Our Offices Will Be Closed During Lockdown

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Since the onset of the pandemic, we have been following the advice of public health agencies and monitoring the situation closely to adjust our programs and services accordingly.

To comply with recent announcements, all of our physical offices (Main Office, Youth and Children Centre, Bike Hub and Parkdale Community Information Centre) will close on November 23, 2020, and remain closed for at least 28 days as mandated by the Province of Ontario.

We will continue to provide services to our clients and the community via phone and email and through virtual programming.

For information about upcoming events visit www.culturelink.ca/events.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know needs help or information, please call our main office (416-588-6288) and leave a message. Make sure you state your name, number and reason for calling. A member of our team will follow up with you as soon as possible.

You can also contact us via email at reception@culturelink.ca. Your message will be forwarded to the person most suitable to help you.

If you have an urgent request, please call our teams directly:

  • For Mentorship Program – 437-770-5004
  • For Settlement Workers in Schools / Newcomer Mental Health Program – 437-288-8744
  • For Help with Immigration – in Czech/Slovak 437-488-7493, in Hungarian 437-488-5915
  • For our Cybersecurity Training Program – 437-488-2638
  • For Youth Services – 416-2302536
  • For Senior Services – 437-333-6383
  • For the Nai Children’s Choir – 647-338-5334
  • For Bike Programs – in Mississauga 647-713-9188, in Jane/Finch 416-561-7731

Youth Helping Youth for Success

Sarah Ahsan SWIS News

Since March 2020, when school were closed because of COVID-19, SWIS has received many emails and phone calls from teachers, guidance counsellors and parent. Special attention has been provided for ESL students who face even greater challenges settling into a new country and learning English – all during a pandemic. SWIS is very proud of our group session of Youth Helping Youth for Success which met for 60 sessions in the last year so far.

This group met with several students on Zoom and/or Google Classroom every day, but there were too many students who needed help and were struggling to continue learning under the circumstances. We were incredibly busy and it was difficult to manage and provide service to all of them, so we selected several senior students from the Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW) group and matched them with ESL students. SWIS helped arrange meeting schedules and some students wanted meet every day, while other students met twice weekly. The matches practiced the online learning tools together, made sure that the class schedule are in order and that their homework and lesson and  plans were updated and posted. SWIS staff accompanied the volunteer and student in each session.

Freddy was in grade nine in March when he first communicated with us.  He was struggling with four courses. NOW Peer Leader, Natalia, became his as a mentor. She began to provide academic support to him on a regular basis. Natalia is an excellent leader and volunteer, she work so hard with Freddy that after few months, Freddy successfully passed three courses and finished the final course with Natalia’s help in summer school. Freddy’s parent and teachers were very pleased and appreciated this impactful help!

Freddy’s success is just one example. SWIS has many more students who passed their courses and become more confident with their lessons as a result of being match in Youth Helping Youth for Success!


CultureLink Post Banner News

CultureLink Welcomes New Executive Director Naguib Gouda

CultureLink Uncategorised

November 9, 2020 – CultureLink, one of Canada’s leading settlement and community organizations, is pleased to welcome Naguib Gouda as its new Executive Director. Naguib replaces Ibrahim Absiye, who retires after a distinguished 13-year term.

“Naguib brings strong executive leadership and his lifelong volunteering and philanthropy commitment to CultureLink,” said Ruba Bilal, Chair of the CultureLink Board of Directors. “Naguib will build upon the strong foundation established by Ibrahim and lead our organization towards continued long-term excellence and growth.”

Naguib has held senior leadership positions with the Healthcare Supply Chain Network, Career Edge, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Ontario Medical Association, and York University. Prior to moving to the public and non-profit sectors, he held senior executive positions with the Bank of Montreal and Manulife.

Most recently, Naguib worked with Boards of public and not-for-profit bodies and associations to help solve complex organizational problems. His main areas of focus include sustainability, transformation, strategy, governance and funding.

Naguib is a committed educator and mentor, teaching French to students of all ages, including adults. He also coaches and advises those launching their careers and undergoing transitions through challenging and hopeful times.

He has served on a wide range of Boards in social services, education and the arts – and continues to do so as he gives back to the community and the country. His passion and focus are around human rights, mental health and education.

“As a new Canadian, I understand the vital impact that CultureLink has in our society,” said Naguib. “Connecting newcomers to jobs, schools, training, communities and opportunities does not just help them succeed – it helps Canada succeed. I am thrilled to lead CultureLink into an exciting new future and confident we will get through these difficult times for everyone together.”

Ibrahim Absiye will remain as Executive Director Emeritus until the end of 2020 to facilitate a smooth and seamless transition. Under Ibrahim’s leadership, CultureLink has expanded its mandate, developed new programs, and its staff of 75 members serve more than 20,000 new Canadians each year.

About CultureLink

Since 1988, CultureLink has been a settlement and community organization that develops and delivers services to meet the needs of diverse communities. CultureLink assists newcomers looking for employment, helps families navigate the school system, and provides youth with the skills necessary for bright and successful futures. Our 75 staff members and 500 volunteers speak more than 30 languages and serve more than 20,000 clients each year at no charge. CultureLink is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Human Resource and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the City of Toronto, the United Way Greater Toronto, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. CultureLink also receives contributions from corporations, institutions, foundations and individuals.

Empathy in action

Tanya News, Settlement in the Community News

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” This quote has always been motivated Shakira Quraishi in her work helping disadvantaged clients to improve their living.

Hamida, one of many Shakira’s clients, came to Canada as a Government-assisted refugee. She has been suffering from mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder for years after her head injury in the Afghan war and losing four children after divorce.

Hamida first time met Shakira about two years ago in the Toronto City Hall, one of the community spaces of CultureLink SWCS program. Shakira helped her to reconnect to CCTV (Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture), to resume English classes and to receive support with her issues at the residence she lived. Hamida slowly started getting better and attending English Conversation sessions, but everything changed after COVID-19 lockdown. Hamida felt very socially isolated in her living space and didn’t have any community contact. Before pandemic she has been coming to City Hall to see Shakira at least once a week, just to share some news as a friend or ask for advice.

Shakira started working remotely during COVID-19 quarantine, responding to clients’ requests for housing, health care, job search, benefit applications etc. To help socially isolated clients like Hamida and secure all possible resources for them has become even more important for Shakira in the time of pandemic.

After many phone calls and meetings arranged by Shakira, Hamida now has regularly scheduled social worker’s home visits and arranged medication deliveries, as well as hot meals delivered to her home daily by Meals on Wheels. Hamida also is able now to discuss her health problems with her family doctor with the help of an interpreter, and has regular home safety checks. In addition, Shakira made sure that Hamida gets mental health reassessment by CCTV.

To make her client feeling less isolated in her apartment, Shakira negotiated with Rogers to secure low-cost ($10 a month) internet service for Hamida. She also contacted one of our former staff member and dedicated volunteer, who purchased a new flat screen smart TV for Hamida and together with Shakira delivered TV to her apartment.

Hamida’s stability has improved immensely. She started feeling better and now continues her drawings that has always been her passion.
Shakira’s professionalism and persistence made all the difference for this client, and Hamida is one among many others who recognized Shakira’s empathy in action.

Flu Vaccination 2020 Q&A session

Tanya Settlement in the Community News, Workshops and Group Sessions

According to Toronto Public Health 2020-2021 Influenza Vaccine Fact Sheet, it is important for everyone who can, to get their flu shot this year. The flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, but it will protect you from the flu or reduce the severity of illness from the flu. It will also prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed with additional patient visits, and it may even reduce the need for you to get tested for COVID-19, as the symptoms are very similar.

LSP program settlement workers Stanley Teo and Yan Gu, together with community partners – AIMES (Assisting in Medical Expectations), Scadding Court Community Centre and University Settlement, jointly co-hosted a Flu Vaccine Information Session on October 22 to answer clients’ questions on what are the guidelines and changes for flu vaccination this year. This online session conducted in Mandarin was well attended with great interest of 83 participants.

Flu vaccine is available from early October at doctor’s office, long-term care homes, medical walk-in clinics, pharmacies and Toronto Public Health (TPH) flu clinics.
TPH clinics work by appointments only.

How to Get Your Flu Shot Safely During COVID-19:

– Make an appointment for each family member getting their flu shot.
– Self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of the clinic.
– Stay home if feeling unwell, even with mild symptoms.
– Bring a mask and pen.
– Read the flu vaccine fact sheet
– Print and complete the flu consent form PDF before the clinic.
If you do not have a printer, there will be consent forms available at the clinic.
– Do not bring family and friends if they do not have an appointment.

The slides (in Mandarin) for the workshop can be found here