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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Review more questions and answers about COSTI's many programs and services.

What does COSTI stand for?

For an answer to that question, one needs to first understand the origins of two organizations: COSTI (formerly Centro Organizzativo Scuole Tecniche Italiane) and the IIAS (Italian Immigrant Aid Society), each of which had a lengthy and proud history of service in the immigrant community.

Formed in 1952, the IIAS emerged as an organization whose main purpose was to provide newcomers with the basic necessities of life. Meeting immigrants at Union Station in Toronto, IIAS workers would assist them with housing and employment, and would follow up with orientation and counselling designed to help these new arrivals become more comfortable in their new country.

Ten years later, in 1962, COSTI was established to help recent Italian immigrants obtain the professional qualifications required to practice their trades in Canada.

Over the years, both organizations evolved, developing new programs and services to meet the changing needs of the community. In 1980, acknowledging the similarities in the goals and work of the two organizations, negotiations were initiated to amalgamate the two agencies. On January 24, 1981 this goal was achieved.

Now known as COSTI Immigrant Services , the amalgamated organization has expanded to the point where it annually assists over 42,000 people from every corner of the world. While no longer an acronym, the name COSTI was retained due to its strong association with the provision of highly effective services to all disadvantaged adults, youth, and women in the community.

What is COSTI's Mission?

COSTI is committed to providing educational, social, and employment services to help all immigrants in the greater Toronto area attain self-sufficiency in Canadian society.

COSTI, founded by the Italian Canadian community to meet a shortage of services for immigrants in the post war era, is today a multicultural agency that works with all immigrant communities having a shortage of established services.

What is COSTI's Vision Statement?

COSTI strives to be a leader in community service, using a client focused, proactive, and innovative approach in planning, developing, and delivering services. COSTI will meet the changing needs of a diverse ethno-cultural community while encouraging the full growth and development of its clients and staff.

How does COSTI respond to the needs of the community?

Toronto is home to people from 170 countries, speaking more than 100 languages and dialects. These diverse communities create a vibrancy that is truly unique, and contribute to the social vitality, economic growth and prosperity of Toronto.

Factor in the growing influence of immigration on the social make up of our community - immigrants make up approximately 50% of this city's population - and it becomes clear that there is no better an organization positioned to address the ever-changing needs of the community.

As the community evolves, so too does COSTI.

Does COSTI receive government funding?

Yes, COSTI does receive funding from all levels of government (municipal, provincial, and federal) for some of its programs and services.

Such funding, however, does not cover all of the associated costs of any particular services. It is the support that COSTI raises from individual and corporate donors that allows us to continue our work in the community, and provides us with the flexibility to better serve our clients.

How can I make a donation?

There are a number of ways that you can support COSTI, from making a one-time donation, to becoming a monthly donor, to making a gift in memory of a loved one. Regardless of the means or the amount of your gift, you will be making a difference in the lives of people in need.

How do I know which area my donation is going to?

When you make a donation to COSTI, you can be assured that your gift is being put to the best possible use.

If you desire, you can designate your support to a specific program or service. Policies and procedures have been established to ensure that designated gifts and charitable income are used expressly for the purposes for which they are given.

What percentage of my money goes to administration and advertising?

Approximately 6% of COSTI's annual budget is spent on administration and advertising.

How does COSTI manage its funds?

COSTI respects and values the contributions of its donors. It is very important for us to assure you that COSTI subscribes to ethical principles that protect confidentiality and honour any and all conditions that are placed on the gifts that we receive.

Entrenched in our values as an organization is our commitment to establishing stronger accountability to our stakeholders in the community. Our donors can also be assured that we will use their gifts within a reasonable period of time, and in a fiscally responsible manner.

COSTI has adopted the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy's Ethical and Financial Accountability Code, and the Association of Fundraising Professional's Donor Bill of Rights.

What is COSTI's charitable registration number?

Our charitable registration number is 10698 7522 RR0001.

Does COSTI receive corporate support?

Yes. COSTI does receive ongoing support from a number of responsible and socially conscious private sector organizations committed to building a strong and vibrant community. Our corporate partners play a critical role in COSTI's continued success and ability to provide high quality programs and services to those in need.