Employment services for newcomer women in the GTA

For a general discussion of employment services available to both women and men, see  our post on Employment Services on this website

Many employment and settlement services have programs for women, but only a few have (or have recently had) specific programs for refugee newcomer women. Employment and settlement services in the GTA that do have programs for newcomer women (even if not specifically for refugees) may include:

ACCES Employment assists job seekers from diverse backgrounds, who are facing barriers to employment, to integrate into the Canadian job market. Its programs specifically for newcomer women focus on empowerment, entrepreneurship, and customer care.

Centre for Education & Training, based in in Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto, offers programs for women including supporting volunteerism and for those in visible minorities.

COSTI Immigrant Services provides immigrant women who face barriers with Canadian labour market information, employment coaching, business English, pre-employment preparation, life skills training and online learning – communication in the work place. Its programs for women focus on life skills, career development and small business initiatives.

Depanneur runs a programs for newcomer women, but these are food-related only.

Indus Community Services provides culturally appropriate services to newcomers, families, women and seniors in Peel region.

Job Start, in April, 2019,  launched a program for newcomer refugee and immigrant women  to prepare for employment.

(Mes Amis used to run the Darzee program for refugee newcomer women, specifically, which was sewing-related, but this is currently not in operation.)

New Circles offers employment skills training, as well as  settlement support, to individuals living on a low-income (with a focus on residents of Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Victoria Village, Taylor-Massey, and Oakridge), as well as all Syrian and other government-assisted refugees across the city.

Newcomers’ Women Services, in central Toronto, focuses its employment help on female clients, although not exclusively to newcomers. Its clients may face other barriers to employment, such as from substance addiction, houselessness, or being LGBTQ, racialized, and/or a person coping with disability.

Rexdale Women’s Centre supports immigrant, refugee and newcomer women and their families to become fully participating members in Canadian society.

YWCA, in Toronto, offers employment assistance specifically for newcomer women, through its JUMP and other programs.

Various social service agencies in the GTA offer pre-employment services, such as resume and cover letter preparation, and help with job searches, applications, and interviews. The following may be of interest, as having a significant clientele among refugee women newcomers:

Many of the employment programs supported by the Government of Ontario, open to both men and women, are run by employment services and for those involving third parties, application may be required to be made through an employment service.

Women newcomer/immigrant to Canada

Programs for newcomer women

Visit the Programs & Events section of this website for upcoming employment- and training-related programs that are specifically tailored for newcomer women (refugee or non-refugee). Use the “Type” filter to select programs for “women”. We also recommend entering the word “women” in the search bar at the top of any page on our website, which will identify numerous other posts that touch on the employment of newcomer women.

Programs in the GTA

The following are examples of training programs which are offered in the GTA and are specifically designed for newcomer women, or even more specifically, for refugee newcomer women:

  • Customer care
  • English language for the workplace
  • Entrepreneurship and small business
  • Female empowerment
  • Food preparation
  • Hospitality
  • Sewing
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Transitions to Success
  • Childcare
  • Retail certificate
  • Self-employment
  • Preparing for work
  • Employment Success

These other programs designed for all refugee newcomers (male and female), may be of particular interest to women who have more limited education and levels of English language proficiency:

  • Beautician
  • Home child care
  • Food handler
  • Hospitality

Of course, women newcomers should also consider the many other employment- and training-related programs available, which are offered to both men and women, and may be of interest.

In December, 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the launch of a three-year Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot program. The goal of the pilot program is to improve the employment and career advancement of visible minority newcomer women in Canada by addressing the barriers they may face – gender- and race-based discrimination, precarious or low income employment, lack of affordable childcare and weak social supports. The government called for expressions of interest for new, innovative programs and services to support visible minority women in accessing the labour market and to build capacity in smaller organizations that serve or are led by visible minority women. In June, 2019, IRCC announced funding under this new program for the following, within the GTA:

  • ACCESS Community Capital Fund, Toronto (Pathways to Prosperity)
  • Centre for Spanish-Speaking Peoples, Toronto (Improving Trans Women employment outcomes)
  • Heritage Skills Development Centre, Scarborough (Scarborough Newcomer Women Jumpstart to Success)
  • Horticultural Trades Association Inc., Milton (Visible Minority Newcomer Women Walking in the Boots toward the Landscape/Horticultural Sector)
  • New Circles Community Services, Toronto (A New Gateway to Employment: Empowering Visible Minority Newcomer Women to overcome barriers to entering the labour force)
  • Newcomer Kitchen, Toronto (Willing to Work (Phase 1 – Finding a Way Forward and Phase 2 – Employment and Beyond)
  • NPower Canada, Toronto (Digital Careers for Visible Minority Newcomer Women)
  • Syrian Canadian Foundation, Etobicoke (Women’s Entrepreneurial Program & Incubator)
  • The Women’s Centre of Halton, Oakville (Employment Supports and Digital Literacy for Visible Minority Newcomer Women in Halton)

Programs in Vancouver

In Vancouver, Tayybeh, a food company and social enterprise for Syrian women chefs, offers both catering services and food truck menus.