can join the information session about a FREE college program for adults who want to make a change in their lives by going back to school. Unlike other transitional programs, TPE is specifically for people who face barriers to school or employment related to mental health or substance use. Please attend a mandatory information session for details about how to apply IN PERSON.

On March 20, from 10-5 at 355 Church Street, Suite 201, Toronto, come to the Newcomer Women’s Services office to learn about NPower Canada. NPower Canada is a national employment program that provides participants with free in-demand digital and professional skills training and connects them to new and rewarding career opportunities with some of Canada’s largest employers. You will also get a chance to ask questions about the hiring practices, and available jobs and careers with N Power Canada. Learn more about the in-demand technical and professional skills you need to excel in your career journey.

All across Toronto libraries, there are free programs for newcomers to practice their English! Check out the list of libraries here.

Cisco Networking Academy’s IT Essentials course prepares individuals for the industry-recognized CompTIA A+ certification, a certification that equips candidates for entry-level IT roles in various industries including software development, business, and healthcare. You can attend weekly learning circle sessions and optional drop-in sessions with Toronto Public Library until June 2024. In-person workshops are every Tuesday at Evelyn/Gregory Library, 1-2:30 pm, every Thursday at North York Central Library, 1-2:30 pm, or online every Wednesday, 10-11:30 am.

On Wednesday, March 6th, 2024, 7:00 PM, embedded researcher with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Karen Fisher, and project coordinator, facilitator, and Zaatari Camp resident Mohammed Shwamra meet with host and chef Suman Ali Sayed to share one of their favourite recipes from the brand new cookbook Zaatari: Culinary Traditions of the World’s Largest Syrian Refugee Camp.This is a virtual event; Link for FREE registration: https://www.crowdcast.io/c/zaatari

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, 7:00 PM, professor & UN field researcher Karen E. Fisher and Zaatari camp resident Mohammed Shwamra discuss food, community & the refugee experience with host Shahir Massoud. This is an in-person event at North York Central Library; Link for FREE registration: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/zaatari-culinary-traditions-of-the-worlds-largest-syrian-refugee-camp-tickets-836184770157?aff=Community

Child and Youth Programs

A free program to support Afghan youth in Scarborough. After School Squad happens on Tuesdays from 3-5 in Scarborough, with participants receiving volunteer hours for their high school credits. Youth will discuss challenges, self-confidence, self-esteem and more.

At Toronto’s Exhibition Place, there are opportunities for free skate rentals and ice time. The local community is invited for a leisure skate at the Coca-Cola Coliseum (45 Manitoba Dr) from March 8 to 10. Additionally, the City of Toronto has organized a Skate Lending Library at the Coliseum on March 9 and 10, from 1 PM to 5 PM.  There will be a Leisure Skate (All Ages): Friday, March 8th: 2 PM- 5 PM Saturday, March 9th: 1 PM – 5 PM Sunday, March 10th: 10 AM – 1 PM, and a Leisure Skate (Youth): Sunday, March 10th: 2 PM- 5 PM.

On Mondays after school at their location on Weston Road, Frontlines will host Leaders in Training— a program for youth aged 13-17.  They will learn about budgeting, entrepreneurships, interview preparation, and receive their Food Handlers and CPR certifications.

From Monday-Friday, 9-4, children aged 6-12 can enjoy a week of meals and fun activities at 100 Sidney Belsey Crescent with Frontlines Toronto. Cost is $75.

Hosted by Haneen Organization and York University, Singing our Stories provides free music and arts sessions for newcomer and racialized children and youth. Sessions are part of a research project that aims to support young people to empower themselves through creative expression, storytelling, and songwriting. For ages 6-12.

A free program to support Black youth in Scarborough aged 20 to 35. The program aims to support the successful entry and advancement of Black youth in IT, Marketing and sales, Digital and Social Media Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Project Management, and more. Includes employment coaching, wrap-around support, and job placement opportunities for qualified individuals. Only a few spaces left!

With games, trips, sports, cooking, and more fun, children can attend this camp in Malvern from 8-5 during March Break at 90 Littles Road, Scarborough. Cost is $125 per child.

On Saturday mornings, Farsi/Dari-speaking teens can get free virtual exam preparation curriculum overview of math, science, chemistry, biology, and physics from North York Community House.

IBM Skillsbuild aims to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders to drive positive change here in Canada and around the world. The course is available for free and can be accessed remotely, making it easily accessible to young individuals from diverse backgrounds and communities. Click here to share the link for youth to register today! Youth will have free, exclusive access to all the courses available on IBM Skillsbuild i.e. unconscious bias, coding, cyber security and more. Click here to learn more about Plan International Canada and IBM Skillsbuild.

Skills for Change’s Black Youth Action Plan (BYAP) Program is a free afterschool STEM program for high school students aged 14-18 that include mental health, career development, and additional supports. This is in person and online for teens in Toronto.

March Break Programs

From March 11-15, 9:00-4:00, children aged 6-12 can enjoy a week of meals and fun activities at 100 Sidney Belsey Crescent with Frontlines Toronto. Cost is $75 per child for the week.

  • Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services (Mississauga)

From March 11-15, children aged 6-13 can enjoy a free STEM/Robotics-focused camp at Mississauga’s Sheridan Centre. The camp will run 10:00-2:00. Participants will learn basic programming and how to design and drive their own robots. There is no fee.

With games, trips, sports, cooking, and more fun, children aged 4-12 can attend camp from 8:00-5:00 at 90 Littles Road, Scarborough. Dates are March 11-15, and cost is $125 per child for the week.

On March 14th, from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM, children aged 7-12 can attend a free one-day camp and enjoy arts and crafts and active engagement activities. Location will be at 3225 Eglinton Avenue East, Scarborough. There is no fee.

From March 11-15, children aged 5-12 can participate in a March Break camp at 707 Dundas Street West. It will include field trips, a visit with the Toronto Police Horses, and daily snacks. The camp is from 9:30-4:30, with aftercare available from 4:30-5:30. The cost is $125 per child for the week, with subsidies available upon request.

From March 11-15, West Neighbourhood House is running a March Break camp at 319 Ossington Avenue, inside Pope Francis Catholic School. The camp is open to all children aged 6-12, with games, crafts, and outdoor activities. Weekly fees range from $44-$110.

From March 18 to March 21, 9:00-3:00, at the DIVERSEcity Surrey Community Campus located at 13455 76 Avenue, Surrey BC, participants aged 6-18 can attend a free spring break camp. There will be trauma-informed activities and lessons on mindfulness, healthy relationships, personal safety, and more. There is no fee.

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.

Employment

On March 12, at 1pm EST, foreign-trained business professionals can join a free webinar and discover some of the best business professions in demand. Learn how to obtain the training you need to succeed in these fields and jumpstart your career today. Register now and take the first step towards a bright future!

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 March 25, 2024 at 8:30am on Zoom.

On February 28, 10:30-3:30, there will be a job fair for Weston Mount Dennis residents. It will be at the Learning Enrichment Foundation, 116 Industry Street.

On February 29, from 11-3, the Hospitality Workers Training Center (HWTC) presents the 2024 Leap into Hospitality Job Fair, bringing together Toronto’s best hotels, tourism, and food and beverage employers under one roof.
Whether you’re an experienced professional, a student seeking part-time work, or a newcomer looking to kickstart your career, this event is your chance to connect with industry leaders at Beanfield Centre, Exhibition Place, 105 Princes’ Boulevard Toronto.

On February 24, from 11-4 EST, immigrant professionals can connect with industry experts and employers who value international experience. Crossover is a free, virtual conference which will connect newcomers with bridging programs.

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.

The Workplace Career Connections Program (WCCP) is a 5-week program that prepares and equips newcomers, job seekers, and underemployed workers to understand workplace culture in Canada, utilize interpersonal skills as a primary job search strategy, and most importantly, secure work contracts and advance their careers in Canada’s diverse environment. Participants may be able to access childminding services. Subsequent cohorts will be January 29, 2024 to March 1, 2024.

Explore Your City

The Skate Lending Library is a City of Toronto initiative to support and engage children, youth, families and adults in skating across Toronto. There are mobile skate lending libraries at various locations across the city, providing access to skates, helmets and skating aids so all Toronto residents can try this winter.

Learn-to Snowshoe events are happening this winter at the Black Walnut Day Use Area in Rouge National Urban Park. These will take place on March 2nd from 12-2 PM. These events are free, and can accommodate up to 25 people. During these events we will cover the topics of winter preparedness, winter safety, snowshoeing 101, and if snow permits – a short practice walk on one of our trails. Sign up on Eventbrite here.

Health and Mental Health

Every Wednesday from 2-4:30pm at 219 Argyle, Ottawa, CCI offers an opportunity for Farsi speaking seniors to gather for an afternoon of good conversations, snacks, songs, stories and other activities.

This Scarborough-based centre provides meal deliveries, accompaniment, and friendly visits for seniors aged 65 and up who have high care needs.

On February 25, from 4-6, newcomers can come for NeighbourLink’s Newcomer Welcome Tea at Spring Garden Church. 

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.

Income Tax Clinics

With TSLIP’s Community Tax Clinic Resources, there is a list of tax clinics and services available to newcomers in Toronto at no cost.

Appointments are needed in downtown Toronto for 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers.

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

Resources Menu

Afghan Community Resources

Newcomers in the Greater Toronto Area can join free English conversation classes run by the Afghan Women’s Organization. 

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.

A free program to support Afghan youth in Scarborough. After School Squad happens on Tuesdays from 3-5 in Scarborough, with participants receiving volunteer hours for their high school credits. Youth will discuss challenges, self-confidence, self-esteem and more.

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.

Toronto’s Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services hosts a free “Agents of Change” group for Afghan women to learn about Canada, women’s rights, health and wellness, and community supports. Register in advance.

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.

Are you between the ages of 15-30 looking to succeed in the labour market? In this IT Accelerator program, you will receive technical skills training, job search and employment preparation, job coaching, as well as the opportunity to gain work experience and full-time employment.  This program is best suited for those who are looking to enhance their skills in cloud computing or improve on technical skills. 

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.

Through the Arab Community Centre’s Toronto Youth Job Corps (TYJC), youth aged 15-30 can get the training, education, or experience to become employed. This s a full-time, paid employment preparation program for youth living in Etobicoke. There will be employment and life skills training, a group-based community project, and a paid work placement that matches youth skills and interests. 

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. 

Camps.Ca has a list of Ontario camps that range from educational to sports-focused to arts camps. Their lists include children’s day camps and overnight programs.

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!

The Children’s Book Bank provides free books and literacy support to children in high-needs neighbourhoods in Toronto. Its purpose is to provide equal access to books for all children, literacy programs, and storytimes, and literacy programs for kids aged 0-12.

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.

On Mondays after school at their location on Weston Road, Frontlines will host Leaders in Training— a program for youth aged 13-17.  They will learn about budgeting, entrepreneurships, interview preparation, and receive their Food Handlers and CPR certifications.

Through their Go Green Cricket & Sports Field located at  Valley Park Middle School in Thorncliffe Park and youth-led programs, Go Green Youth Centre focuses on community building through recreation. They also provide free youth workshops on robotics, music, ecoarts, cooking, gardening, and more.

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.

Humber College offers a FREE transition program for youth between the ages of 19 and 29. This specialized program has been designed to help youth make a successful transition to college, whether they have completed high school or not. Participants will also be able to take part in a variety of learning opportunities in areas like Media, Business, or Design, depending on their interest!

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.

Through the Scarborough Simbas, Muslim Children’s Aid and Support Services offers recreational and wellness opportunities for refugees, newcomers, underprivileged, and at-risk Muslim youth.

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.

IBM Skillsbuild aims to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders to drive positive change here in Canada and around the world. The course is available for free and can be accessed remotely, making it easily accessible to young individuals from diverse backgrounds and communities. Click here to share the link for youth to register today! Youth will have free, exclusive access to all the courses available on IBM Skillsbuild i.e. unconscious bias, coding, cyber security and more. Click here to learn more about Plan International Canada and IBM Skillsbuild.

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. 

Through their Youth Job Connection Program, St. Stephen’s Community House has paid youth employment programs designed to offer skills training, work experience and support for young people. The Student Program is for youth aged 15-18 who are still in school, while the Youth Job Connection program is for youth aged 15-29 who are out of school and out of work on a full-time basis.

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.

Working with community partners to select candidates, 13th Round Fight For Life is offering a free, intensive boxing and life-skills training program for 30 identified youth. The program is offered four times per year starting in September, November, January and April. Youth from underserved communities or who may face barriers to success between the ages of 13 to 19 years old are encouraged to apply. No boxing experience is required, gloves and hand wraps will be provided.

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.

In Ontario, the Youth Job Connection program serves youth aged 15 to 29 by providing them with paid pre-employment training to promote job-readiness; free job matching and paid job placements, with placement supports for participants and hiring incentives for employers, mentorship services, education supports, and more. There is a year-round version of the program and a Youth Job Connection: Summer program which provides summer, part-time and after-school job opportunities to high school students, aged 15 to 18, who are facing challenging life circumstances and may need support transitioning between school and work.

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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!

Cloud Computing Connections is a specialized 6-week ACCES bridging program, offered in partnership with Sheridan College, empowering internationally trained IT professionals with cloud computing. It provides comprehensive academic training, Amazon Web Services instructor led labs and hands-on experience with leading platforms, along with workplace integration skills. Additional components include job search, business communications, design thinking, mock interviews, mentorship, networking, and job placement services.

ACCES Employment supports the success of refugees in Canada, and can provide her an Employment Counsellor for free. They have programs specifically for refugees, which are designed to help them build professional networks, find mentors, learn about the labour market in Canada, access real opportunities with employers, and improve their job search skills. With ACCES, refugees can access refugee-focused programming.

ACCES Employment offers the Engineering Connections (EC) Program for internationally trained engineering professionals in 4 different streams: Labour Market Access for Engineers (LMA); Workplace Essentials for Engineers (WEE); Project Management for Engineers (PME); and Electrical Engineering Connections. All EC streams provide clients with full-scale employment preparation that covers a wide range of job search and job retention topics: labour market information specific to Canadian engineering sector, resume writing and customization, interview preparation, workplace culture, branding and marketing yourself, networking through professional and social media – and more.

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.

Are you between the ages of 15-30 looking to succeed in the labour market? In this IT Accelerator program, you will receive technical skills training, job search and employment preparation, job coaching, as well as the opportunity to gain work experience and full-time employment.  This program is best suited for those who are looking to enhance their skills in cloud computing or improve on technical skills. 

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.

Achēv’s “Preparing Women & Workplaces for Success” program is a 5-week, 120-hour paid training for racialized immigrant woman to improve essential, employment and life skills, followed by individualized employment support and opportunities.

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. 

Through their employment initiative funded by Employment Ontario, BMCC’s Integrated Employment Services (IES) program will provide individuals with detailed needs assessment, pre-employment training, job carving/matching services and retention support. This program is designed to help local businesses with their staffing needs by providing a nominal financial incentive to employers for eligible clients. 

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. 

Academic Skills Upgrading (AU) provides adults with support to improve their reading, writing, numeracy, communications, and digital technology skills. Participants learn in small class sizes with fellow students who are preparing to pursue one of five goal paths: post-secondary, secondary school credit, apprenticeship, employment, or independence. Laptops are provided during the program, and the program is free to attend and offered in a hybrid mode.

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 and the Syrian-Canadian Foundation, 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.

JVS Toronto has partnered with several organizations and employers in the community to help Ukrainian refugees find quality employment. Partners include IBM Canada, Loblaw Companies Ltd., and Atlantic Packaging Products, and more. Services are free.

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.

This is a free program to provide newcomer women with the ability to earn money for themselves and their families. New Circles will provide the materials, training partners, and community connections to set participants up for success.

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.

Bridge training programs help newcomers to continue working in their career in Ontario. These programs are designed to “bridge” international training, education and experience. These are for newcomers with a regulated occupation (for example, nursing, engineering, etc.), or a highly-skilled, non-regulated occupation that is currently in demand (for example, information technology, financial services, etc.)

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 their Youth Job Connection Program, St. Stephen’s Community House has paid youth employment programs designed to offer skills training, work experience and support for young people. The Student Program is for youth aged 15-18 who are still in school, while the Youth Job Connection program is for youth aged 15-29 who are out of school and out of work on a full-time basis.

For refugees abroad who are in a country where they do not hold legal status that allows them to work, Talent Beyond Boundaries connects refugee jobseekers with employers all over the world.

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.

At Malvern Branch and North York Central Library, there are free rooms that can be booked for those doing job interviews.  This will include a laptop, webcam, microphone, and a ring light.

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. 

For women interested in entering the skilled trades, such as architectural glass and metal technician, painters, decorators, and terrazzo, tile and marble installation, YWCA Toronto offers women a chance to build their skills through their pre-apprenticeship program. 

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.

Centre for Learning & Development – Free Literacy Programs for Adults 

CL&D offers programs in adult literacy, leadership development, immigrant integration, civic engagement, and skills development. For adults who did not finish high school and want to prepare for GED or transitioning to post-secondary programs, the Academic Skills Upgrading program is a free opportunity to improve reading, writing, numeracy, communications, and digital technology skills. Participants learn in small class sizes with fellow students who are preparing to pursue one of five goal paths:post-secondary, secondary school credit, apprenticeship, employment, or independence.

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.

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.

Ottawa’s Capital Rainbow Refuge has milestone settlement funds to help newcomers in Eastern Ontario who do not have other supports and are not currently being sponsored. 

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.

Only until March 31, 2023, parents and guardians can apply for financial support to help with the costs of their child’s tutoring, supplies or equipment during the 2022–23 school year. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time payment of $200 for each student between kindergarten and Grade 12, up to age 18, or $250 for each student with special education needs between kindergarten and Grade 12, up to age 21.

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.

Through their Benefits Finder, Prosper Canada has created a free, easy questionnaire for households to find out which Canadian benefits they are eligible for, such as the Child Care Subsidy, the Canada Child Benefit (parents of children under 18), Canada Workers Benefit, Canada Dental Benefit, Child Disability Benefit, and Connecting Families Initiative, and more. The Benefits Finder also shows users where their closest income tax clinics are located.

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. In a typical season, they distribute approximately 16,000 new snowsuits to eligible families. Check website for eligibility requirements and to book an appointment.

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.

This food bank provides 28 days of groceries to clients, and they can choose their own items. Though their selection varies, halal items are available.

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

 For refugee newcomers in Toronto seeking a proactive approach to mental health that includes counselling services, primary care, settlement, and community programs, and more.

Through weekly drop-ins and cooking programs, one-on-one sessions with community health workers, and LGBTQ+ Primary Care Services and Trans-Inclusive Health Care, Access Alliance has a spectrum of free programming to service LGBTQ+ newcomers in Toronto. 

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.

For those aged 16 and up who located in Toronto, there is an urgent care clinic that can provide virtual services through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. A CAMH mental health provider will talk to you about your concerns, and appointments will last about 30 minutes.

For free, confidential counselling for issues related to the unique experiences of refugees and newcomers in their lives prior to arrival, during their journey to Canada, and upon settling in the Greater Toronto Area.

For supportive, non-judgmental counselling that helps survivors of torture in Toronto and Ottawa to develop trust and regain a sense of empowerment. This includes assessment by in-house psychiatrists, psychologists and family doctors, crisis intervention, and individual and group counselling.

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.

With volunteer-led sponsor groups, advocacy, community-building initiatives, and more, Ottawa’s Capital Rainbow Refuge helps LGBTQI+ refugees and newcomers thrive in Eastern Ontario. Their volunteers can accompany clients to appointments, and connect with things like housing, furniture, or services like a family doctor, mental health counselling, employment, and more. 

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. 

Refugee newcomers in Surrey, Delta, White Rock, and Langley can access free, culturally informed, confidential services in several languages that include family counselling, youth counselling, substance abuse counselling, and more.

For women who are survivors of violence or trauma, the free H.E.A.L. for Work Program for Women helps participants to build the life the want in Canada. This program provides free occupational skills training, childcare support, and opportunities for paid work, and more. There is also a monetary bonus for completing three months of employment or post-secondary education. This program is offered in English, with language support in Arabic and Punjabi available.

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.

Launched by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Health Care Connect helps Ontarians find a family health care provider in their community. 

This network of advocates supports people living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to have equitable access to healthcare services, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Find out about access to free eyeglasses from Lenscrafters, sexual health clinics, tuberculosis prevention programs, low-cost and free dental services, emergency healthcare, and more.

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.

The interim Canada Dental Benefit helps lower dental costs for families with small children. Families can use the free online tool to estimate their child’s benefit amount. 

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.

In downtown Toronto, Hispanic individuals and families can get free counselling, support with refugee claims, family art therapy, leadership training, immigration workshops, and courses on hair cutting, manicures, pedicures, and more.

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. For mental health services that relate to issues of migration and culture, OCISO specializes in assisting survivors of war torture, trauma, political persecution and imprisonment. 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.

With its location inside the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, refugee newcomers can access counselling, psychiatric assessments, psychotherapy, and more with legal, settlement, counselling and social services.

In Mississauga and Toronto, Polycultural provides confidential short-term counselling at no cost for youth, adults and families who are in need of crisis counselling. They serve refugees who are adjusting to Canadian life, struggling with trauma, and experiencing family conflict, and more.

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.

In British Columbia, newcomers with complex barriers can access support with emergency housing, counselling, employment, health education, English conversation circles, and more. Services are offered in English, French, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), Dari, Farsi, Korean, Kurdish, Swahili, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and many more languages. This is a federally-funded program for refugee claimants, CUAET arrivals, asylum seekers, protected persons, and more. Services are free of charge. 

Supporting Our Youth (SOY) is a community development program of Toronto’s Sherbourne Health Centre that supports the health and well-being of 2SLGBTQ youth under 29– many of whom are homeless, racialized and newcomers to Canada.

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.

For LGBTQ+ refugees or newcomers in Toronto, Rainbow Connect at The Neighbourhood Group provides a safe and welcoming space to make new friends, enjoy chats and celebrations, and build networks and skills for free.

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.

Based in Surrey and Vancouver, VAST helps newcomers who have endured torture, trauma, and political violence to receive counselling, documentation, education, and referrals. They specialize in preparing clients for the refugee claim and settlement process. They also have trauma-informed services in an LGBTQ+ welcoming environment, and they work alongside Rainbow Refugee and MOSAIC’S I Belong group for queer refugees. Through their Refugee Mental Health Line, they provide consultation and referrals to sponsorship groups sponsoring LGBTQ+ refugees.

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.

The Newcomer Youth Program at West Neighbourhood House provides free mental health support to newcomer youth between the ages of 13-24. Services can be provided in English, Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi, Tagalog, Spanish, French, Ilonggo, Nepali, and Mandarin.

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.

For Ottawa-based youth interested in free mental health services, the Youth Services Bureau has a free youth mental health walk-in clinic at 1355 Bank Street.  This is open to youth aged 12-20, or parents of teenagers. In addition, for those who are experiencing a crisis, they can call the Youth Services Bureau 24/7 Crisis Line at 613-260-2360 at any time.

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Housing Support

Through Ottawa’s Action Housing/Housing Help, newcomers in the Ottawa area can get assistance for finding housing in their ward.

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.

For emergency shelter referrals, the City of Toronto’s Central Intake line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 416-338-4766 or 1-877-338-3398 or by calling 311. This is a city-operated service that offers referrals to emergency shelter and other overnight accommodation, as well as information about other homelessness services.

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.

Located in Ottawa, Cornerstone provides free supportive housing services for women. They are committed to providing housing and support for women and gender-diverse people that is inclusive and reduces barriers.

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 this website, refugees can be matched with hosts offering affordable housing in Canada.

Based in Ontario, Maxsold is a website where people can find furniture, clothing, and more at a discounted price through auctions and estate sales.

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.

Located in east Toronto, Nellies Place provides free shelter, advocacy, and housing support for women. They operate programs and services for women and children who have and are experiencing violence, poverty and/or homelessness. Through the Transitional Housing Support Program, women are assisted with the application process for subsidized housing in Toronto as well as other surrounding municipalities such as Peel, Durham, and York Region, and given assistance with community resources, finding furniture, and safety planning. Nellies also provides an Empowerment Self-Defense Program that uses games to teach about finding your voice, situational removals, and more.

Oasis Centre des femmes (OCF) is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing services to Francophone women (16 years and up) who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual assault. They offer counselling and support services to French-speaking women survivors of violence living in the Greater Toronto and the region of Halton-Peel. 

Refugee Housing Canada connects refugees with homeowners in Toronto and Vancouver who have spare rooms in their homes. Homeowners can open their homes to those in need, while refugees can rest easy knowing they have a temporary home while they start their new life in Canada, at below market price.

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.

Across Canada, The Salvation Army has an increasing number of transitional housing units that offer a safe, supportive and semi-independent environment where people can rebuild their lives and make the transition from homelessness and marginalization to stable housing and meaningful engagement with the community. Transitional Housing Programs also provide job training and job search assistance, computer access, life-skills coaching, and health and wellness activities.

For a list of housing and support resources to women in crisis that involves a network of emergency beds and longer-term housing, including Amelie House, Elisa House, and Mary’s Home.

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.

Free over-the-phone and video-based housing law summary advice for 2SLGBTQ+ communities for a one-time virtual consultation, by appointment only.

 

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Legal Support

Ottawa’s Capital Rainbow Refuge has the Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit, which can help claimants prepare their claims based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and/or sex characteristics.

Created by CLEO, this is a free resource designed to help refugee claimants know what to expect at a hearing.

Free legal services for 1) children aged 18 and under, and 2) homeless youth under 25 in Ontario.

Funded by Legal Aid Ontario, Toronto’s Kensington-Bellwoods gives people living on a low income in the Kensington-Bellwoods neighbourhood free legal services for fighting eviction, workers’ rights, and immigration issues such as matters of sponsorship, citizenship and Humanitarian and Compassionate applications, Family Reunification, Permanent Resident applications for Protected Persons and Pre-Removal Risk Assessments, and more.

For Ontario residents seeking legal advice, this directory lists lawyers and paralegals across the province. Searches can be made according to languages spoken by the paralegal or lawyer.

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 Ontario to determine eligibility and to find the clinic closest to you.

Developed by Legal Information Ontario, LegalLine.ca is a free, easy-to-understand legal information resource for Ontario residents. This covers over 40 areas of law, and provides information on a variety of topics. After obtaining legal information, individuals can access the professional assistance they require.

Based out of the Centre for Social Innovation, these two lawyers are both former immigrants.  They specialize in immigration and refugee law in Canada. They accept Legal Aid on a case-by-case basis, depending on the complexity of the file and the firm’s capacity. For lower income individuals and families, there are 2-month or 4-month payment plans.

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.

They provide legal help and information about legal rights to people who live in East Scarborough, from Midland Avenue east to the Pickering border, and from Steeles Avenue in the north, to Lake Ontario in the south. For those outside of this catchment, find your local community legal clinic by entering your postal code at this link here. They provide help regarding Housing (Tenant’s Rights), Ontario Works (Welfare), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (Disability), Employment Law, and Immigration Law.

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.

Free over-the-phone and video-based housing law summary advice for 2SLGBTQ+ communities for a one-time virtual consultation, by appointment only.

 

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New Parent Resources

Midwifery care in Ontario is easy to find with this map. Just type an address into the search bar, and use “advanced filters” to refine your search. Note: You do not need a doctor’s referral to have a midwife. Also, since demand for midwifery services exceeds availability, contact a midwifery practice group as early in pregnancy as possible to request care.

Located in Toronto, Brampton, and Flesherton, the Cloth Diaper Library has judgement-free consultations and $1 cloth diaper trial kits. These are suitable for newborns, babies and toddlers. 

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.

Located in Vancouver, this organization works  across Canada with isolated mothers by sending them Home Visitors to help them gain new skills and to strengthen mother-child relationships. Their foundational program, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), is designed to break the cycle of low literacy, social isolation, and to promote engagement in Canadian society. Multicultural HIPPY is a program specially designed for newcomer women.

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. The New Mom Project focuses on safe sleeping environments, safe car seats to bring baby home from the hospital, carriers or strollers to reduce isolation,  seasonal clothing for the infant, and more.

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

The Parent-Child Mother Goose Program focuses on t parents and their babies and young children using rhymes, songs, and stories. Parents gain skills and confidence which can enable them to create positive family patterns during their children’s crucial early years and to give their children healthy early experiences with language and communication. The Program is aimed at families in need of support for a variety of reasons. There is no cost to the parents who participate.

2SLGBTQ Family Resources Program aims to provide comprehensive information to individuals within the 2SLGBTQ community who are considering family building. They aim to offer a range of resources and guidance to help navigate the various pathways to parenthood.

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.

With free prenatal nutrition and family nurturing, this centre in downtown Toronto supports the health and wellbeing of families from all backgrounds. Programs are funded by Ontario Public Health.

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 on socialization, volunteer companionship, prevention of elder abuse, and more, this Scarborough-based centre has many free supportive programs for seniors.

Located in Mississauga, Brampton, and Oakville Indus Community Services is dedicated to helping seniors stay in their homes by promoting healthy aging, an active lifestyle, and more. Their health services for seniors include friendly visiting, caregiver support groups, assisted bathing services, foot care services, and seniors’ wellness groups. 

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.

This is a government-funded dental care program that provides free, routine dental services for low-income seniors in Ontario who are 65 years of age or older. Dental prosthetics (prosthodontic services) will be partially covered.

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. 

COSS (Crisis Outreach Service for Seniors) is a mobile crisis response team consisting of social workers, nurse practitioners and behaviour consultants, and a geriatric psychiatrist. Seniors can access free assistance or they can be referred.

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Technology Resources

Academic Skills Upgrading (AU) provides adults with support to improve their reading, writing, numeracy, communications, and digital technology skills. Participants learn in small class sizes with fellow students who are preparing to pursue one of five goal paths: post-secondary, secondary school credit, apprenticeship, employment, or independence. Laptops are provided during the program, and the program is free to attend and offered in a hybrid mode. Courses run for six months.

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.

COSTI’s Expressway Cybersecurity Bridging program in partnership with Sheridan College prepares internationally training Information Technologists for jobs in the Cybersecurity sector, including Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician, Cybersecurity Incident Analyst/Responder, and Cybersecurity Analyst. The program includes four weeks of pre-employment preparation in a virtual setting followed by over 12 weeks of online Cybersecurity training and ongoing case management for up to 12 months. Individuals who qualify, may receive a full tuition subsidy (some conditions apply).

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

Every Wednesday, from 4-8pm, Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum has free admission to their galleries. 

On Wednesdays from 6-9pm, the Art Gallery of Ontario has free admission nights.

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. 

On the third Tuesday night of the month, the ROM has free admission. This includes access to all galleries.

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.

With free skating lessons and free skate rentals until the end of January, Union Station is hosting an outdoor skating experience that could interest many newcomers to Toronto!

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