About this Website

The Welcome Ontario - Syrian Refugee Assistance Information website was created to bring together trustworthy information for those helping Syrian refugees settle in Ontario. This site was created and is maintained by OCASI, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, whose mission is to achieve equality, access and full participation for immigrants and refugees in every aspect of Canadian life.

If you are looking to volunteer your time or make donations please connect with a local settlement agency.

About the Refugee Settlement Support Project

The Refugee Settlement Support Project aims to address gaps and challenges faced by service providers and refugee sponsors in relation to working together to better meet the needs of sponsored refugees through research, outreach, resource development and training.

Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and carried out by OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, the first phase of the project identified challenges and opportunities related to the resettlement of Syrian refugees to Ontario.

Based on findings and recommendations from focus groups, interviews and surveys with service providers, OCASI set out to address some of the identified gaps by developing a resource library for service providers, organizing webinars and holding roundtable discussions on collaborating with service providers and refugee sponsorship groups across Ontario.

What are settlement services?

Settlement services are for newcomers to Canada. These services will help them settle and adjust to their new life in Canada.

Settlement services include:

  • Interpretation and translation of documents, or help to arrange these services
  • Help filling out forms and applications
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
  • Help finding a job or training
  • Information about other community services, schools and health care

These services are often free. They are always confidential.

Many settlement agencies have staff who can speak languages other than English. If newcomers go to a settlement agency and they do not have the service or language they need, settlement workers will help find another agency that does.

Settlement agencies can also be called immigrant- or refugee-serving agencies, or newcomer services. Some schools and libraries have settlement services too.

Many agencies have eligibility requirements that you have to meet to use their services. For example, you might have to live in a certain area, or have a certain immigration status.

About the Syrian People

In order to prepare for the arrival of the Syrian refugees, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has compiled a profile to help Canadians better understand this group of people who will soon make Canada their home.

About the Syrian Conflict

This information is from Global Affairs Canada

Since the beginning of 2011, protests for democratic reform had been ongoing in various cities across Syria. The Assad regime’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in March 2011 led to many civilian deaths and injuries. Thousands of civilians were detained arbitrarily and there were credible reports of summary executions and torture. The actions of the Assad regime, including its alleged use of chemical weapons, led thousands of Syrians to flee to neighbouring countries resulting in a serious humanitarian crisis in the region.

Since 2013, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been carrying out a campaign of unspeakable atrocities against civilians and all those who oppose it in areas under its control. ISIS has, for example, tortured and beheaded people, raped and sold women into slavery, slaughtered minorities and kidnapped innocent victims.

Since the start of the Syrian uprising, Canada has worked to support the Syrian people. We have been active in calling on the international community to come together and defend the rights of the Syrian people to determine their own future and have contributed to international efforts to mitigate security threats (e.g., support for the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons). Canada is also at the forefront of international efforts to address the significant security threat posed by ISIS, as well as the humanitarian and political challenges it has created.

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