Immigrants, whether newly arrived or long established, need assistance in their process of settlement and adjustment to our City’s socio-economic and cultural environment. COSTI provides assistance to individuals at different phases of their settlement process. We help recently arrived immigrants and also assist settled immigrants who continue to require social and government services. Our Settlement Counsellors provide supportive one-on-one counselling, referral, information and orientation, interpretation, crisis intervention, and orientation workshops to over 10,000 people every year.
- Referral: Newcomers are linked to community resources and services such as banks, shops, housing, health, cultural, educational, recreational and legal facilities.
- Information and Orientation: Clients are provided with practical guidance to help them cope with the problems of everyday living. Through one-on-one and group orientation sessions, clients are provided with information on banking, taxes, daycare, school registration, shopping, budgeting, food preparation, safety, the police, Canadian values, roles and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.
- Documentation: Clients receive support in completing government documents such as Permanent Residence Cards, Work Permits, OHIP applications, Citizenship applications, applications for sponsorship, Child Tax Benefits, and other related forms.
- Interpretation: Interpretation is offered to newcomers to help them cope with day-to-day life.
- Counselling: Where newcomers are experiencing difficulties in adjusting to life in Canada, Settlement Counsellors identify and address specialized services available through community organizations and government institutions.
- Employment Related Services: Counsellors provide information and referral to services in the community that can assist clients with their employment needs; this includes information about trade/professional certification or recognition of academic credentials.
Staff at the North York Centre location speak Arabic, Farsi, Albanian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Italian, Dari, and French.
Who is Eligible
Services are available to Permanent Residents of Canada, landed immigrants, convention refugees, Minister’s Permit holders, or refugee claimants approved by Citizenship Immigration and Canada.
While this service is mainly for newcomers, other eligible immigrants who need help in adapting to Canadian society and integrating into the community may also qualifty, regardless of how long they have been in Canada.
Contact Details for:
Please refer to locations below.
Phone: Please refer to contact information below.
This Program is Located at:
Welcome Centre Immigrant Services, 9100 Jane Street, Building H
There is no fee for this service.
COSTI's Settlement Services are funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
View Workshop Calendars
I just arrived in Canada and my daughter is sick. What can I do?”
Private health coverage plans are available through various insurance companies.
- Community Health Care Centres will treat patients without documentation.
- A list of these Health Care Centres can be found through www.211.ca.
- Interim Federal Health Care coverage (IFH) is available for refugee claimants who have already applied for refugee status with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
- 416-967-2626 in Toronto, or 1-800-268-7096 ext. 626 in Ontario.
Volunteer Opportunities for Newcomers
Visit their website for details: www.civc.ca or call 1.877.228.CIVC.
Useful Websites for Newcomers
211Toronto is a directory of over 20,000 community, social, health, and government, health services.
Registering Your Child In School
By Ontario law, children under the age of 18 have the right to attend school in the area served by their local board of education. This is true even if they, their parents, or their guardians are in Canada illegally or without status.
You must register your children at the local school or school board office. The school will need your help to decide which grade your child should be in. Check with the local school board to find the location of the nearest school and how to register your child.
Generally, to enroll children in school, it is required to take the child to the local school with the child’s birth certificate/passport; immigration status; immunization/vaccination documents, and any previous school records or documents.
School Board Contact Numbers
263 McCaul Street, Toronto
Toronto Catholic District School Board
80 Sheppard Avenue East, North York
York Region District School Board
60 Wellington Street West, Aurora
York Catholic District School Board
320 Bloomington Road West, Aurora
Tel: 416.221.5050 or Toll-free 1.800.263.2075
When can I apply for Canadian Citizenship?
Children under 18 years of age do not need to have lived in Canada for three years before applying. However, the child must be a permanent resident of Canada to apply for Canadian citizenship. To apply on behalf of your child, you must either already be a citizen or apply for citizenship together as a family.
If you are between 18 and 54, you must provide proof that you can speak and understand English or French. Proof can include:
- Results of a CIC approved third party test
- Transcripts or diploma from a secondary or post-secondary school where you studied in English or French, in Canada or abroad or
- Proof that you meet the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4 or higher in an approved, government funded training program
In addition, you must pass the citizenship knowledge test on the rights, responsibilities and privileges of being a Canadian citizen. The questions are based on information provided in the study guide "Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship". If you are 55 years of age or older, or if you are under 18 at the time of the application, you do not have to take the test.
You can contact the Citizenship and Immigration Canada call centre for information on citizenship andiImmigration: 1-888 242-2100 (telephone number valid in Canada only).
Can I sponsor my parents to Canada?
If you have other questions regarding sponsorship of siblings and other family members, call the COSTI North York Centre at 416.244.0480, or the Corvetti Education Centre at 416.534.7400.
Contact the CIC Call Centre for information on Citizenship and Immigration: 1-888 242-2100 (telephone number valid in Canada only).
Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for more details: www.cic.gc.ca.
How do I apply for a health card in Ontario?
A health card is required by physicians in order to access medical services, and is required for every member of the family.
Coverage will begin three months after the initial application.
You will need three original documents in order to register. They include proof of citizenship or permanent residency, a recent income tax assessment, driver’s license, credit card etc.
For more information, contact the Ontario Ministry of Health in Toronto at 416-314-5518 or visit their website at www.health.gov.on.ca.
How do I apply for subsidized daycare?
The amount that you will pay for child care is based on your income and assets, your expenses, and the number of family members.
To obtain an application package, you can contact the City of Toronto, Children’s Services Kidsline at 416-392-KIDS (5437).