Together Project
Resources
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Resources

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This page is dedicated to sharing resources for Welcome Group volunteers to support newcomer households. Check back regularly for new programs, guides, events and more.

Education Support Guide

This guide will help volunteers empower newcomer parents and young learners to better understand and engage the education system.

Language Practice Guide

This guide is to help volunteers navigate language practice sessions with newcomers. It’s based on best practices and experiences of Welcome Groups and tips from professional language tutors.

Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants

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

Welcome

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

Connect

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

Empower

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

Belong

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

Resource Categories

Monthly Updates

English Language Support

Health Resources

Financial Support

Housing and Social Services

Employment and Newcomer Services

Education and Youth Support

New Parent Support

Food Support

Internet Resources

October Updates

After School Programs and Tutoring Support

Book a Language Assessment with YMCA
YMCA provides newcomers in Canada with English and French online and in-person language assessments for government-funded programs at no cost. More information here: https://ymcagta.org/employment-and-immigrant-services/immigrant-services/language-assessment-and-referral-services

TDSB Mental Health Support
The TDSB is helping support students’ mental health during the return to school, this includes changing routines, separation anxiety, and the social and emotional challenges of the new school year. For more information on mental health support for TDSB students visit: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Elementary-School/Supporting-You/Mental-Health-Well-being

Student Well-Being Kit: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1TMGDK8X2qJKCoPoj9aY0PfVoLPVKSG5OhmmAGdrIkUY/edit#slide=id.p

Parent and Caretaker Well-Being Kit:
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bTEHh8o37YX-lJJeTaftGC39ZVWl4dmIvm15MYJYDwY/edit

PDSB Be Well Support Line For Students
The Be Well Support Line provides students in Kindergarten to grade 12 and caregivers of students under age 14 with direct access to registered mental health professionals from social work and psychology departments.

Students and caregivers can access non-crisis individual consultation, brief individual counselling and identity-specific support, and information and referrals to school and community mental health services.

The support team is ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse and include (but not limited to) professionals that identify as Black, 2SLGBTQ+, South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Polish.

Access the support line by: Phone: (905) 890-1010 ext. 2608; Email: bewell@peelsb.com; Submit an online service request: bit.ly/PDSB-BWSL

English Language Support

Culture Link Virtual Language Circles

CultureLink provides newcomers with a safe learning environment, along with mentors to help practice English. This is free program for conventional refugees and is offered for different levels and at a variety of times in the week. Learn more here.

Newcomer Women’s Services of Toronto Offering Online ESL Lessons

The classes are Monday to Thursday 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM and on Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM for women only. During COVID-19, we’re offering our services virtually. If you have questions, contact: elp@newcomerwomen.org

Toronto Public Library Resources

These resources from the Toronto Public Library can help newcomers practice English. A library card is needed to access all these resources. If you do not have a library card, you can sign up online for an Instant Digital Card here.

  • Mango Languages helps newcomers learn English from home with interactive lesson plans.
  • Road to IELTS has interactive English lessons, practice tests and answers for those applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment.
  • ESL E-Books can be accessed online and used to practice English with volunteers. There are also audiobooks for practicing English on your own.

Engoo – Language Practice Materials
Plenty of language practice resources are available on this site, free to use and grouped by category and language level. Feel free to use these materials for language learning practice sessions with newcomers. https://engoo.com/app/materials/en

Learning English With Online Games

This is a list of websites that offer games for newcomers to practice English, these are especially great for children/youth learning English:

Health Resources

Ontario COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool

This questionnaire is designed to help assess your risk factors for COVID-19 infection and to provide guidance on how to keep yourself, your family, and your community healthy.

Toronto Region COVID-19 Assessment Centres

A number of dedicated assessment centres have been established across Toronto to facilitate assessment and testing.

Free Virtual Doctor

Cover Health is providing virtual care services to anyone in Ontario. They can serve most needs of patients all from the comfort of your home.

TeleHealth Ontario

Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Free Mental Health Counselling

Clients can self-refer to programs and find the appropriate supports needed to help cope with the stress, isolation and anxiety. Online iCBT (Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is supported by therapists and available in English and French.

Access Alliance Mental Health Mondays
Access Alliance is providing weekly online mental health promotion through instructed crafts, guest talks and activities. Join the program by following @accessallianceyouth on Instagram on Mondays at 3pm to 4pm.

Bounce Back Mental Health Support

BounceBack is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.

What’s Up Mental Health Drop-In

Immediate mental health counselling for children, youth, young adults and their families, and families with infants is available at the What’s Up Walk-In®Clinic. Counselling sessions are available by phone & video. To access, call Mental Health T.O. at 1-866-585-MHTO (6486) to be connected to a counsellor.

Financial Support

Benefits Finder

Answer questions to get a customized list of benefits for which you may be eligible. The Benefits Finder may suggest benefits from federal, provincial or territorial governments, and does not collect or track your information. The more questions you answer, the more customized your results will be.

Financial Relief Navigator

Learn about the help you can get to raise your income or lower your expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Toronto COVID-19 Income Support

This page offers a list of resources which can be used to help minimize those impacts and help get Toronto residents back on their feet.

Ontario Works Assistance

Ontario Works provides money for food, shelter and other costs to people in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria. Applications for Ontario Works financial assistance is available online and by phone 416-338-8888.

Ontario Disability Support Program

If you have a disability and need help with your living expenses, you may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). If you are not already receiving support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can apply for emergency assistance online.

Canada Child Benefit

The Canada child benefit (CCB) is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.

Child Care Fee Subsidy

A Child Care Fee Subsidy helps a family with the cost of licensed child care. There is a waitlist, so apply as soon as possible. You can apply for a fee subsidy as soon as you know you are pregnant or expecting a child through adoption.

Housing and Social Services

Tenant Portal

This new portal organizes tenant information in one place.  Tenants, advocates and service providers can access the portal to learn about tenant rights and responsibilities, how to fight an eviction, City rental assistance and eviction prevention programs, the RentSafeTO program, accessing emergency housing and more. The portal can be accessed at: www.toronto.ca/renterhelp

Toronto Rent Bank

Rent relief is available to low-income households who are in rental arrears or need to move to more suitable housing.  The Toronto Rent Bank Program, funded by the City of Toronto provides interest-free loans to cover rental arrears and rental deposits.

City of Toronto Resource Map

This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including ‘open’ Food Services and agencies. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Toronto Support for Seniors and Vulnerable Populations

The City of Toronto lists community agencies which connect senior residents to resources, services, programs, and support.

City of Toronto – Chatbot

The City of Toronto has introduced a chatbot to help residents and businesses with common COVID-19 questions.

Fair Pass Discount Program Applications

The City of Toronto is accepting applications for the Fair Pass Discount Program. Residents can confirm their eligibility and apply for the Fair Pass Program online at www.toronto.ca/transitdiscount or over the phone by calling 416-338-8888.

Employment and Newcomer Services

COSTI Employment Webinars/Training

Register for COSTI Employment Services information sessions and learn about their services, how they can help you with job search and to market yourself in the job market. Program calendar.

YMCA Newcomer Information Centre

The YMCA Newcomer Information Centre offers One-on-One Live Chats providing customized settlement plans. Information and Referrals on Government Benefits, Immigration and Citizenship, Employment, Education and Training, Credential Assessment, Language Training, Health, Housing and much more. Various in-house and guest-speaker Webinars covering topics of Life in Canada, Study in Canada, and Work in Canada. Virtual Community Connection activities to networking and practice language skills. An Online Forum to post questions and get professional answers from our team of specialists.

LIP Employment Flyer Bank

Employment related programs and services all listed under one roof. An initiative of Toronto West LIP employment resource connections action group.

Employment Ontario

Use this search engine to find available work, training, upgrading, and apprenticeship opportunities. Please note that Ontario Works will cover the costs of certain training programs but typically will only pay for one program.

Employment and Settlement Webinars by Newcomer Women’s Services

The Employment and Settlement teams at Newcomer Women’s Services offer regular webinars. They’re free—and in the case of the employment webinars—they’re open to everyone. Settlement webinars are open to permanent residents, convention refugees, naturalized Canadian Citizens, refugee claimants, international students, temporary foreign workers, and approved Ontario provincial nominees. Topics include: housing, resume building, interview prep, and personal finances. Look at their schedule here.

Polycultural Newcomer Seniors Activities

For seniors to meet people and engage in activities weekly on Wednesdays from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Activities include are education, cards and games, yoga, special events and more. Call 905-403-8860 ext. 5231 to register or email: nrashid@polycultural.org

Access Alliance Seniors Cardio Interval Training Weekly Classes
In this exercise class, you will incorporate body weight movements in set intervals to promote cardio respiratory fitness. Dance to old classics or recent hits in a continuous and rhythmic manner. Classes are taught online and facilitated by a Registered Kinesiologist. Email ccalero@accessalliance.ca to register.

Newcomer Kitchen Program

“Willing to Work” Women’s Food Business Training Program. A 12 week (2 full days a week) program learning ways to start a small food business. Activities may include making take-out meals, developing a produce for sale at a farmers market, creating gift baskets, hosting cooking classes, or catering for a party. Program includes classes and also real experiences making and selling food. Contact info@newcomerkitchen.ca for more info. Start dates: October 7th and January 4th 2022. Minimum Requirements: Newcomer to Canada (under 5 years), English minimum level: Canadian Benchmark Level 4, must have PR status.

Ready for My Refugee Hearing

Ready For My Refugee Hearing aims to empower every person seeking refugee protection in Canada to be as prepared as possible for their refugee hearing. It brings together two successful programs aimed at achieving this mission: The Preparation Guide and READY Tours.

Education and Youth Support

Ontario Ministry of Education Online Learning for Elementary and Secondary Students

Find supplementary resources for elementary and secondary students to practice math and literacy skills and learn at home.

Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS)

The first few years in Canada can be difficult and particularly challenging to navigate the Canadian education system. The Settlement Education Partnership in Toronto (SEPT) is a partnership between Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), (TDSB) and (TCDSB). SEPT provides a program called Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) and CultureLink is one of the agencies that provides services in the south-west area of Toronto.

SWIS Program workers support newcomer families in accessing free government and community resources in the area, including; English language, employment and immigration support, children, youth, and senior services. Families and youth work with CultureLink Staff to create group sessions for newcomers! SWIS are located in over 40 schools in Toronto and CultureLink delivers SWIS in Cluster 5 as a part of Settlement and Education Partnerships in Toronto (SEPT).

For more information please contact: Shelina Rangwala, SWIS Worker Program Tel. 416 588 6288 email: srangwala@culturelink.ca

BrainPop

BrainPop is a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12, together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music.

Tynker: Coding for Kids

Tynker is an educational programming platform aimed at teaching children how to make games and programs.

Outschool

8000+ video chat classes for K-12 science, art, mindfulness, english, social studies, life skills, and more!

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Classes in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

Stay, Play & Learn at Home

Free, high-quality 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 age groups – many activities are for everyone.

Arts at Home

Arts@Home brings Toronto’s arts sector together for you—delivered straight to your home. Many of Toronto’s leading arts organizations are reaching beyond traditional practice to come together and freely share digital content that bring the arts home for you.

Virtual School Day

Over 100 free live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favourite Fairy Tales”.

YMCA Fitness and Fun Classes

60 free online workout classes & free online programs for kids. Here: https://ymca360.org

Polycultural Virtual Arts and Crafts Classes for Kids 

For children between 6-13 years old, arts and crafts classes are available every Thursday with us by contacting 416-261-4901 ext. 3221 OR gkamalenthiram@polycultural.org

Programs and Resources for Newcomer Families

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

Kids At Home – Kids Up Front

As kids gear up to head back to school, Kids at Home has something for all interests! Craft your own back to school supplies or enjoy a new take on space with creative art projects. Discover a new favourite story with Unite for Literacy’s collection of narrated storybooks. Learn how to practice self-care in turbulent times with a month-long calendar.

Homework Help Program

A virtual drop-in program offering personalized homework support for all students between JK and Grade 7. This program is designed specifically for children currently attending virtual school who require some extra support with their subjects in a small-scale environment. Online via Zoom, please note you must register in order to receive the Zoom password. Monday to Friday, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. (students may drop-in at any time). To register and receive Zoom password: Please email Tyheriah at  tyheriahph@westnh.org

After School Programs and Tutoring Support

New Parent Support

EarlyON Drop-In Program

This is a free virtual online program where parents and caregivers with children 0-6 years of age can join in together to enjoy 60 minutes of fun-filled exiting activities such as singing songs and rhymes, show and tell, creative and sensory play, and story time. Email kcooke@accessalliance.ca to register.

New Mom Project

The New Mom Project is operated within a community health framework with a focus to provide safe sleeping environments, safe car seats to bring baby home from the hospital, carriers or strollers to reduce isolation and provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, as well as seasonal clothing for the infant. The project also has a Facebook group to give and receive free donated baby items.

Diaper Bank

The Diaper Bank collects donated diapers (and cash donations for the purchase of diapers) that are distributed free-of-charge to low-income households in Toronto through existing service providers, including local food banks, daycare centres, social service agencies and shelters.

One Diaper Canada

We are a cloth diaper charity that provides cloth diaper kits to families who self identify as needing financial assistance.

Food Support

The Good Neighbour Project

This is a network of community members that are willing assist with delivering supplies and groceries to healthcare workers, those with disabilities, compromised immune systems, accessibility barriers, and the elderly, across the GTA.

Friendly Neighbour Hotline

Free pick-up and delivery service for groceries and household items. Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm available in 180+ languages. Call 1-855-581-9580. Available to seniors in low-income housing in Toronto.

Food Assets Map

A map created by Food Security Team at Agincourt Community Service. Up to date information on food banks, free/low cost meals, delivery services, and supermarkets. Access map here.

The People’s Pantry

A grassroots initiative providing home-cooked meals or grocery bundles to families and individuals in the GTA who are struggling financially due to COVID. Meals or groceries delivered 100% free of charge. More information: Here.

Afri-Can Food Basket

Individuals and families within the African, Caribbean, Black community in Toronto who need help getting food because of COVID. Complete the form: Here. More info: https://blackfoodtoronto.com/

Internet Resources

The following are options for accessing free or low cost Internet in Toronto.

Rogers Communications Expands Connected for Success Program

Rogers Communications announced it is expanding eligibility for its Connected for Success program to help bridge the digital divide for more Ontarians. The high-speed, low-cost Internet program is now expanding to new qualifying customers receiving income support through Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and for senior Ontarians receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). It is available everywhere in Ontario that Rogers offers Internet service.  

Eligible customers can apply through the Connected for Success website and they must provide verification that they are receiving government financial assistance under one of the five qualifying programs.

Wireless Toronto Non-Profit – Free Internet Hotspot Project

Anyone in Toronto with  a valid email address can go to a Wireless Toronto location – see map. Use your device to connect to the network called wirelesstoronto.