2019–2020
Annual Report

230

community agencies and organizations

64

organizations agencies and community

123

community agencies and organizations

COSTI’s over-arching goal is to contribute to creating conditions that enable immigrants and vulnerable populations to contribute and engage in their communities.

Partnerships & Collaborations

COSTI and the
Community

COSTI’s work in the community continues to be a high priority.

COSTI’s over-arching goal is to contribute to creating conditions that enable immigrants and vulnerable populations to contribute and engage in their communities. Through active participation in local, provincial and national committees, advisory groups and ad hoc coalitions, we have represented the voice of immigrants and the immigrant-serving sector in planning, service development, coordination, research, public policy and education. COSTI’s leadership team works to promote public policies that facilitate the integration of immigrants and support their communities to build internal leadership and capacity. In 2019/20, COSTI continued to foster a collaborative approach to service delivery by developing programming and partnerships that support new delivery models. Over 25 new partnerships were developed with community health organizations, grassroots community groups, faith-based organizations, settlement agencies and educational institutions.

COSTI’s Stakeholder and Community Engagement Office continued to work with existing and new partners to deliver services to government-sponsored refugees and refugee claimants that support their integration: housing support services; activities, community events and workshops that engaged children and parents; help with introducing them to services available in their local community; and donations of food, clothing and household items.

Children, youth and adult newcomers participated in on-site activities: story-telling circles led by the Toronto Public Library; movie nights; English conversation circles; legal information sessions; positive parenting workshops conducted by Children Aid Society; the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) reading clubs; nutrition sessions and vaccine clinics administered by Toronto Public Health; and music and art therapy programing organized by several partners: CultureLink, Music for Hope and Muse Arts.

In addition, a family-matching initiative that saw Canadian host families paired with refugee families continued in 2019/20 with the Together Project. Host families provided invaluable support and assistance to refugee newcomers – from the day they move from temporary housing to their new home. They provide support in receiving furniture; setting up their households; shopping for essential items such as food, bedding, etc.; escorting families to local financial institutions, parks and community centres; exploring nearby public transportation routes, and help in registering children in school.

COSTI supported the continued development of local community groups, such as the South Asian Women’s Rights Organization serving Bangladeshi women in Scarborough and the Syrian Canadian Foundation trusteeships. COSTI worked with hundreds of partner organizations throughout Ontario to coordinate the International Student Connect program, Problem Gambling and the Orientation to Ontario program as well as the Welcome Centre Immigrant Services network in York Region. Collaborative and innovative approaches to service delivery allows COSTI and key partners the opportunity to meet the needs of underserved communities and also develop internal capacity to build, enhance and sustain services.

Learn More About COSTI & the Community

About Our Clients & Services

Language Training

Responding to the needs of English language learners.

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Employment Services

Accelerating engagement by providing opportunities for success.

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Seniors’ Services

Increasing independence and reducing isolation.

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Women’s Services

Transforming lives one person at a time.

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Refugee Services

From hope to opportunity.

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Family & Mental Health Services

Providing access to appropriate care engaging individuals and families.

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Housing Services

Breaking down barriers to sustainable housing.

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Shivvon Hayles
Owner, Sparkling smiles

Donors & Contributors

In 2012, Shivvon Hayles and her four-year-old daughter moved to Toronto from Winnipeg. Shivvon was studying dental hygiene and decided to stay. But after graduating, she could not find employment and needed to find work as soon as possible to care for herself and her daughter. Shivvon visited COSTI’s Weston Employment Services and, with the help of an Employment Consultant, found a full-time job as a Dental Assistant almost immediately. Today, Shivvon works at that same dental office twice a week.

When she is not working there, Shivvon is busy at Sparkling Smiles, a mobile dental hygiene service she founded in 2015. Sparkling Smiles aims to break down barriers to quality oral health care by increasing access to dental hygiene services. As part of the Healthy Smiles program, Shivvon helps bring a smile to hundreds of children and adults receiving social assistance.

“When I was growing up, there were limited resources for my family,” she says. “But I remember the community being so supportive and many helping in any way they could. I would often say that I could not wait until the day I could give back to others.”

Research studies on child development report that the quality of one’s early childhood can have a lasting impact on their future success. Many parents can’t afford expensive dental work for their children. Shivvon says she wanted to give back to contribute in some small way towards having a positive impact on young children.

“I began working with COSTI in January 2020 to offer oral health services to families living temporarily at the shelter at no cost.” Before the pandemic, the on-site clinic ran twice a month and was always full, with close to 90 children receiving free dental cleanings and demonstrations on how to take care of their teeth. Shivvon also offered oral hygiene demonstrations for parents and other interested families staying at the shelter. “I hope to re-open the clinic as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Shivvon gives back in many ways. Last year, she filled 100 purses with personal care items and delivered them to shelters across the city. This year, she wanted to help families experiencing hardship during the pandemic so she prepared backpacks for children who returned to school in the fall.

“My dream is to travel the world and help disadvantaged children everywhere,” she says. “But for now, I try and give back in any way I can. I want to contribute in helping to create happy, healthy and better-adjusted adults with the capacity to contribute to a better future for all of us.”

Shivvon was the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Dental Hygiene Super Hero Award. The award recognizes individuals who work hard, take pride in what they do and make our communities better places in which to live, work, and play.

Read more about our Donors and Contributors

Our Board
of Directors

Board of Directors

In Memoriam

In February 2020 our former President passed away. While his work with COSTI is well known, we would like to share more about the man, who he was and what he accomplished.

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Who we helped in 2019/20

Services Provided
34%
Employment Services
Career Assessment and Planning, Job Search and Placement, Job Maintenance Supports, Resource and Information, Online Services
22%
Settlement Counselling, Community Planning/Coordination Public Education, Policy Development
Community Connections, International Student Connect, Orientation to Ontario, Planning for Canada, Information and Referral, Language Interpretation, Documentation and Life Skills
12%
English Language Instruction and Skills Training
English Language Classes, Enhanced Language Training, Computer Courses
11%
Housing Supports
11%
Refugee Services
5%
Family and Mental Health Services
Domestic Violence, Psychiatric Services, Gaming and Technology Use, Counselling and Support Groups
3%
Youth & Recreation
Crime Prevention & Substance Abuse Workshops, Leadership Development, Track & Field Program, Employment Supports
2%
Counselling, Support Groups Drop-in Services
Women’s and Seniors’ Services
Professional Skills our
Clients Bring to Canada
34%
Professional Positions
Art, Business, Education, Finance, Health, Information Technology, Legal, Natural and Applied Sciences, Nursing, Recreation and Sports, Safety and Protection Services, Social and Community Services
30%
General Labour
Agriculture, Assembler, Equipment Maintenance, Harvesting, Landscaping, Machine Operator, Manufacturing, Material Handler, Natural Resources Transportation, Utilities
11%
Middle Management/Supervisory Positions
Administration, Customer Service, Finance, Natural Resources, Retail and Specialized Sales, Specialized Services, Utilities Support, Wholesale
11%
Service Representative
Customer and Personal Services, Sales Support, Wholesale and Retail
9%
Office Support
5%
Trades
Construction, Electrical, Industrial
Age
  • 17%Children & Youth (Up to age 24)
  • 77%Adults (25 to 64)
  • 6%Seniors (65+)
Gender
  • 58%Female
  • 42%Male

Our Client’s Country of Origin

3% 10% 6% 4% 15% 3% 6% 5% 14% 14% 20% 3% CENTRALAMERICA 10% CARIBBEAN 6% SOUTHAMERICA 15% MIDDLEEAST 20% AFRICA 4% WESTERNEUROPE 3% SOUTHWESTASIA 6% EASTERNEUROPE 5% CHINA 14% SOUTHASIA 14% OTHER
 
Mission

To empower people from diverse communities to succeed and achieve their full potential by providing educational, employment and social services.

Vision

A prosperous and inclusive Canada built on the success of every individual.