Resettling to Canada: Welcoming Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees settle in Canada with the help of organizations like COSTI Immigrant Services, funded by the Government of Canada. At the reception centre, refugees have access to health and counselling services, and orientation sessions that prepare them for finding new jobs. Children attend the art therapy sessions that help them cope with post-traumatic stress.

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Transcript: Resettling to Canada: Welcoming Syrian Refugees

Video length: 3:47 minutes

A child’s painting of a ship on stormy water is shown. The sound of heavy rain is heard. A group of children creates art in a classroom setting.

A woman, an art therapy teacher, speaks while standing against a backdrop of children’s artwork mounted on a wall. She is intermittently shown instructing a group of children as they create their artwork.

Speaker: Refugee children who come and attend the art therapy sessions―they have lost their country; they have lost family members; they have lost―anything―that was familiar to them.

A blue background with a globe featuring Canada emerges from a bright light. The background fades to white.

Gold text with a red maple leaf to its right appears: “Resettling to Canada – Welcoming Syrian Refugees.”

A three-storey brick building is shown with the signage “The Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre” on one of its walls.

Two children near a window point toward the street and wave. A family of five walks along the urban sidewalk and enters the brick building.

Julie Ruffolo, an officer with the Refugee Assistance Program Unit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, welcomes each family member by shaking their hand. They follow her into an office. She speaks with them.

Narrator: For more than 100 years, many neighbourhoods in Toronto―like this one in Little Italy―have welcomed immigrants, who have helped build this city.

For this family of Syrian refugees, forced to flee civil war, this building is their first home in Canada.

Julie Ruffolo: “How are you?”

Zohair (father): “How are you?”

Julie Ruffolo: “Hello, how are you? Have a seat, please. Hi, buddy…”

Narrator: Zohair, Satanai and their three boys are just the latest refugees to find a safe haven here. Their youngest son, Majd, is fascinated by dinosaurs―like any kid. He is looking forward to going to school―something he couldn’t do amid all the bombing and terrorist attacks in Syria.

Text: “Julie Ruffolo – Refugee Assistance Program Unit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada”

Narrator: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada helped welcome the family.

A man speaks to a group of people seated at long tables.

A woman is shown working at a reception desk.

Mario Calla, Executive Director of COSTI Immigrant Services, enters the refugee reception centre.

Narrator: This refugee reception centre is operated by COSTI Immigrant Services, with funding from the Government of Canada, the province of Ontario and private donors. This reception centre is open 24 hours a day, year-round. This is one of many such refugee reception centres funded by the Government of Canada across the country.

A woman instructs a group of children as they create artwork in a classroom setting.

Narrator: Staff at the reception centre help refugees get ready to start their new lives in Canada.

A man speaks from an office inside the building.

Text: “Mario Calla, Executive Director, COSTI Immigrant Services”

A man is intermittently shown working with a group of people seated at long tables in a classroom-type setting.

Mario Calla: We help them get some of their entitlements, such as their social insurance number, their health card, those kinds of things―we help do that. I can’t believe how quickly people responded—both generously in financial terms and in terms of time. And, it’s really gratifying. It’s so Canadian—in the sense that what I see are people of all faiths coming together around this.

Various people are shown receiving instructions and completing paperwork in classroom settings.

Narrator: Government-assisted refugees stay here until they can move into their own apartment. While they are living at the reception centre, refugees have access to health and counselling services. Orientation sessions prepare them for their new lives, and they get help finding jobs. The reception centre has a kitchen and dining hall to feed the families.

People are shown working in a commercial cafeteria kitchen.

Narrator: One of the unique programs offered here is art therapy.

Children create artwork at long tables in a classroom setting.

Narrator: These refugee children from Syria and Iraq have only been in Canada a few days. Art therapy is an effective way of helping traumatized children. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the program helps children cope with post-traumatic stress in a non-threatening way.

A woman is shown instructing the children. She speaks while standing against a wall adorned with the children’s artwork. She is intermittently shown working with the children as she speaks.

Text: “Afsaneh Shafai, Certified Art Therapy Teacher, COSTI Immigrant Services”

Afsaneh Shafai: Once they come to art therapy sessions, they are able to express what is inexpressible - the pain that they have suffered. Through art therapy, they can externalize instead of holding in.

A family is shown standing outside the brick building, holding small Canadian flags.

Narrator: This is, above all, a safe place for refugees who have fled bloodshed and persecution―arriving here with only a suitcase to start a new life in Canada.

The screen fades to black.

Text: “Copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2016.”

The Canada wordmark is shown.

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