This page is intended to provide useful links and information to groups of people who are sponsoring refugees to come to Canada. Some links are federal or provincial (Ontario), but we have focused on what we know best – the Toronto area.
Becoming a sponsor
- Government of Canada
- Refugee Sponsorship Training Program
- Lifeline Syria (focus on Greater Toronto Area)
Settlement resources – Ontario and Greater Toronto Area
- Welcome Ontario
This comprehensive site is maintained by OCASI, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
- In My Language
At this site you can find guides to Ontario’s education system, legal issues, health services, community services and more, in 11 languages including Arabic.
- City of Toronto Refugee Resettlement Program
Visit this site to find out about upcoming information fairs, and for links to agencies and organizing providing support in the areas of health, education, housing, furniture and clothing, employment, etc.
- Budgeting Tools
Sponsoring groups are encouraged to budget for a year’s expenses within Ontario Works Rates. Refugees who do not become financially self-sufficient after their 12-month sponsorship will be eligible for Ontario Works.
- WeHost Refugees
WeHost is a platform designed to empower Canadians to temporarily host a refugee from 1 day to 2 months by creating successful matches between refugees and Canadian hosts. http://wehostrefugees.org
English as a Second Language (ESL) for Adults (Toronto)
There are many different types of ESL classes, serving different needs, as described in this article.
- Privately sponsored adult refugees, and all adult refugees who have been accepted as permanent residents and are not citizens, are eligible for free Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) classes.
- In Toronto, the YMCA Language Assessment and Referral Service provides immigrants in Canada with English or French language assessment for LINC classes and other government-funded programs. An appointment is necessary.
Education – Elementary and Secondary (Toronto)
For an overview about registering children in public schools, visit: http://english.inmylanguage.org/article.aspx?cat=ELEMSEC&docid=2272437
Specific instructions can be found at the sites of Toronto’s four public boards of education:
- Toronto District School Board
(Toronto’s largest school board, open to all students)
- Toronto Catholic District School Board
(Toronto’s board for students who are themselves Catholic, or are members of a Eastern Rite church, or whose parents are Catholic)
(for Francophone students)
- Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud
(for Francophone students)
Settlement Workers in Schools (Toronto)
Through the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program, information and referral specialists work in schools to support newcomer students and their families. They can be contacted through their schools, or through their home settlement service agencies. Five agencies serve different parts of Toronto, while the Centre Francophone serves students at Francophone schools:
- North York Community House (Etobicoke and North York)
700 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 432
Toronto, ON M6A 3B4
- CultureLink (Etobicoke and southwest Toronto)
2340 Dundas Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, ON M6P 4A9
- Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (east Toronto)
18 Thorncliffe Park Drive
Toronto, ON M4H 1N7
- Catholic Crosscultural Services (Scarborough)
55 Town Centre Court, Unit 401
Toronto, ON M1P 4X4
- Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (north Scarborough)
2330 Midland Avenue
Toronto, ON M1S 5G5
- Centre Francophone de Toronto (city-wide)
20 Lower Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 1K2
- Social Benefits Available Chart
This is a critically important piece of info for Ontario schools doing settlement plans – it gives a good idea what actual resources a family that takes a bit longer to achieve financial independence would have in year two (after the sponsorship ends) – thus creating a good set of assumptions for developing a budget for year one, a requirement of the settlement plan.
- A map of all the High Schools and Elementary schools that offer the TDSB’s Literary Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP) along with organizations that offer settlement services in Arabic.
- Another map of neighbourhoods where high schools and elementary schools offering the LEAP program are closest and near settlement services. These can help bring focus into a housing search.