Workshops, Information Sessions and Pre-Employment Training
PIA offers a variety of workshops and information sessions every year. These sessions teach skills or provide instruction on how to achieve settlement goals. PIA also offers a number of workshops that are intended to teach participants employment-related skills. We refer to this type of workshop as ‘pre-employment training’.
Information about upcoming workshops and information sessions is provided on this website on the Workshop Calendar page. Our workshops and information sessions are free. However space is limited and it is generally necessary to register in advance. Information on how to register, as well as classroom locations, dates and times, is provided on bulletins that can be viewed by clicking the links on the monthly Workshop Calendar.
The following is a listing of workshops, information sessions and pre-employment training that PIA has offered in the past and will continue to offer on an ongoing basis whenever possible.
Driver License Written Test Preparation Class
This workshop helps participants prepare for the written ‘rules of the road and traffic signs’ test that new drivers must pass in order to obtain a ‘G1’ license under the graduated licensing program established in Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. It also provides instruction on the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Participants attend three weekly two-hour classes.
Financial Literacy – Money Matters
This workshop, which is presented in partnership with ‘ABC Life Literacy Canada’ (which is sponsored by the TD Bank group), discusses money management techniques and presents financial advice in simple, straight-forward language suitable for newcomers and new Canadians. The material in this workshop is presented in two modules. Each module has a corresponding student workbook and is covered in one two-hour classroom session.
The first module deals with banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Canada. It examines the services that these institutions provide, including savings accounts, credit cards and debit cards, and how to best use these services to manage savings, loans, bill payments and other financial requirements.
The second module deals with credit and discusses how to borrow money and how to handle debt. It provides tips on how to build a good credit rating and explores the many different ways in which money can be borrowed (personal loans, credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages, etc.).
Music Classes for Parents and Children
PIA, in partnership with the ‘Rainbow Songs Foundation’, offers a series of eight one-hour music classes for parents with children up to five years old. The instructor leads the singing of children’s songs with guitar accompaniment. Children accompany these songs with baby/toddler friendy instruments such as drums and maracas. Parents receive a free CD after attending three sessions with their children.
Citizenship Preparation Classes
This information session, which is presented in partnership with PCIC (The Parkdale Community Information Centre) provides participants with basic information about Canada and Canadian society. The material presented includes:
– Citizenship rights and responsibilities
– Canadian geography, history and symbols
– Canadian government, voting and elections
This is knowledge that is required to pass the ‘Canadian Citizenship Test’ – a key requirement of becoming a Canadian citizen. Class participants are able to take a mock citizenship test to see how well they have learnt the required material. This information session is presented in six weekly two-hour sessions.
Community Child Minder Training
This workshop is presented in partnership with:
• The Four Villages – Community Health Centre
• Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre
• Parkdale Community Health Centre
This workshop is presented to enable participants to develop the skills required to work as qualified child minders. It also helps participants acquire First Aid/CPR and Food Handling certification. It provides participants with basic knowledge on child development, child safety, nutrition and health. Participants attend a fifteen week training program which includes a fifteen hour practicum in a child care centre.
Hands-on and Instructor-led Computer Classes
In six weekly sessions the participants of this workshop learn basic computer concepts and skills such as creating, saving, copying, transferring and deleting files. They also learn how to use standard computer applications to create resumes and business letters, and learn how to send and receive email and holiday e-cards.
Community and Cultural Events
PIA, in partnership with other Parkdale community agencies, takes great pride in hosting or participating in a variety of annual community and cultural events intended for both newcomers and for the general public. These events not only help to integrate the newcomers we serve into the Parkdale community, they also celebrate the significant contributions that, over the years, a wide variety of newcomer communities have made to Parkdale and to Canadian society in general and the rich cultural diversity that has, as a result, become one of our greatest assets.
The community and cultural events that PIA holds or participates in include:
Refugee Rights Day (April)
Refugee Rights Day celebrations are held by community agencies in Canada every April 4th to commemorate the landmark 1985 ‘Singh Decision’ by the Supreme Court of Canada. In this decision the Supreme Court determined that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also applies to and protects the fundamental rights of refugees and refugee claimants. As a result refugee claimants in Canada are now entitled to an oral hearing and other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law.
To commemorate Refugee Rights Day PIA collaborates with Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) to host a panel discussion on the legacy of the ‘Singh Decision’ and the current state of refugee rights and the refugee approval process in Canada. In addition to presentations by various panelist this event also includes testimonials from newcomers who have gone through the refugee approval process, various petitions related to the Refugee rights and a question and answer session with the panelists.
Newcomers Day (May)
PIA takes an active part in the ‘Toronto Newcomer Day’ celebrations that are held annually on May 24th in the city of Toronto. City Hall provides a wide range of free, family-friendly activities and entertainment at Nathan Phillips Square on this day to officially welcome newcomers to Toronto and celebrate their contributions. PIA marks this day by inviting newcomers to celebrate and to share their cultural heritage at our locations. Participants come in traditional costumes, offer samples of traditional foods and display projects that they have prepared to showcase their homelands and cultures. PIA staff members also hold group discussions on the value of multiculturalism in Canada. These activities all serve to highlight the fact that our cultural diversity is truly something that should be celebrated.
Canada Day (July)
PIA marks Canada Day in various ways. Our LINC classes prepare projects and create posters on various Canadian themes including: famous Canadians, travel in Canada, Canadian food, Canadian music and Canadian art. The PIA Newcomer Youth Group also gives presentations on Canadian themes and sing Canadian songs including ‘Oh Canada’. Participants also receive small Canadian flags and other Canadian memorabilia.
Festive Season Celebration (December)
PIA, along with the Parkdale Community Information Centre and the Kababayan Community Centre, collaborates with the Parkdale Branch of the Toronto Public Library to present an annual ‘Festive Season Celebration’ in mid-December. This public event, held in the auditorium of the Toronto Public Library, features addresses by local politicians, performances by ethnic music and dance groups, performances of traditional Christmas carols, refreshments and a visit by Santa Claus himself. This is a light-hearted and welcoming taste of the festive season that is always greatly appreciated by newcomers to Parkdale.
Enhanced Citizenship Ceremony (various dates)
Prior to attending official citizenship ceremonies at locations specified by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, citizenship candidates and their guests are invited to attend a pre-citizenship event hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). with contributions from PIA and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Parkdale Community Information Centre (PCIC), the Kababayan Community Centre (KCC) and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). This event includes a group discussion in which various aspects of Canadian citizenship and the citizenship ceremony are discussed.
Other Services & Events
PIA also offers a number of services and events that do not fall into the categories of workshops or community events. These include:
Newcomer Orientation Sessions
PIA provides newcomer orientation sessions as required rather than on a fixed schedule. Newcomer orientation sessions are usually provided to either separate individuals or to family groups. A newcomer orientation session can be arranged either by dropping in to see our intake worker at our main location (1257 Queen Street West, Toronto) or by contacting our intake worker by phone at 416-536-4420 ext. 21. The intake worker will set up an appointment for an orientation session with a PIA worker. Newcomer orientation sessions may last several hours depending on the needs of the participants and may involve multiple meetings. Subjects that may be discussed include:
- services provided by PIA
- relevant settlement information (e.g. how to apply for government services and documents)
- obtaining professional credentials and other employment information
- referrals and how to access other community services
LINC Field Trips and Enrichment Events
In addition to teaching the English curriculum that is the core of the national LINC program our LINC instructors enhance the relevance and cultural content of our English classes by arranging a wide range of field trips around Toronto for our LINC students. Our LINC instructors also hold a number of seasonal cultural enrichment events.
Field trips led by LINC instructors at PIA include trips to:
- Casa Loma
- Toronto City Hall
- The Provincial Legislature
- Fort York and Colborne Lodge
- St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District
- The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and the
AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario)
Enrichment events held by LINC instructors at PIA include:
- Christmas celebrations
- Chinese New Year celebrations
- pancake (and Chinese food) days
- pumpkin ‘makeup’ workshops
- charity garage sales
Free Income Tax Clinic
This income tax clinic prepares tax returns for low income community residents. Currently, to qualify for this clinic participants must earn less than:
- $30,000 (for a single person)
- $35,000 (for a single person with 1 child)
- $40,000 (for a couple)
The above amounts are increased by $2,500 for each additional child under 18.
This clinic is run one evening per week from early March until the end of April every year. In order to have your taxes prepared at this clinic you must book an appointment. It is advisable to book early because this clinic quickly becomes fully booked. For information on clinic dates and times and how to book an appointment see the tax clinic bulletin that appears on the ‘PIA Bulletin Board’ page in March. This bulletin also provides information on the tax documents and receipts that you should bring to this clinic.