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|1.||What can the YMCA of Greater Toronto do for me as a newcomer to Canada?|
|2.||What is the eligibility for your programs and are there any fees for your services?|
|3.||What kind of volunteer opportunities are available through YMCA Newcomer Settlement Programs?|
|4.||Does the YMCA offer free temporary accommodation for newcomers?|
|5.||What is the difference between LINC and ESL?|
|6.||What type of settlement information can I receive from the YMCA?|
|7.||I have an appointment for an English assessment at the Language Assessment and Referral Centre. What will happen that day?|
|8.||If I join the NYLD (Newcomer Youth Leadership Development) program will I get volunteer hours for every meeting I attend? May I bring a friend?|
|9.||Can the YMCA help me file my tax return?|
|10.||Can the YMCA help me prepare for the citizenship test?|
The YMCA offers multiple programs specifically for newcomers to support their settlement in Canada. YMCA Newcomer Settlement Programs help newcomers by providing one-on-one settlement information and referral; language assessment and referrals to English language classes; programs and services for newcomer youth; information sessions on topics such as settlement, education, employment, finance, Canadian culture and special interest; a free income tax clinic during tax-filing season; form-filling assistance with essential documents such as for your health card, S.I.N. card, government benefits or citizenship; and volunteer opportunities.
Newcomers can also access other programs offered through the YMCA in the areas of child care; health, fitness and recreation; camps; international programs; youth outreach and intervention; family development; youth leadership; education; and employment.
YMCA Newcomer Settlement Programs are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The YMCA offers programming for newcomers who are permanent residents (landed immigrants or convention refugees). Services are free to all eligible participants. Refugee claimants, Canadian citizens, and temporary residents (students, workers, and visitors) can receive basic information and referral and are provided with options accessible to them.
Opportunities are available in each of the programs. Volunteers contribute time in the areas of administration, resource support, research and development, English tutoring, outreach and promotion, committees, meetings, focus groups, special events, and in some cases, customized volunteer positions are available for those with specific skills.
Additional opportunities also exist in other departments within the organization. Find out more about YMCA volunteer opportunities.
The YMCA of Greater Toronto does not offer temporary housing for newcomers. The YMCA offers temporary shelter and supportive housing for male youth in Toronto and transitional housing for youth and young adults in Peel. Learn more about YMCA housing and shelter for youth.
The YMCA Newcomer Information Centre can provide you with options for low-cost hotels/motels, temporary housing, and information for apartment hunters.
LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) is funded by the federal government, (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), and is free for all participants. This program and its curriculum are specifically designed for newcomers to Canada (landed immigrants and convention refugees) who are 18 years of age or older and able to prove immigration status. Eligible newcomers receive a free language assessment based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks and a referral to the most appropriate language training program. The LINC program has 7 levels in addition to literacy classes and over 100 locations in Toronto.
ESL (English as a Second Language) is funded by the provincial government. These classes are open to immigrants as well as refugee claimants, Canadian citizens, and individuals with a valid Minister’s Permit. Temporary residents (workers, students and visitors) who wish to attend ESL classes are required to pay a course fee. ESL classes are run by local school boards and other organizations, and they also include specialized programs such as bilingual ESL, citizenship preparation, TOEFL preparation, English for business skills, and other specialty classes. Language assessments for ESL classes are conducted by ESL training providers.
The YMCA Newcomer Information Centre can provide you with one-on-one settlement support on the topics of: employment, education, health, housing, arts, child care, legal services, social services, consumer information, recreation and community. Information on government programs and benefits, essential documents, and translation and interpretation is also offered. Resources are available in English or French and some in other languages.
The YMCA also offers a diverse range of information sessions for newcomers and service providers. Sessions support the settlement process by introducing newcomers to Canadian culture and society through a variety of topics. Learn more about YMCA newcomer information sessions.
Your language assessment will be conducted in English and last anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours, depending upon your language ability. Those who accompany you (family/friends/companions) need to be prepared to wait a while. You will be assessed in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing by a certified English language assessor. Language assessment is essentially a snapshot of your overall language performance at a particular moment, and there is no need to study for your assessment. Paper/electronic dictionaries are not permitted during the test. Once you have completed the assessment, you will be assigned the appropriate level and referred to a free LINC school or other language training. Once you are enrolled in a LINC class, your LINC instructor will be able to promote you from one LINC level to the next, up to Level 7, depending on your language progress and readiness.
Learn more about the YMCA Language Assessment and Referral Centre.
As a participant of the program you will benefit in many ways from your attendance at weekly meetings, such as developing your leadership skills, taking part in group activities or special events, and learning more about Canadian culture. You will have opportunities to do volunteer work in the YMCA or with community partners and other organizations. Any time you participate in a volunteer activity, you will receive volunteer hours. You will not receive volunteer hours for regular program activities.
We always welcome new members. However, you must speak to a Newcomer Youth Advisor before bringing a new friend. The advisor will let you know if there is space and in which case your friend can join immediately, or if it’s full in which case your friend will need to wait on a waiting list until space becomes available.
Learn more about the YMCA Newcomer Youth Leadership Development program.
YMCA Korean Community Services offers a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinic every year for low-income newcomers to Canada during tax-filing season. The clinic runs from February 1 to April 30, and requires an appointment. Please call the location closest to you at 416-538-9412 in Toronto West or 647-288-0249 in North York, if you need this service. More information about this program is available from the website of the Canada Revenue Agency.
Learn more about YMCA Korean Community Services.
Yes, there are a variety of ways that we can help you prepare. The Newcomer Information Centre’s Discovering Canada information sessions can provide you with a good understanding of Canadian culture and society and cover many of the topics that appear on the citizenship test. The North York Newcomer Information Centre also offers a weekly workshop called, Breaking Down Barriers, that is led by newcomer participants and explores Canadian identity. In Korean Community Services, citizenship preparation classes are offered every week in Korean. Help completing the application for citizenship is also available.