PIA – Main Services

Newcomer Counselling and Settlement Assistance

Starting a new life in a new community, especially in another country, is a huge challenge for most people. This is certainly true for many of the newcomers who arrive in Parkdale from all over the world.  Fortunately Canadians live in a society that was founded on immigration and that recognizes the importance of helping newcomers integrate and adapt to their new homes.

The primary goal of the Parkdale Intercultural Association is to provide counselling and settlement assistance to refugees and new immigrants in Parkdale.  We are dedicated to making the adjustment to life in our community as easy and successful as possible.  We recognize that newcomers contribute greatly to our prosperity and to our social and cultural lives and we feel that it is extremely important that all newcomers are given an opportunity to participate in all aspects of life in their new home.
 

Our services are FREE and confidential.

We are able to provide our counselling and settlement assistance services in multiple languages.  Please visit our Languages page to see a listing of the languages in which we are able to serve you.

Our qualified an experienced counsellors and settlement workers help newcomers with the many steps that must be taken to become established in Canada.  Our workers evaluate the needs of all our service users individually.
The settlement services we provide include:
guidance with government assistance programs such as OW
(Ontario Works) and ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program)
assistance with filling out application forms for various government services and programs.  We can provide assistance with applications for a SIN (Social Insurance Number), immigration sponsorship, citizenship and permanent resident status.  We also assist with applications for OHIP, Employment Insurance, Toronto Community Housing and the provincial ‘Second Career’ program.
referrals to free English language assessment and classes
employment counselling.  Our workers provide assistance with:

–   résumé assessment and development

–   interview preparation

–   educational and training opportunities

–   labour market information

–   referrals to employment agencies

referrals to other social agencies and community organizations that provide direct assistance with issues such as housing, health care, legal aid, food banks and
recreational services.
referrals to additional services provided by PIA.  These services include youth and seniors programs, income-tax clinics and various classes and workshops.  For more information about our additional services and the services we provide through organizational partnerships please visit our Additional Services page.

All community members are welcome at PIA.  Please visit the Getting Started and the
Our Locations pages on this website for more information on how to contact us and how to
access our services.

English Classes

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada Program (LINC)

LINC is a language instruction program funded by the federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This program provides basic English classes free-of-charge to eligible adult learners.

The LINC program seeks to break down barriers among new immigrants and helps promote their speedy integration into the social, economic, political and cultural life in Canada.
To be eligible for LINC classes you must:

•   be at least 18 years old
•   take a language assessment test at the YMCA

You are not eligible for LINC class if you are:

•   a Canadian citizen
•   a refugee claimant
•   a work permit holder

 

LINC classes are ongoing – they do not have start dates or end dates.  You may enter a LINC class at any time.  Class instructors will assess student progress and will inform students when they are ready for more advanced classes.
For more information about LINC classes please contact:

Marek Kurek  –  LINC Coordinator    Tel:  416-536-4420  ext. 25

LINC Classes at PIA

Full-Time Classes
No. LINC Level Days and Times Instructor Location
1 1 – 2 Mon. – Fri.   9:00 am – 2:30 pm Flora Soley 1365 Queen St. W.
2 2 – 3 Mon. – Fri.   9:00 am – 2:30 pm Laura Manson 1365 Queen St. W.
3 3 – 4 Mon. – Fri.   9:00 am – 2:30 pm Nancy Larin 1257 Queen St. W.
4 4 – 5 Mon. – Fri.   9:00 am – 2:30 pm Carol Finnie 1365 Queen St. W.
5 5 – 6 Mon. – Fri.   9:00 am – 2:30 pm Marlene Pionteck 1365 Queen St. W.

 

Part-Time Classes
No. LINC Level Days and Times Instructor Location
6 2 – 3 -4
Conversation
Tue. & Thur.  2:30 pm – 6:30 pm Flora Soley 1257 Queen St. W.
7 2 – 3 -4
Conversation
Tue. & Thur.  6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Lucy Tome 1257 Queen St. W.
8 4 – 5 -6
Conversation
Tue. & Thur.  6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Jennifer Piekos 1257 Queen St. W.

Newcomer Youth Program

 

PIA, in partnership with the Parkdale Community Information Centre, has offered the Newcomer Youth Program since 2009. This program reaches out to a wide range of newcomer and vulnerable youth and helps them adjust to life in Canada by providing one-on-one settlement services and a variety of social, academic, recreational and skills-building activities throughout the year. The program has forged partnerships with other community agencies to help expand the impact of the youth program and help it remove the barriers faced by newcomer youth.  The Newcomer Youth program serves over a thousand youth and family clients each year offering both one-on-one supportive counselling and group activity sessions.

 

 

Food Handling Certificate Training Graduation—Partnership with Toronto Public Health, Summer 2014

The Youth Peer Tutoring & Leadership Club

Fridays throughout the year except during national and school holidays

In 2010, a newcomer youth leadership group, the Parkdale Newcomer Youth Committee (PNYC), was formed. The committee is made up of youth volunteers aged 13 to 24 who contribute to make the program more accessible and relevant to the changing needs of newcomer youth. Youth members help run the Peer Tutoring Club as volunteer peer leaders in assisting with the outreach and engagement of the youth participants. This club is run in partnership with the Parkdale branch of the Toronto Public Library and welcomes all youth between the ages of 13 and 24. Club members participate as ‘learners’, ‘peer tutors’ or as ‘leadership members’ and meet every Friday between 4:00 pm and  7:30 pm.  Each member is grouped with peers based upon their needs and learning goals.  Members can work with their peers on academic tasks such as homework and school assignments or they can work to improve other important skills such as English fluency or job interview preparedness.  Members are also able to attend relevant youth-focused skills-building workshops and community events when they are available. By engaging in activities such as team work, discussions, event preparation, presentations and other experiential-based learning activities members develop valuable communication and leadership skills. Participants develop a wide range of life skills and can also earn ‘community hours’ through their participation. Each year between fifteen and twenty PNYC members who have contributed over 50 hours of community service through program activities receive a Community Leadership Certificate.

 

Ryerson University Tour at March Break—2014
Peer Tutoring Club—Fridays at Parkdale library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer Program for Youth (SPY)

Leadership and Volunteer Camp

This annual Youth Summer Camp for Community Engagement and Leadership Deelopment is aimed at newcomer youth between the ages of 13 and 24.  It is offered in partnership with PCIC’s Youth Program and is managed/facilitated by PIA’s Youth Settlement Worker. This seven-week summer program is a peer-based experiential learning opportunity in which youth who have more skills and who have been in Canada longer mentor the less-experienced newcomer youth with whom they are matched. Participants who are able to fully engage in the program activities are able to achieve maximum outcomes.  Camp participants meet twice a week for integrated sessions of experiential-based interactive activities that develop leadership and employment skills. These activities, which include art, sports, communication, community engagement and other enjoyable and educational tasks, also immerse the participants in important aspects of Canadian society. This summer program also hires a number of local Parkdale youth to help them gain meaningful first-time work experience.

 

Youth camp participants learning how to make buttons
A leadership debrief and training session
SPY 2015 Team at Greenest City Garden
SPY 2014 Team at Fringe Festival—Summer
Youth Employment Workshop at YES—March Break Activity
Youth Basketball Tournament

Seniors Program

Basic Tai Chi, Yoga and Line-Dance Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This ongoing series of classes is offered every Saturday morning/afternoon at our 1365 Queen Street West location. These classes were first offered as activities in a Vietnamese seniors club.  Because of this, many of the current participant are Vietnamese seniors.  All ages and nationalities are welcome to participate however.  In addition to Tai Chi, Yoga and Line-Dance instruction, class participants receive refreshments and often hold social events such as pot-luck dinners and birthday celebrations.

 

Tibetan Senior Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This program is a weekly drop-in program for newcomer Tibetan seniors in Parkdale.  Many of the seniors who participate in this program face severe language and cultural barriers and make use of the settlement services provided by PIA.  Funding for this program is approved and facilitated by Tibetan speaking workers at PIA.  This program provides services such as workshops, conversation circles, volunteering opportunities and field trips in order to help meet the settlement needs of these seniors.