BRUNO M. SUPPA CORPORATE OFFICE BUILDING DEDICATION
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, COSTI's 1710 Dufferin Street building was renamed the Bruno M. Suppa Corporate Office. The unveiling ceremony was attended by current and past members of the Board, family and friends.
In naming the building, COSTI’s Board of Directors celebrates Bruno’s leadership and commitment, spanning over six decades, to making a positive difference in the lives of newcomers. At the same time, COSTI celebrates all immigrants who, like Bruno, have established themselves in this country, have raised their families, and have become part of the fabric and greatness of Canada.
Bruno began his association with COSTI as a volunteer in the mid 1960s. At the time, COSTI’s mission was to help Italian immigrant tradesmen find employment, through language and academic classes. In 1968 he joined COSTI’s Board of Directors, becoming President of the organization in 1993. During his tenure as President, he led the effort to broaden the organization’s focus from an Italian immigrant client base to a multicultural one, leading to COSTI becoming one of Canada’s largest immigrant service organizations, serving about 40,000 clients annually.
Bruno’s leadership was critical in establishing and expanding the key programs in COSTI’s dramatic evolution:
- In the 1960s COSTI’s English language and skills training programs expanded to include evening courses in academic upgrading that enabled immigrants to obtain a grade 10 high school certificate and thereby access apprenticeship training. Participants could work during the day and learn English in the evening.
- In 1975, the Centro Femminile/Women’s Centre was established, while COSTI’s Family Centre opened in 1981, offering individual family counselling services to the Italian community. Today, Family and Mental Health Services has expanded to include counselling in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish.
- In 1983 COSTI’s first employment program, the Industrial Training Project, began. Today, immigrants from all over the world have access to employment and training opportunities across the Greater Toronto Area. The establishment of the Centre for Internationally Trained Professionals was the first of its kind in 1997.
- In 1989, COSTI responded to the initial housing needs of refugees by establishing the Reception Centre, a 100-bed residence for government-sponsored refugees. Thousands of refugees from every corner of the world call the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre their first home in Canada.
- In 1948 Bruno arrived in Canada from Vallelonga, Calabria, as a 14 year old. He went on to earn a Masters Degree in Philosophy in Education from the University of Toronto. He became a Trustee and then Chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Separate School Board, and subsequently as a Judge of the Immigration Appeal Board and a Judge of the Court of Canadian Citizenship.
Bruno’s experience as an Italian immigrant drove his passion to help others. He is an example of how the hopes and dreams of newcomers to Canada can be fulfilled.
Thank you and congratulations Bruno!