Employment services for newcomer women in the GTA
For a general discussion of Employment Services available to both women and men, see this post on our website
Many employment services have programs for women, but only a few have (or have recently had) specific programs for refugee newcomer women. Employment services in the GTA that do have programs for newcomer women (even if not specifically for refugees) may include:
- ACCES Employment
- COSTI Immigrant Services
- Job Start
- Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto
- Rexdale Women’s Centre
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.
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 program for refugee newcomer women, specifically, but it is food-related only.
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.)
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:
- FCJ Refugee Centre, Toronto
- Centre for Immigrant and Community Services
- Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre
- Skills for Change
- Working Women Community Centre
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.
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 every 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
- Entrepreneurship and small business
- Female empowerment
- Food preparation
- Microsoft Office skills
- Transitions to Success
- Retail certificate
- 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:
- Home child care
- Food handler
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. It seems reasonable to expect that some of these new programs will be launched before the end of 2019.
Programs in Vancouver
In Vancouver, Tayybeh, a food company and social enterprise for Syrian women chefs, offers both catering services and food truck menus.
Further reading on employment challenges faced by newcomer women
- How far have immigrant women advanced in the workplace? (Mar 8/19; HR Reporter)
- Immigrant women in Canada earn less, face more employment challenges: government report (April 12, 2018, Toronto Star)
- Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report – Immigrant Women (Government of Canada – Statistics Canada)
- “No Canadian Experience?” Barriers and Deskilling of Immigrant and Refugee Women in Grand Erie [Ontario] (2014, CERIS)