OCISO News

OCISO News2017-11-18T00:14:30-05:00
2610, 2021

OCISO’s RAISE program is offering job-readiness workshops in November

October 26th, 2021|

Do you want to find a job that you enjoy and learn the soft skills needed in Canadian workplaces? OCISO's Refugee and Immigrant Supports (RAISE) Program is offering job-readiness workshops. Register here https://lnkd.in/ekYW8ApA هل ترغب في ايجاد عمل تستمتع به وتعلم المهارات الناعمة اللازمة في مكان العمل الكندي؟ وتقدم منظمة أوتاوا للخدمات المجتمعية للمهاجرين حلقة عمل عن الاستعداد للعمل. التسجيل على هذا الارتباط: https://forms.gle/mu9fSTYkxgZ3XPNz5 أو تتصل بنا أو ترسل لنا ايميل

1507, 2021

FINP Mentorship Program’s Graduation Ceremony

July 15th, 2021|

FINP Mentor Jennifer Lundrigan gave a speech at Mentorship Program’s Graduation Ceremony. Hello everyone, My name is Jennifer Lundrigan, and I work for the Department of Canadian Heritage in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. I’m speaking to you today from my home which is located on the island of Ktaqmkuk, the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq. I would be remiss not to also mention the island’s beautiful neighbour, Labrador, as the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Innu and Inuit. I began my career as a dance teacher. I grew up dreaming [...]

207, 2021

MLO program celebrates its 30th anniversary

July 2nd, 2021|

This year the emblematic Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO) Program at OCISO is celebrating its 30th anniversary. We would like to recognize and congratulate all stakeholders of the program, who have tirelessly worked all these years to make it a reality in every single school year and for many years to come! To mark the occasion of the program's 30th anniversary, we asked our officers (MLOs) about what they like most about their work and they wanted to share their favorite memories with you. MLOs are known in the settlement sector as Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS). [...]

2206, 2021

Board of Directors Call for Nominations

June 22nd, 2021|

Are you passionate about supporting immigrants and refugees through the journey of making Canada their home? Ottawa Community immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) is a non-profit community agency which provides a broad range of multilingual and multicultural settlement services to newcomers to facilitate their successful adaptation and integration process. It works with a broad range of community service providers and other partners to enhance the collective community capacity to help newcomer individuals and families with their information, orientation, job seeking and adaptation needs, as well as facilitating dialogue with mainstream service providers in responding to the diverse community. We [...]

202, 2021

Launch of 2021 Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund

February 2nd, 2021|Tags: , , , , |

We are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund (MDSF). UPDATE: The deadline to apply has been extended. The final deadline is now May 28th 2021. Background The Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund was established by OCISO in 2009, in honour of the late Marion Dewar, former Mayor of Ottawa. The goal of the fund is to provide financial support for three immigrant and refugee students going on to post-secondary education in the National Capital Region. Three MDSF awards of $1,500 will be provided in 2021. More details on the MDSF can be found here, along with [...]

1101, 2021

IRCC Releases Video For Resettling Refugees in Multiple Languages

January 11th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada has created an animated video for refugees, about what to expect when resettling in Canada. The video has versions in English and French, as well as Arabic, Farsi, Somali, Swahili and Tigrinya. Watch them below. English: https://youtu.be/u6ng9lTwIGQ French: https://youtu.be/UVDuL7IMntM Arabic: https://youtu.be/HNQv_YiblSg Farsi: https://youtu.be/7vVi2p5nDNI Somali: https://youtu.be/gj8GE1bf8Rc Swahili: https://youtu.be/AA2403hnwek Tigrinya: https://youtu.be/HYF8v1PSfbs

2312, 2020

Free Holiday Meals in Ottawa

December 23rd, 2020|

While 2020 has been a very difficult year for all of us, the Ottawa community still comes together to help those in need. Even with social distancing measures is place, several locations in the city are working to provide free holiday meals to those who might need it. Select the files to see where and when you can find a Holiday Meal during this week. Holiday Meals Resource Information Sheet Dec 2020 (EN) Holiday Meals Resource Information Sheet Dec 2020 (FR)_

910, 2020

RAISE Workplace Language Training Program Celebrates its Volunteers

October 9th, 2020|

On September 28, 2020, the Refugee and Immigrant Supports to Employment (RAISE) Workplace Language Training (WLT) program held an appreciation event to acknowledge the efforts of its volunteer workplace language trainers. These volunteers have successfully supported RAISE clients in increasing their workplace language competencies, over a three-month period. RAISE WLT is an employment retention program that responds to the individual refugee and immigrant clients' language needs, in the critical stages of maintaining employment. This program is offered to RAISE clients that we support to employment, during their first three months of employment. “We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to [...]

2309, 2020

Community Steps up to Help YOCISO Provide School Supplies to Newcomers

September 23rd, 2020|

In late August, YOCISO began looking at ways to provide school supplies to youth clients in need. “In these unprecedented times, many newcomer youth and their families remain at great risk due to COVID-19,” says Donnielle Roman, Manager, Youth Services/YOCISO. “Some of theses families were struggling and continued to be very isolated. One day in late August, Donnielle found herself at Staples, purchasing supplies for YOCISO’s academic program, when a senior employee began chatting with her. As Donnielle explained YOCISO’s work with newcomer youth, the employee was so impressed that she decided to find a way to “pay it [...]

2808, 2020

Musical Performance Brightens a Summer Day for Newcomer Families

August 28th, 2020|

On a warm Sunday afternoon, OCISO clients were treated to a wonderful outdoor concert by Ottawa Suzuki Strings. It was the first event hosted by the Friends of the Family program since COVID-19. Physical distancing protocols were followed. Musicians wearing masks played beautifully on the lawn of the Tom Brown Arena. Dina Aleryani and her two daughters aged 2 and 6, thoroughly enjoyed the concert. “I love this event,” remarks Dina. “We have been lucky with the sunshine today. It’s so nice to see the welcoming faces everywhere.” Dina, originally from Yemen, immigrated to Canada seven months ago. In [...]

2207, 2020

YOCISO’s E-Learning Initiative (Homework Club)

July 22nd, 2020|

YOCISO’s e-learning initiative was launched in March 2020 as a pilot project. E-learning had been identified as a need because of school closures due to COVID-19. “The closure of schools was a trying time for many newcomer youth and their families,”says Daniela Arrieta, Youth Facilitator, YOCISO. “They encountered difficulties with the information provided by schools. Some newcomer students were left without supports, and had difficulty completing their assignments.” “We saw this need and quickly reached out to all our volunteers and translators to provide support,” explains Donnielle Roman, Program Manager, YOCISO. This initiative has grown significantly since its inception. [...]

2207, 2020

Volunteer Helps Newcomers to Learn English

July 22nd, 2020|

Kelly Hayes-Crook has been volunteering with OCISO for the last nine months. As a retired high school teacher who had taught English as a Second Language (ESL) students, volunteering at OCISO’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) school was the perfect fit for her. “This volunteer opportunity came together very nicely, as I had a skill set that would be helpful to newcomers,” says Kelly. She volunteers for a couple of hours a week, helping LINC students practice their conversation skills. Kelly works with small groups of students. Each week she chats with the students on a particular [...]

2207, 2020

OCISO Mentor Receives Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

July 22nd, 2020|

Richard Tobin, an OCISO mentor for 11 years, was surprised when he received a call from the Governor General’s office saying that he would be receiving the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. “I was quite surprised to be nominated by one of my mentees,” remarks Richard. “I am humbled by this award.” “The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is an important recognition of the countless hours of support Richard has provided over the years to so many newcomers and our sector,” says Karyn Steer, Interim Executive Director, OCISO.  “Richard has made a difference in the lives of so many newcomers in [...]

2506, 2020

Mentee Profile:  Adam Berrada

June 25th, 2020|

After working in journalism and media relations in Morocco, Adam craved a change so he moved with his young family to Canada in September 2019. They immigrated through the Express Entry program for skilled workers. The first place they lived was close to the OCISO office, so he inquired about services offered for newcomers. Adam’s first step was to participate in employment workshops for about four months. Then he joined OCISO’s mentorship program. “My mentor was the perfect match,” remarks Adam. “We got along quickly, speak the same language and have worked in the same sector.” “Prior to the [...]

2506, 2020

Mentee Profile: Daniel Azike

June 25th, 2020|

When Daniel Azike arrived in Ottawa in March 2019 from Nigeria, someone gave him a great bit of advice – to take advantage of settlement services. He browsed the OCISO website and soon found himself participating in employment and mentoring workshops. He was paired with a mentor who was working in a related field of IT and project management. “I had a very good experience with OCISO. It was really helpful to get insight from my mentor into how to prepare for a job interview.” His mentor also taught him how to pay attention to the small details of [...]

1906, 2020

OCISO Receives $265,700 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant

June 19th, 2020|

MEDIA RELEASE  OCISO Receives $265,700 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant June 19, 2020, Ottawa, ON – We are pleased to announce that OCISO has received $265,700 in funding over three years from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for our Wrestling with Champions program. This program, currently scheduled to begin in January 2021, will be in line with public health directives related to COVID-19. It will offer recreational wrestling classes to immigrant and refugee children and youth in the Ottawa region. Wrestling with Champions is part of our youth program for newcomers, YOCISO. Mohammed Alkarad Mohammed, a 12-time Syrian wrestling champion, will [...]

1606, 2020

The New Reality, the Same Caring

June 16th, 2020|

For the first time in her career, Maryana St. Hilaire is working from home. She is one of eight OCISO clinical counsellors who because of the COVID-19 pandemic began working remotely on March 16. Transitioning the counseling services for newcomers to remote delivery involved a series of steps and modifications. It had layers of change and has been an adjustment, both at the professional and personal level. “We also have our own fears and difficulties, because COVID-19 is affecting everyone in our community,” says Maryana. “It can be challenging for my own self-care, but I still connect with team [...]

406, 2020

YOCISO Delivers Food to Client Families through Operation Ramzieh

June 4th, 2020|

When Schnael François started as a Youth Facilitator at YOCISO in March 2020, he quickly realized that some clients’ families were at great risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these families already had struggles as newcomers to Canada and were further isolated because of the pandemic. Schnael soon found out about an opportunity to provide free food and other necessities to them through Operation Ramzieh, a project started by local restauranteur, Abbis Mahmoud. “By delivering the food and other items to their homes, they also don’t have to rely on their younger family members to do the [...]

406, 2020

Mentee Profile: Mojtaba Omran

June 4th, 2020|

In March 2019, Mojtaba Omran and his wife immigrated to Canada from Iran through the Express Entry program for skilled workers. With a Master of Arts in English Literature, he has taught English as a Second/Foreign Language (EFL) in Tehran, Iran for a decade. OCISO, which he found online, was one of the first places he visited when he arrived in Ottawa. “My mentor has been very helpful and kind,” says Mojtaba. “He generously shared his knowledge, experience and network with me. He opened my eyes to what I needed to consider while looking for a job.” “Having a [...]

705, 2020

YOCISO Program Stays Connected to Newcomer Youth

May 7th, 2020|

When schools and OCISO’s offices closed more than a month ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YOCISO quickly jumped into action – finding ways to continue to engage with the newcomer youth through several online platforms. YOCISO is currently using Instagram, Facebook, Zoom and Google Hangouts for these types of activities: Daily engagement through activities, questionnaires and challenges. E –learning initiative launched March 30 for online homework and academic support facilitated through Zoom and Google Hangouts via live video chats. Volunteers currently linked to the tutoring and after school program are leading these study sessions. Mental Health supports available [...]

705, 2020

Finding a Rhythm – Helping Future Canadians Learn English in the time of COVID-19

May 7th, 2020|

By Suzanne Charest Lisa Olsen teaches newcomers English, helping them to reach one of the most pivotal language levels, Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4. What makes CLB 4 so important is that it is the level required in listening and speaking for an immigrant or refugee aged 18 to 54 to be able to apply for Canadian citizenship. Lisa has been a Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)  instructor at OCISO for three years. She first became interested in teaching English as a second language when she studied linguistics at Carleton University. “While doing a minor in Japanese [...]

105, 2020

Vietnamese Community Honours Marion Dewar’s Legacy

May 1st, 2020|

On April 29, 2020, a special Zoom call took place to recognize a generous donation of $6,000 from the Vietnamese Canadian Centre to the Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund (MDSF). In normal times, this type of presentation would be done in person, but to adhere to the physical distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic, OCISO “virtually” accepted this donation. Participants in the cheque presentation were Can Le, President, Board of Directors, Vietnamese Canadian Centre (VCC), Dr. Vinh Nguyen, member or VCC, Barbara Gamble, member of the MDSF Leadership Circle and Donna Holtom, Chair of the MDSF Committee, along with Karyn [...]

2404, 2020

Message from Karyn Steer, Interim Executive Director

April 24th, 2020|

Dear friends, This last month has been unprecedented for all of us at OCISO, along with our clients, community, country and the world. COVID 19 has transformed the way we live and work. Although on March 16th we made the difficult decision to close the doors to our physical offices to ensure everyone's safety, our team moved rapidly to make sure that we remain fully operational. Even though many were experiencing difficult situations at home, our staff reached out to our clients to update them on the status of our programs and services and to maintain that personal connection. [...]

2204, 2020

Multicultural Liaison Officers Shift to the Future

April 22nd, 2020|

By Suzanne Charest When Susan Ragheb participated in the OCISO all staff meeting on March 5th of this year and her team enacted a short play about the Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO) program of the future, little did she know that within less than two weeks in many ways the future would arrive. The MLO team enacted a future where technology would be the key to everything. For Susan, who narrated the play, her work as a MLO in the new reality of COVID 19 wouldn’t be possible without technology. Susan studied architecture are Carleton University, taught language, art [...]

2204, 2020

YOCISO Program Stays Connected to Newcomer Youth

April 22nd, 2020|

By Suzanne Charest When schools and OCISO’s offices closed more than a month ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YOCISO quickly jumped into action – finding ways to continue to engage with the newcomer youth through several online platforms. YOCISO is currently using Instagram, Facebook, Zoom and Google Hangouts for these types of activities: Daily engagement through activities, questionnaires and challenges. E –learning initiative launched March 30 for online homework and academic support facilitated through Zoom and Google Hangouts via live video chats. Volunteers currently linked to the tutoring and after school program are leading these study sessions. Mental [...]

304, 2020

YOCISO at Home

April 3rd, 2020|

YOCISO at Home Let’s be responsible and stay at home! But don’t worry you don’t have to be bored! Stay tuned because this month is going to be filled with fun activities, challenges and a whole lot of learning for newcomer youth aged 13 to 24 brought to you by YOCISO! Do you like art? Join us Do you like dancing? Join us Do you want to get fit and healthy? Join us Do you like learning? Join us Do you need homework help? Let us know!

1202, 2020

Newcomers Enjoy a Day of Cross-Country Skiing

February 12th, 2020|

For many newcomers, Canada’s cold weather can be a big adjustment -- but what better way to embrace the winter season than by giving cross-country skiing a try! Some 100 people from OCISO’s Friends of the Family project recently spent a sunny winter morning at the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club’s venue in Gatineau, learning to cross-country ski. Thomas Boyce, a member of the ski club, was one of 25 volunteers who did everything from giving ski lessons, providing interpretation, to serving hot chocolate at the event. “If you come to Canada you need to get out and have fun [...]

3110, 2017

Happy Halloween! Friends of the Family

October 31st, 2017|

By: Becky Zentner-Barrett My placement for the 2nd rotation of the Career Launch Program is with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. OCISO is an amazing organization that offers a number of different programs to immigrants and refugees to support them in their journey to make Canada their home. The organization is driven by dedicated and passionate employees, generous and energetic volunteers and committed community partners and donors. I feel very lucky to have been placed with OCISO. OCISO offers settlement and integration supports, employment and mentorship programs, multi-linguistic and culturally relevant clinical counselling, off site programming in partnership [...]

103, 2017

Ice fishing in support of Syrian Refugees was a huge succes

March 1st, 2017|

We organized an ice fishing fundraiser in support of our Friends of the Family Project in collaboration with Drop in Sports. We had an amazing turnout (more than 450 people!), with at least 150 ice fishing holes drilled. Adults and children had lots of fun, laughter and it was a new experience for many newcomers and Canadians. Unfortunately, not even one fish was caught! We are thrilled to announce that we have raised over $4,000. Thank you very much Dan Dubeau and Drop In Sports for organizing the event. We would also like to thank Councillor Matthew Fleury who [...]

1102, 2017

YOCISO’s newcomer Youth Centre to be launched soon

February 11th, 2017|

YOCISO is busy preparing to launch the Newcomer Youth Centre at 1800 Bank Street on the 3rd Floor alongside LINC.  We are very excited to create our youth-centric space, but we need some help from our community! To make our new home comfortable and appealing for our youth, we are in need of some lightly used items that maybe you were looking to part with. Here’s a list of what we could currently use: Board games, puzzles and group games Musical instruments (guitar, hand drums, and shakers, but others are welcome) Craft materials (glue, paint, painting canvases, construction and [...]

502, 2017

YOCISO client is awarded a grant from the City of Ottawa

February 5th, 2017|

YOCISO would like to congratulate Mitra Salamzada, a recent graduate of Rideau High School who was awarded a grant from the City of Ottawa’s Youth in Culture Pilot Program http://ottawa.ca/en/liveculture/youth-in-culture. This is the first time this grant is available and Mitra was chosen from a large pool of youth under 29 years of age. With the support of YOCISO staff, Mitra successfully submitted her application to create a series of paintings that explore her Afghani roots and how it influences her contemporary Canadian life. The grant included mentorship with internationally acclaimed Nigerian artist Komi Olaf http://komiolaf.com, who will offer technical [...]

3108, 2016

Newcomer youth active participants and volunteers at House of PainT’s festival

August 31st, 2016|

Congratulations to House of PainT – UrbanArtFest for another successful festival, thank you for allowing space for newcomer youth to receive mentorship! A VERY special thank you to all of the newcomer youth from our programs who were a mainstay at the festival, actively participating in mural painting, lighting and sound, and volunteering with set-up and takedown of the multi-day festival! http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/hip-hop-anti-gang-ottawa-1.3739150 http://ici.radio-canada.ca/audio-video/media-7585777/house-of-paint-a-Ottawa

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Our Mission!

OCISO supports immigrants through the journey of making Canada their home by providing creative and responsive programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, by building community through mutual respect and partnerships, and by fostering healthy and inclusive spaces for open dialogue and healing.

What we do 🙂

We are community based non-profit organization that has been providing services in Ottawa since 1978. We are motivated by the stories of new immigrants, and we are there every stage of the journey. OCISO directly serves over 10,000 immigrants and refugees every year. Our work is augmented by the generous efforts of our enthusiastic, caring and talented staff, volunteers, both established and new Canadians.