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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What types of services does COSTI offer for children and youth?

For over 20 years, COSTI has been working with children and youth, developing an approach to service predicated on the understanding that all young people, if they are to develop into healthy, competent, and caring adults, need to be provided with support, guidance, and opportunities. The following programs and services represent only part of COSTI's ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for this vulnerable group:

  • Art Therapy Program - providing traumatized refugee children - witnesses to the horrors of war, and t orn from their homes across the world - with the opportunity to work through their pain and fear, get a second chance at childhood, and begin the process of re-building
  • Children in Transition - a culturally sensitive parenting program designed to prevent the abuse and neglect of children by responding to the unique needs and situations of immigrant and refugee families, and providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to Canadian society and to become better parents.
  • Youth-at-risk Program - providing opportunities to develop the talents and interests of immigrant and minority youth; formal and informal supports to help them work through their problems; mechanisms for ongoing youth input and leadership; opportunities for them to become mentors to the other youth in the project; and, above all, equal access and participation.
  • Job Connect - an employment program providing youth with one-on-one support in deciding on a career path, creating an effective resume, preparing for job interviews, obtaining on-the-job training, and connecting with employers.
  • Action for Youth Summer Camp - providing opportunities for the social, recreational, cultural, and educational development of children between the ages of 6 and 12.
  • Summer Job Service - providing full-time students planning to return to school in the Fall with the opportunity to gain work experience, learn about vocational opportunities, identify career paths, and develop work skills.


I am out of school and have no work experience. How can I get help in finding a job?

A lot of young people have difficulty knowing how to look for a job, especially if it's their first time. COSTI's youth employment programs such as Job Connect and Kick Start can help you to decide what kind of job is best for you, and can provide you with connections to employers.

I have been sending out a lot of résumés, but have not been able to obtain an interview. Can COSTI help me?

It is important to be current with the latest résumés and cover letters that employers are requesting. COSTI's Employment Resource Centres provide a centralized location with all the information and tools needed to undertake a successful job search. Our employment staff are on hand to provide support and give you the advice and options you need to succeed.

I am a newcomer to Canada. How can I find out what a Canadian employer is looking for during an interview?

Knowing what employers are looking for allows you to prepare properly and to work this information into your actual interview. You can learn about what employers look for and you can practice your interviewing techniques at Prolink. Through mock interviews, you can obtain one-to-one coaching, and receive instant feedback.

I have been in Canada for only a few months and I need to get a paid job as quickly as possible. How can you help?

This is a common question asked by many newcomers to Canada – regardless of their professional background. With program start dates every week, COSTI's Employment Assistance Services – OUTLET, provides fast access to information on job search techniques with on-going support to meet individual needs.

COSTI's Employment Assistance Services – OUTLET staff will help you: identify your most important skills and experience that will interest employers; make sure that you have a résumé that is suitable for the job you're looking for; give you techniques and tips for contacting employers and letting them know what you do; and contact employers who may be interested in your background.

I am a newcomer and would like to learn about Canadian workplace culture. What tips could you give me?

You may be at a disadvantage in finding and keeping a job if you are unaware of Canadian workplace culture. Knowing about cultural norms and practices in the Canadian workplace will assist you to present yourself as a valuable contributor to the workplace team. COSTI has a number of employment programs for newcomers and internationally trained individuals that will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to find meaningful employment in your chosen profession or trade.

I am a 19 year old and have gone to a couple of job interviews, but I get very nervous when talking to employers or going through a job interview. How can I do better in an interview?

This is a very common problem. For most people, the interview process is very intimidating. We become self-conscious and nervous and are not able to present ourselves in the best way. Our youth employment programs, Job Connect and Kick Start, are able to provide you with one-on-one coaching to overcome your anxiety. COSTI staff will teach you how to prepare for an interview and coach you on how to handle difficult questions. We will even conduct mock interviews with you so that you can practice your presentation skills.

I need to find a job, but I really don't know where to begin. What should I do?

Finding your first job, or making a career change, can be a very daunting and overwhelming task. COSTI's Career Planning and Employment Placement Services can make it easier. Our staff will help you link up your skills and interests to career opportunities, and provide you with information on available placement and subsidized on-the-job training opportunities.

I need to hire someone for my store, but don't know where to begin. Can you help me with this?

Hiring the right people is critical to the success of any business, large or small. COSTI's Employer Placement and Support Services can remove the guesswork involved, connecting you to skilled and motivated people looking for work. Our staff will work closely with you to identify the best candidates for your needs.


I'd like to improve my English skills. How would I know which course to take?

COSTI offers a variety of Language Training Programs to meet the different needs of learners. Some of these programs, such as LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) and ESL (English as a Second Language), provide comprehensive training on all language skill areas. Other programs, such as ESL Pronunciation or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), focus on specific skill areas or provide training for special purposes.

How can I be assured of the quality of language instruction programs at COSTI?

COSTI has been providing high quality language instruction to the community for over 50 years. Each of the language instruction programs offered at COSTI is delivered in partnership with local school boards under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. All instructors are certified by TESL Ontario.

I'm a newcomer to Canada. I want to improve my English skills, but my priority is to find a job. How can I achieve both at the same time?

COSTI offers a variety of part-time ESL programs with a wide range of course schedules. You can job search in the day and get language training from our classes in the evenings or weekends. Many of our ESL programs cover topics such as job search, résumé writing and interview skills.

Is transportation assistance provided for individuals who attend language instruction courses?

A transportation allowance is available for eligible clients of the LINC program. Clients must first complete an assessment used to identify eligibility.

I understand that COSTI offers English language courses to visitors to Canada. I am here on a visitor's permit and would like to take a course. Do I need to obtain a Student Authorization, and if so, for how long?

No, you do not need to obtain such an authorization. Since English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Corvetti Education Centre is considered a general interest course, the current immigration regulations allow you to study English as a Second Language for a maximum of 6 months. However, being a visitor, you will be required to pay an international student's fee for your course.


What is COSTI doing to address the issue of homelessness?

Over the past few years, despite Toronto's growing economy and falling unemployment rates, the number of homeless and low-income people, and, in particular, families, continues to be on the rise. The causes behind this growing crisis are clear – a lack of affordable housing, rising rents, and an increasing number of eviction applications.

Many of the individuals that come to the COSTI Housing Help Centre are immigrants and refugees, facing multiple barriers to accessing and securing housing. They also include youth and seniors, families with fixed incomes, victims of discrimination and racism, survivors of domestic violence, and individuals suffering from addiction and chronic mental or physical illnesses.

The Housing Help Centre works with these individuals and families, assisting them in breaking free of the shelter system by overcoming barriers to securing safe, affordable, and adequate housing. The Centre offers a holistic approach to service, providing crisis intervention, housing search support, document and application assistance, individual life skills coaching, direct access to employment, education, and training programs, a Rent Bank, specialized services for women, and a drop-in program. The Centre also offers workshops on tenant rights and responsibilities, an immunization clinic, and private counselling for victims of domestic violence.


How do I deal with conflict in my relationship?

It is important to distinguish between conflict and abusive behaviour in an intimate relationship. Conflict can arise in any relationship. Difficulties in relationships may lie in the resolution of clonficts in an equitable and satisfactory manner for the two partners involved. In healthy relationships the couple will communicate in an honest and non-threatening manner. The relationship is based on equality, trust and mutual respect.

In an unhealthy relationship there is likely to be a power imbalance, manifesting in abuse. Abuse can occur in many forms: physical, verbal, emotional, psychological or financial. It is characterized by assaults, threats, isolation, intimidation and harassment. The victim is often left feeling anxious, depressed or living in fear.

It is against the law for a person to assault or threaten another person in an intimate relationship. Violence in relationships can lead to serious injury, suicide and homicide.

Through the Violence Against Women program, COSTI's Family and Mental Health Services offer individual and crisis counselling for women who are in an abusive relationships or are at risk of being abused.

I feel that I may be suffering from depression. Where can I go for help?

If you believe that you are suffering from depression, you should see your family physician or contact COSTI's Family and Mental Health Centre. COSTI can provide assessment and treatment for depression through the trained mental health professionals attached to our Mental Health Clinic. Services offered include consultation, assessment, and treatment through counselling services. The Family and Mental Health Centre provides individuals, couples, and families living with depression and/or for families and friends affected by someone's depression with education/support groups.

I feel that a member of my family has a gambling problem. How can I know for sure?

Gambling is a problem when one's gambling behaviours compromise, disrupt, damage, or interfere with family, financial, emotional, personal, vocational pursuits and/or other important aspects of a person's life. Financial crises, marital and family conflicts, physical and emotional health problems as well as legal issues may co-occur with problem gambling. Problem gambling transcends gender, culture, age, occupation, and socioeconomic status. Problem gamblers can be youth, adults, and older adults.

In the past year, have you or your family member:

  • Gambled more than you intended?
  • Borrowed money for betting and not repaid it?
  • Felt bad about the amount you bet?
  • Felt you had to continue gambling until you won?
  • Spent a lot of time thinking about winning and/or playing?
  • Returned to gamble to win back your losses?
  • Had arguments about money centred around gambling?
  • Convinced yourself a big win is just around the corner?
  • Claimed to be winning money but really weren't?

If you have answered "no" to all of the above, your gambling is probably low risk and enjoyable. However, if you have answered "yes" to one or more of the above, you may be at risk for developing a gambling problem. Contact COSTI's Gambling and Problem Gambling Program to learn about ways we can help you.


What type of support does COSTI provide to individuals affected by a disability in their efforts to re-enter the labour force?

Since 1952, COSTI's Vocational Rehabilitation services have been helping those in need, providing vocational assessment, training, and placement of disabled individuals. Available services include: work assessment and adjustment; job trial and monitoring; vocational skills training; and life skills training. Individuals can be referred to our program from a variety of sources including Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, WSIB Case Managers, and insurance firms. A fee-for-service is charged to the referral source.


Does COSTI provide services for seniors?

Yes. COSTI's Elderly Persons' Centre (EPC) helps Italian Canadian seniors to lead satisfying and dignified lives. One of the ways in which EPC staff are accomplishing this objective is by engaging seniors in social, cultural and recreational activities – activities which serve to reduce the isolation and loneliness they experience.

The Elderly Persons' Centre provides a supportive environment where seniors can interact with their peers in meaningful activities that encourage positive changes in physical and mental health, and that result in improved well-being.


What types of services does COSTI offer for new immigrants and refugees?

COSTI recognizes that newcomers, if they are to become well-adjusted, participating members of the community, need assistance and support with their settlement process. The staff of COSTI's Settlement Services help newly arrived immigrants and refugees meet their settlement needs by providing orientation, referral, information, interpretation, document processing, escort, crisis intervention, and supportive counselling.

How do I apply for a Permanent Resident card?

As of December 31, 2003, the Permanent Resident (PR) card is a required document for permanent residents, including children, returning to Canada. Permanent Residents who have not received a PR card and are planning to travel outside of Canada will require a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad) issued by a Canadian Embassy as proof of residency before they will be allowed to re-enter Canada.

All applications for the Permanent Resident Card must be made within Canada. The application focuses on length of stay in Canada, as well as where you have lived and worked in the last 5 years.

To complete your PR Card application you must have a declaration made by a guarantor that states "that they have known you personally for at least 2 years, they confirm your identity, and that, to the best of their knowledge and belief, all the information you submit with this application is true and accurate." This guarantor must be working in a specific professional background, listed in the PR application guide.

Those applicants who have been in Canada less than 2 years must have their documents notarized by a notary public.

There is a $50 application fee attached to the card.

Staff at the COSTI North York Centre can assist you in completing all of the necessary paperwork.


I am interested in taking a course on AccPac. Is it necessary for me to have an accounting background?

In general, individuals need to have a background in accounting in order to be accepted into COSTI's AccPac course. Interested individuals must complete an accounting pre-test prior to being accepted into the course.

Will I receive a certificate upon completion of a COSTI Skills Training course?

Yes. A certificate of completion will be issued to each graduate of one of COSTI's Skills Training courses.


How will COSTI's Citizenship Preparation class prepare me to take the citizenship test?

The Citizenship Preparation class at COSTI covers the various topics required for the citizenship test. Instructors provide highlights and explanations on information related to Canadian history, geography and the Canadian system of government. Learners will be given the opportunity to practice on simulated test questions, and will be provided with the skills needed for both the written test and the oral interview.

It is advisable to start taking the Citizenship Preparation class once you send in your citizenship application. Learners who have limited English language skills are advised to take the class even earlier.


Does COSTI offer any programs or services designed specifically for women?

COSTI has a number of programs and services designed with the goal of addressing the systemic and personal barriers that impact on women, particularly immigrant women. While they vary in terms of purpose and objectives, COSTI's Women's Services share at least one thing in common – they are designed to provide a supportive environment that will move women from a situation of dependency and isolation to a more empowered state.

Available programs and services include

  • Home Childcare Program
  • Violence Against Women Program
  • Learning Together
  • Housing Drop-in
  • Workshops for Women
  • Life Skills Counselling
  • Depression Group for Women

Will COSTI find me a job once I complete the Home Childcare Program?

Once you have completed the training available through the Home Childcare Program, you will be able to register with a Home Childcare agency involved in recruiting caregivers provided services from home. They will find clients for you, provided that you meet their criteria after a home inspection.


I need to have my educational documents translated. How can I be sure that your work is of the highest quality?

COSTI's Languages Bureau is committed to providing the most reliable translation services of the highest quality, and at affordable and competitive prices. All documents are treated with strict confidence, and we can meet any requested turnaround time.

How do you price your translations?

The price of each translation project varies, and is based on word count, language, and volume. Please contact us for a free, no obligation estimate.

Can you assist us in translating our brochures?

Yes, we can. The Languages Bureau is a full-service communications operation providing professional translation, interpretation, and typesetting services in over 100 languages to individuals, businesses, community-based agencies, government departments, educational institutions, and regulatory bodies.

We provide services in all major languages, and have extensive experience working in all areas:

  • Notarized translations
  • Manuals and technical documents
  • Contracts and financial documents
  • Advertising copy
  • Web pages
  • General correspondence
  • Medical reports and certificates
  • Diplomas, educational documents, and course descriptions
  • Legal documents
  • Marketing, sales, and retail materials

I have to go to court, but my English skills are not that good. Can you provide me with an interpreter?

It is our goal to ensure that our clients have the ability to overcome any barriers to effective communication.

The Languages Bureau provides services in all major languages for interviews, assessments, depositions, court proceedings, meetings, conferences, business negotiations, and any type of appointment or situation in which individuals and businesses need to communicate in a different language.

The professional interpreters we engage are highly trained experts in their respective fields, and are committed to maintaining confidentiality, and remaining neutral and impartial – this is our guarantee to you.