non-profit organization



During 2021-2023, our settlement team transitioned to a virtual service model to support Afghan refugees who arrived in Canada after significant trauma. The pandemic complicated their situation by isolating them from needed services. Despite these challenges, we developed practices to serve our newcomer community, conducted an evaluation of our services, and incorporated the findings into our programming.

Our staff and volunteers-initiated programs to assist newcomers, seniors, and single parents. These included distributing welcome packages, providing food at CCO4WY’s Community Food Hut, conducting wellness calls for isolated seniors, and offering phone-based services such as needs assessments, access to government benefits, form filling assistance, translation, interpretation, and referrals.

We offered information and orientation sessions about the Canadian context and community connection group sessions via Zoom and other social media channels. Our staff served newcomers in a gender and culturally sensitive manner, offering multilingual settlement services. We exceeded our service targets in settling newly arrived refugees, contributing to their integration and participation in Canada.

As Canada continues to welcome refugees and the pandemic strains our systems, the demand for community settlement supports will increase. We are prepared to continue strengthening our services to help newcomers thrive in their new communities.


The Newcomer Youth Engagement Program caters to immigrant youth aged 12 to 21 who are permanent residents or conventional refugees in Canada. The program offers free monthly activities including volunteer opportunities, sports events, workshops, and trips around Toronto summer camps.

The program provides types of services such as the following:


This service offers information on mental health services and social skills training to assist newcomer youth and their families during the settlement process. It emphasizes the importance of positive mental health and addresses mental health stigma in relation to the immigration experience. Innovative strategies are explored, and training is provided to service providers, youth in schools, and other community agencies on various mental health topics.

 Welcoming Communities

This service supports newcomer youth and their families during the settlement process by providing necessary skills and training. It offers leadership and mentorship training, homework help, and educational support to ensure academic success and employment skill development. The program focuses on equipping youth with the information, skills, and knowledge needed to adapt, settle, and integrate into Canadian life. Workshops cover topics like communication and social skills, cross-cultural and diversity skills, and public transit navigation. Training is also provided to service providers, youth in schools, and other community agencies on various settlement topics.

 Hockey Girls of Kabul Club

The Hockey Girls of Kabul Club promotes social inclusion for new Canadians and high-priority youth by offering free ice hockey and valuable off-ice life skills training in areas such as Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts, Community-giving, and Healthy-active living. Our students represent a diverse range of countries, including Syria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Yemen, Cuba, and Mexico.

Since 2015, we have engaged with numerous newcomers and high-priority youth in North York and Barrie Innisfail. Through our program, they have learned to skate, play hockey, improve their English literacy, and experience social inclusion.


Our volunteer program has been a crucial platform for newcomer youth to engage with their local community, form social connections, gain Canadian experience, and contribute back. Over the past year, these young volunteers have been instrumental in various initiatives.

They’ve assisted with the CCO4WY Community Food Hut, delivering food to isolated newcomers and seniors, and providing translation services for seniors. They’ve also offered peer-to-peer support, co-facilitated educational sessions for newly arrived refugee youths and their families at hotels, and helped at the Flemington Health Centre Vaccine Clinic in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood.

Our youth volunteers joined forces with community organizations for a walk to support the victims of the London attack. Despite personal challenges, they’ve shown remarkable resilience and commitment to their communities during this difficult year.

We are immensely proud of their achievements and deeply grateful for their contributions. We believe the work they’ve done and the lessons they’ve learned will greatly benefit them in the future.


Newcomers and refugee seniors often struggle with isolation due to language barriers, lack of nearby family, mobility issues, and other participation barriers. The pandemic has exacerbated this isolation and strained their health and wellbeing. In response, CCO4WY shifted from activity-based programming to addressing immediate needs like food security and access to personal protective equipment (PPE), transitioning to a fully online model.

Our primary focus was connecting with our most vulnerable community members, facilitating vaccine access, and providing basic needs like food, groceries, and supplies. We also offered social and emotional support through wellness calls and check-ins. Volunteers helped seniors connect to hotspots and provided support with digital devices and navigating the virtual environment.

Our programs brought seniors together to practice English in conversation circles, participate in tax clinics, attend fraud prevention workshops, and join gentle exercise classes. We also launched special projects to foster creativity, including an arts-based, multi-generational project involving Arabic storytelling, a calendar highlighting seniors’ contributions, and an online balcony gardening group led by seniors. One senior even hosted a cooking show on Instagram Live, sharing recipes and cooking techniques.

While in-person connection is irreplaceable, we currently encourage seniors to stay active at home, get vaccinated, and continue improving their digital literacy to better engage in and lead online sessions.


Newcomer youth face numerous unique challenges in their integration journey, such as adapting to a new social and cultural environment, forming new peer connections, succeeding in a new academic environment, and dealing with a different dominant language. They may also encounter racism, discrimination, and trauma from their pre-settlement journey.

The ongoing pandemic has further complicated their situation by disrupting daily life, exacerbating social isolation, and mental health issues. The shift to online learning has been particularly challenging for newcomers due to limited access to technology, lack of conducive home learning environments, and absence of pre-existing social connections.

CCO4WY’s youth program has responded to these challenges by conducting personalized sessions with each newcomer youth to understand their needs and provide immediate and long-term support. Our counsellors have acted as liaisons with school boards, parents, and teachers, providing orientation, information on available services, and advocating for those with special needs.

Our programs have supported young newcomers by organizing social outings to sports and cultural events, offering volunteer opportunities for work experience and high school community hours, and providing academic peer support through our Homework Clubs at Parry Sound International School (PSIS). For more complex issues, we’ve offered one-on- one counselling, access to peer support group sessions, and referrals to specialized services for stress and anger management and dealing with symptoms of depression and anxiety.